INNER AND OUTER CORE STRENGTH
We oftentimes hear from teachers and books about "strengthening our core" and "engaging our core." But what is our "core" and what does that mean? Our "core" is our center, and it truly is so much more than physical engagement or strengthening of a group of muscles. And having a strong core doesn't always mean an 8pack of abs. I look at strengthening the core from many different angles. There are many sub-levels involved in "core strength," two of which are strengthening the inner and outer core. Im using the term "inner" in relation to our inner landscape, our will, our root chakra, sacral chakra and solar plexus chakra and I am using "outer" to relate to the physical components and expression of our core muscle group. Both "outer" and "inner" core strengthening is desired in overall vibrancy and unification. Try blending both outer and inner exercises together using affirmations while you workout.
Outer Core Strength
The muscles that make up our core muscles are the pelvic floor muscles, transversus abdominis, multifidus, internal and external obliques, rectus abdominis, erector spinae and the diaphragm. This muscle group makes up the front and back side of the trunk of the body below the breastbone and includes any muscle that attaches to the spine or the pelvis. In strengthening the core muscles, you train the muscles to work in harmony with one another which creates stabilization and better balance. It creates a strong central core and foundation for everything else to build upon. You witness and feel strong and stable. Without a solid foundation, the rest of the castle easily topples down. Bringing your awareness to your engagement of these muscles assists with both the strengthening of the outer and inner core. Here are a few exercises for core muscle strength:
Exercises to Strengthen Outer Core Muscles:
- Forearm Balance
- Plank and Side Plank
- Standing Leg Lifts
- Mountain Climber
- Sliding Pike (with towel)
Inner Core Strength
The chakras governing our core muscle group and what I am terming "inner core" are the Root Chakra, Sacral Sexual Chakra and the Solar Plexus. As we continue to ascend and evolve, we are opening up more chakra centers, however, today we are discussing these lower chakras specifically.
Our Root Chakra is our base chakra and is associated with the color red. The Root Chakra begins at our pubis bone. It is comprised of our sense of security, place in the world, feelings of home, safety and survival. Our feelings of "being grounded" and "rooted" (or the absence of these feelings) are experienced in the Root Chakra.
Strengthening and Connecting to Root Chakra
- Visualize bright, vibrant red. Imagine a swirling ball of bright red light in your pubis and pelvic area.
- Drum. Just get on a drum (or a table, can etc) and go for it. Feel it ground in and root in between your legs. Feel yourself connected to the drum, the beat and the ground beneath you.
- Affirmation: I AM Safe, Secure and Always Provided For.
- Crystal Associated: Ruby, Garnet, Hematite, Black Tourmaline
Sacral (Sexual) Chakra:
Our Sacral Chakra is our second chakra and is located in our lower abdomen about 2-3 inches below our navel. It is associated and vibrates with the color orange. This energy center governs creativity, creation, connection, intimacy, emotions and pleasure. Reproductive organs are governed by this chakra.
Strengthening and Connecting to Sacral Chakra
- Visualize a bright orange ball of light at your lower abdomen. If the color is not vibrant or there are dark spots, ask yourself what is blocking it or preventing the color from vibrating higher.
- Pleasurable activity. Practice mindfulness while engaging in something your find pleasurable and delicious. Could be enjoying raw chocolate, taking a bath, self-love, physical intimacy with a partner, dancing or whatever feels good to you. Take in the actual pleasure and moment.
- Affirmation: I AM Full of Creation and take Pleasure in my Passions.
- Crystals Associated: Carnelian, Peach Moonstone, Orange Calcite
Our Solar Plexus is our third energy center and it in between our navel and diaphragm. The color yellow vibrates and attunes with our Solar Plexus. This chakra tunes in with our will, sense of self, self-worth, personal power and outward of expression of self. Digestion and metabolism is governed by this chakra.
Strengthening and Connecting to Solar Plexus:
- Visualize and imagine a bright yellow ball of light at the base of your ribcage, above your belly button. Envision it glowing and expanding out brilliant yellow light about a 1 1/2 ft from your body.
- Breath of Fire. Do Breath of Fire Exercise, inhaling and exhaling forcefully from your nostril for about 1-2 mins.
- Affirmation: I AM Powerful, Strong, Confident and Successful in Attaining My Desires. \
- Crystals Associated: Citrine, Yellow Topaz, Pyrite
Our body is beyond magical and holds so much information and wisdom. When we tune in and work both internally and externally we experience a sensation of fullness and total wellbeing. Try some of these today and know you are strong and supported.