I recently read an interesting article about core strengthening (How Are We Still Getting It Wrong). Having worked as a personal trainer prior to being a yoga teacher I’ve spent a good number of years teaching people how to hollow out the abdominal – bringing the belly button toward the back and tucking the pelvis slightly. Yet, I do suffer from some back pain. I would say my core is pretty strong, my abs are strong, even my back muscles where I get some of the pain. Could it be that I’ve been doing (and teaching) it wrong all these years?
Maybe! For the past several weeks I’ve been focusing on bracing myself rather than hollowing the abs. Bracing is described in this article as preparing to be punched in the gut – I think we all know what that means. Literally tighten all of the muscles in your torso in preparation. It feels more like a shortening of the rib cage toward the pelvis as opposed to a curve in the pelvis. It feels very strong. I have been finding that my back pain is less when I engage this way. Now I still get some back pain (it doesn’t help that I fell up the stairs the other day and have slipped on ice and ‘caught’ myself), but it does seem to have improved. I’m going to keep at it and see how it goes for me.
What are your thoughts on engaging the core? What’s your method? I’d love to hear from you 🙂