When it comes to terms with the body, what’s the first thing you think of when you hear the word “core?” A six pack, ripped abs, a flat stomach? Those are usually the terms our brains automatically think of. Now, what’s the first thing you think of when you think about YOUR core?
A lot of us are unhappy with the mid-section of our bodies. When our ideas or expectations of what a healthy core is or “should be” is not met by the reality of what our core space is truly comprised of – we can experience emotions of shame, guilt, and insecurity. But it’s hardly our fault. We live in an aesthetic age that is obsessed with the external images of things, easily leaving us to judge our own external appearance and creating even more self-doubt and feelings of inadequacy. However, have you ever actually stopped to think about how truly FUNCTIONAL having a six pack or a perfectly flat tummy for our day-to-day lives is? Do we know if & how these fitness “influencers” on TV or social media got to where they are in an authentically healthy way? Some people have worked very hard and dedicated years to get to that point, some take unhealthy measures to achieve a certain look, others have what some would call lucky genes – while most of us just have an unhealthy idea of what a healthy core actually is.
For years, I had a very unhealthy relationship with my core. Through dance, sports, and the media I was exposed to I developed very unhealthy exercising & eating habits to try and achieve what I thought at the time was an “optimal” core. Reflecting back on that time however, although I may have appeared happy & healthy on the surface, I was at an all-time low mentally. My negative habits stemmed from my negative mindset about my own body – and the more I tried to change my body to make myself happier, the less happy I became. I found more & more things to judge myself for, and eventually was this downward spiral of self-loathing.
That, is not functional. How is it that we can become so negatively obsessed with the way we look that it can change how we actually SEE ourselves? It took me a while, but I eventually started to realize that when I let go of the idea that I needed to look a certain way to be considered healthy, I could begin to learn to love my body in a more empowering way. I started to learn about the functions of the core and what it’s compromised of (I promise you, it’s so, SO much more than just those six-pack muscles we automatically think of). I started to develop a deeper appreciation of my core space and everything that it does for me. Our core protects our most vital organs. It helps us to remain strong, mobile, and breathing in our own bodies. Our spine is an area of our core that not many people think of – yet our core helps maintain our posture so when you think about it, our core is literally saying to us, “I got your back.” For some women their core spaces carry a whole new life within. These are the functions of our core that in my opinion are much, much more important than being able to show off some silly little lines on your stomach.
When we begin to shift our mindset away from what we think we need to look like – on & off our yoga mats – we begin to let go of the false ideologies that have been built up by our external world, other people’s opinions, the media, and from there can begin to start to love and appreciate ourselves for everything that we are. A strong, functional, mobile human being. But this process of unraveling takes time, so try not to be too hard on yourself when you find yourself in a moment of self-doubt. Stop, take a breath, and remind yourself of how capable your body is, exactly as it is.
If you are looking to renew your relationship with your own core, then I invite you to join me on Sunday, February 3rd from 11:00 am – 1:00 pm as we discuss how to strengthen the space of our core using movement as well as breath & attention, compensation patterns that can develop, and move through a fun sequence to awaken the core that is sure to leave you feeling strong, capable, and leaving with a better idea of what your core can truly do.