5 Benefits Of Understanding Your Core & Spine

Is it wrong for me to want the summer to be over so that I can get to teach this module on The Spine and The Core?  

This subject is so important to me because, at the start of my career, I was a highly successful yoga teacher, with a nasty little secret, a bulging disc. Many nights I had to sleep on the floor because the hard surface seemed to ease the pain. I had practiced dance from a young age- I was fit, I could drop into the splits, but I could not hold myself up!  Inversions for any length of time were impossible. Then in 2001, I heard about a “new” thing called Pilates and the understanding of this method changed my life, my back, and my yoga forever.



5 Benefits of understanding your Core and Spine

Better Posture

Knowing where the best position for your spine during daily tasks will in itself begin to improve your posture. We need suppleness of course to be able to reach, bend, twist and dance. But, we need an equal understanding of when and how to stabilise our spines.  When lifting something, for example, be it the toddler, the shopping, or your own body weight, all require varying degrees of stiffness to counter the pull of the object being lifted, and protect vulnerable backs.

Knowing the shape of the primary and secondary curves in the spine, along with the degrees to which these shapes can comfortably articulate is essential to all movement practices. But, knowing where these shapes should be and how to maintain them for sitting, either in meditation or in work, is the second part of our core musculature puzzle.

Advanced practices

When we learn how to move and stabilise our spine and core, to the degrees necessary for both our bodies and the task at hand, we can find controlled fluidity in the torso. Glide!. When our movements in this area become more neuromuscular  – or should I say neuro-myofascial (under our conscious command) we can call upon this fluidity at will, and our bodies can begin to let go of the “holding patterns” in the hips and shoulders- freeing up the areas for the more advanced poses

Efficiency of breathing

The diaphragm is a muscle of breathing,  it is also a core muscle- (Lee 2011) and its crura runs from the sacrum to the occiput, therefore the spine and the breath are indivisible.Other muscles of breathing circle the entire torso, so multi-directional movement of the spine and the torso cannot but affect the diaphragm. Better function means efficiency, and an efficient breath cycle leads not only to better overall physical efficiency, it also leads to a stimulation of Vagus nerve and parasympathetic nervous system. Allowing us to bathe in the rest and digest areas of our nervous system promotes calmness.

Psychological and Physiological strength

Standing upright makes us feel stronger.  We used to think this was simply a trick of the mind, that our stance caused us, and others, to view us differently. We now know that standing upright actually causes a PHYSIOLOGICAL response. That cortisol decreases and testosterone increases when we stand up straight. This video from Amy Cuddy Psychologist is a great example of body language in action. 


Grace. poise, better digestion, and a flat tummy!

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