When we talk about our core, we so often hear about doing sit-ups and getting a toned stomach. Building physical core strength is important, but while we do this, we should also pay attention to building our inner strength.
Our inner strength and power is where our intuition lives. This is a gift that we were equipped with at birth and it is way too often overlooked.
Intuition is not some airy fairy notion that may be only associated with psychics, healers, shamans or hippies. Each one of us carry inner strength or intuition whether we pay attention to it or not.
Finding Your Inner Wisdom
If we look at our bodies as a centre for communications, the head is where we do all our thinking — perhaps too much — the heart is where we hold our emotions, and the core or gut is where all our personal power and intuition lives.
We sometimes hear of it as gut instinct or a "knowing," that feeling where you know that a certain situation does not sit well with you and makes you feel uncomfortable, your inner wisdom may be screaming at you that the situation is not right for you.
Noticing this feeling, recognising and embracing it is a great start to exercising your power. You can access that guidance when you need a little help making a difficult decision. Like the saying goes “Deep down, you know what is right for you.”
Bringing more attention to your inner wisdom will allow you to strengthen it and it will become stronger, which in turn will make your life easier. You will start to do what you confidently know is right for you and begin to take charge of your life.
It will be easier to turn down invitations to places you know you don’t want to be, you will start to notice the people around you that make you feel good and the ones that might not, decision- making will be all round easier and the quality of your life will enhance.
How to Strengthen Your Physical and Emotional Core
There are two ways we can help strengthen our core, physically and emotionally: through breathing exercises and yoga poses.
1. Practice Kapalabhati
Kapalabhati breath is a powerful energetic breath that literally translates as shining skull. It helps to improve blood circulation and increase our lung capacity. This will improve ore respiratory systems and allow more oxygen into the body.
As more oxygen flows in, we can feel energised with increased mental clarity and concentration. Here's how to do it:
- Sit cross-legged with a straight spine.
- Take a deep inhale through the nose, allow the stomach to rise and exhale forcefully out through the nose and draw the stomach inward.
- Focus on the exhalation, the inhalation is passive.
- Take a big inhale to begin and breathe out through the nose actively and quickly for ten breaths while contracting the stomach muscles.
- Take a breath in between and continue two rounds of ten breaths.
2. Plank Pose or Phalakasana
- Hands are directly under the shoulders and align the wrist creases parallel to the front of the mat. Spread the fingers wide, distribute the weight evenly through the whole surface area of the hand, pressing into the fingertips and the knuckles.
- Activate the muscles in the arms and the lower back to make this pose even more powerful.
- Really engage your pelvic floor, tighten your tummy, lift your belly button up towards your spine.
- Keep the chest open and lift your heart forward.
- Engage your leg muscles, your inner thighs and imagine you are pulling back out through your heels
- Hold for 5 or 10 breaths
3. Half-Boat pose / Ardha Navasana
- Sit straight, bend your legs.
- Press your hands against the floor behind your back and raise your half-bent legs with your shins parallel to the floor.
- Balancing on your pelvic bones, straighten your arms in front of you at your shins' level.
- Keep your back straight, try not to round the spine.
- Take 5 deep breaths, and try not to hold your breath.
Kapalabhati, Plank and Boat pose combined will really activate your core muscles and fire up your digestive system, which in turn can prevent constipation and increase the blood flow in the body.
It will enhance your balance and resilience in every way possible. It will also help you find inner power and fire up your energy centre, where our intuition lives alongside willpower, determination and self- confidence.
Having a strong and stable core will also support your lower back and improve your posture. Try not to think of it as a separate area but as your centre for support and where your superhero powers live.