It is the Holy Grail for many seekers of healthier, stronger, pain-free body. It is the advice we hear from our doctor - you need to strengthen your core. It is why we join gyms and attend Yoga classes. It allows us to move with freedom and grace, every step light and steady, every task effortless. We are blessed with impeccable sense of balance that can rescue us from falls and injuries.

But do you really know what it is? If you think that a flat stomach is a sign of strong core, you couldn't be more wrong. If you think that ripped abs is it, again, not true. If you think that strengthening your abdominals is going to relieve your back pain, think again - you might get the exact opposite effect.

In my Core Integration workshop I talk in great detail about what it is and how to get it, but there are also plenty of myths to dispel. Let's begin from the beginning, with definition.

I believe that the so-called Core is the center without which things fall apart, and it literally is the center of our body, namely - the pelvis and anything that has to do with the way we carry our pelvis. If a muscle attaches to the pelvis - it is part of the Core. Meaning: transeverse abdominis, internal and external obliques, rectus abdominis, but also quadratus lomborum, PSOAS, and latissimus dorsi, illiacus, piriformis, gluteals, hamstrings, abductors and adductors, and even pelvic floor with its sixteen muscles that can pull the pelvis out of alignment and cause low back pain, sciatica, digestive disorders, fatigue (it is very tiring to be our of alignment all the time!), headaches, hormonal and metabolic imbalances. It is also anything that can exert a force on the pelvis, and diaphragm is not last on this list - every breath affects the PSOAS and the pelvic floor.

There are things you can do to strengthen your core, and we will go into detail into it, but let me tell you what will not happen: it will not miraculously cure you of all ills, because for that to happen changing one thing is usually not enough. By the time you are talking to your doctor about any of the above issues related to pelvic misalignment, what needs to happen is a complete overhaul of the way you live, and rarely will you hear that brutal truth. Instead, we are much more likely to seek easy fixes, one size fits all solutions, medication to manage symptoms, latest fads.

The truth is, however, that without changing the way you walk, stand, sit, bend over, and the amount of time you spend sitting every day - not much will change. If everyone spent most of their day in neutral pelvis then everyone would have abs of steel. By incorporating core work into your routine you will certainly feel better simply because you have gotten out of your chair, couch, car, and got down on the floor to move. That alone is such a major change that you will instantly feel the benefits of it. But as soon as you get up from the floor and go back to your habitual ways of life, your problems will haunt you relentlessly. At some point you will be hit with frustration - like the Sisyphus pushing his rock up the hill - it just keeps sliding back.

So, as you contemplate whether to join me for the workshop or not (it comes with a DVD for home practice so you can retain your newfound knowledge and actually use it on a daily basis), contemplate what is your current lifestyle costing you? Are you willing to care for yourself with dedication, to make certain things non-negotiable?


Anna M.