The Hard Core Truth about your Abs #movementmonday
A flat tummy is arguably one of the most desired and sensual attributes of a woman’s body. It is an area of focus for many of us from functionality to awareness and desire. One might say our pop-culture has become obsessed with our “abs”. When we experience this kind of strong attachment to something, it can manifest itself into a hang-up or even obsessive behavior. In yoga, our abdominal region is often referred to as the “resplendent gem“, the fiery third chakra known as Manipura. Think of it as a golden egg that cradles our navel, a source for where our sensuality begins. It is also the hub of our digestive system where nutrients are distributed and our toxins are broken down. The tummy might even be described as the nucleus where deep belly laughter erupts, and a place where we gain self-worth, self-confidence, and self-esteem. So, attachment and obsession with our midriffs, you might say, is human nature.
Fast-forward to motherhood, multiple pregnancies, a caesarian section or two, and the fascination to your old tummy may now manifest itself into fantasy. I am one of those mothers who after my second c-section, I could basically tuck my entire midriff into myself! At first I thought, “had I always had this and just forgotten?” But soon after medical discovery I was reassured, it was nothing serious, just a disrupted and torn transverse abdominal split. I experienced no physical pain and was told there was no way to correct it unless I went for reconstructive surgery. I was beside myself and felt the physical split affect my self-confidence. Was my old body just a thing of the past and now becoming that fantasy?
Perhaps you have experienced that fantasies are often better experienced in our imaginations than played out in reality. Well then, with that premise, let’s apply that same philosophy to that desired “intact” belly. It is inspiring to know there is something far more desirable and obtainable with a complete core yoga practice.
Of course, in my belly despair, I turned to my yoga and began to study the anatomy of the abdomen. The complexity of the core struck me…we underestimate how multifaceted it is and take for granted how our abdomen has to perform. We use it to simply stand as upright beings, we depend on it to house our digestive functionality, we employ it as a den for our offspring, and it is often responsible for igniting our early sensations for eroticism. If there was ever a cure for a split abdomen, I was determined to find it here within my own yoga practice.
In order to fully combat the belly fat, we need to develop more than a 6-pack of abdominals. We need full optimum core strength. The Core actually includes 29 muscles. Typically, the core is associated with just the abdominal muscle groups. However in actuality, the core consists of the transverse abdominal muscles, internal and external obliques, inner and outer hips, hip flexors, psoas, and the lumbar spine. And of course, we cannot ignore the diaphragm. The diaphragm is the main muscle of breathing providing the necessary core stability. In yoga, our physical practice is useless without the aid and guidance of breath control.
As most of us know, combating that mid-section “gain” is not easy. Part of the effort here is letting go of the attachment we have with that image of the 6-pack. Non-attachment or Vairagya is the yoga practice of letting go emotionally first, so the aversions, fears, and false identities do not overshadow finding true self-confidence. And with that in mind, I then took my yoga practice another step deeper and went
This doesn’t mean dedicating your life to yoga or any other extreme means. But for me, it meant learning that there are at least 29 different poses and variations that I could practice to tackle the 29 plus different muscles that were necessary for a new and improved flat yoga belly. Using the yoga poses that integrate core strengtheners will allow you to tighten, reinforce tissue, and teach you to lift your abdominal wall off your pelvic floor. In doing so, you can walk tall with confidence knowing intimately what you can access at your core.
Sam Merkur: Certified Yoga Instructor, (CYA-RYT) and Iyengar trained, uses Yoga to assist with healing injuries, aiding in recovery from surgeries, managing chronic and degenerative issues, and as a preventative measure to increase stability and mobility for overall well-being. Sam is a mother of 2 kids, two dogs and the founder of Yogabodii. Visit: yogabodii.com