When you dig deep into the wonders of realigning your body one of the most startling light bulb moments is the connection between the abdominal muscles and alignment. Core integrity will not generally come from lots of sit ups and, in fact, lots of sit ups could contribute to many issues.
The tight muscles that pull on the hips and the shoulders also effect your ability to access your true, reflexive core strength. It is possible to feel a reflexive engagement of your deep abdominal muscles just standing well.
I really enjoyed teaching the workshop on the core relationship to the shoulder girdle and thought some of the posters from that one might translate into a 1/2 decent blog. They could also translate into an excessive load of BlahBlah, so I'll give you the nuts and bolts, and then I'll suggest an exercise you can do right now to feel what I'm talking about:
Tight shoulders and hips mean that everyday movements can overload the Linea Alba - impacting core function. So we could look to:
- create good habits that reduce tension
- unwind the tension that exists (create space and maintain it)
- consider alignment before adding load
I think the last one is key. It's so much ingrained in our culture that to fix something you need to pummel it into submission. Trust me, I've tried it, I know many many people who've tried it. I'm yet to find a case where that has worked without a huge tax on the body in some way.
as Katy Bowman says in Diastasis Recti:
The best amount of force is not AS MUCH AS YOU CAN GENERATE, but the amount that allows your body to function optimally.
An Exercise (also one we'll do in class this week):
Let's feel how the shoulders and the abdominal muscles work in tandem (and how tight muscles cause us to compensate in the first place).
Here I am at a bluegrass music festival, so no shoes (the best value minimal footwear!) and it was really hot - so forgive the drapey top - but see if you can back your ribs up against a wall like I have in Photo 1. Go on, really do it, can I slide my hand behind there (or park a small vehicle in that space)? You'll need to let your head come away and bring your feet about a foot away from the wall. Your belly and lower back should be relaxed (so your natural lower back arch should be in place).
In Photo 2, I've raised my arms without lifting my ribs away from the wall. They didn't go beyond the shoulders and when I got to that height I knew I would have to lift my ribs to go any higher. So I didn't, and I could feel something stirring in the centre of my body (mmmm reflexive core anyone?).
In Photo 3 I let my chest and ribs lift and my arms come up much higher, but you can also see the tension in my neck and shoulders if you look closely. Also, I felt whatever was going on in my abdominals switch off. Go back and have a look at that picture of the Linea Alba again and try the whole exercise one more time. What did you sense in the centre of your body? Go on Luke.....Use the Core!
THIS WEEK'S ENTRIES IN OUR COMPETITION (we are drawing the prize in the Tuesday Focus class next week - so get a wriggle on):
1st photo: from Bettina. What a lovely place to release your Psoas!
2nd photo: Robyn and Jeanette, our early morning monster walking on a massage mat warrior women!
Written Entry from Paula:
At the end of all my ocean swims lately I have been inspired by Mel (as always) to practice angel arms while floating. They are much easier to do in the water without the restriction of the floor. All the principles are the same, I need to ensure I remember Mel's blah blah of only sweeping my arms up to the point where I'm not flinging my ribs and I can feel my core kick in. This brings a conscious awareness of how your body feels in space which is lovely in water. I also recommend focusing on keeping my thumbs rotating down. Angel arms feel so easy to do in the water and my shoulders feel like they have extra space without the floor. However I haven’t figured out how to get a photo as I’m too busy enjoying the moment. I suggest giving it a go now that the weather is finally warming up.
and another from Glen with some more great bath stretches (we have a water theme this week, which makes sense given where we live!):
...Glen finds that her bath is just the right length to prop legs on end with heels pushed away....awesome hammy stretch!! She can hand stretch at the same time...and also passive post tilt roll backs work pretty well with the water support too........(if you don't know what they are, we'll be doing them this week in class)