The most common quote that I hear from clients is: “My physio or surgeon said I need to fire up my core?? So what exactly is the core and does it even exist. Firstly Joseph Pilates referred to the core as powerhouse or centre. In Yoga it is referred to as the bandhas. In cadaver and dissection I have seen the isolated muscles groups integrated with the fasciae across the body so the traditional anatomy books appear outdated.
For me the core is technically everything apart from the appendages, which are the arms and legs. Understanding the science of core conditioning is confusing for people as they do not realise that the organs plus breath are part of the system. If there is inflammation in the digestive system this will effect surrounding tissues and their support to the rest of the body. When an organ becomes inflamed the surrounding muscles and fascia become inflamed allowing more room for the swollen organs to sit. The internal challenges of the body effect core recruitment. When we have optimal function and stability through the centre of the body we will have better functioning of other joints such as the hip, knee and shoulders.
The Bandhas – in Sanskrit literally means ‘Lock’. As there are four types of locks we say in plural’ bandhas’. There are six sphincters in our digestive system. A sphincter is a ring of muscle surrounding and serving to guard or close an opening. The Band-has that I use are:
1.Pada bandha (foot)
2.Mula bandha (Root)
3.Uddiyana Banda( Stomach)
4. Jalandra Bandha(Chin)
5. Hasta Banda (Hand)
The breath – The breath works in a cylindrical pattern using the inner unit which is pelvic floor, transverse abdomens, diaphragm and deep stabilisers of the spine. By using a pursed lip breath will help keep tone. Efficient breathing is important in any peak performance activity and needs to be considered part of any conditioning routine for dance.
The most important muscle for breathing is the diaphragm, which consists of a large muscular dome with a flat central tendon. This is key to posture because it is linked to the emotions of the heart. When we feel trauma, sadness or depression we tend to take a forward folded posture. We can see this clearly below in Vincent van goph portrait; “At eternity gate”.
The powerhouse –According to Joseph Pilates, the powerhouse is the centre of the body and when strengthened it offers a solid foundation for any movement. The powerhouse is the centre of the body and if strengthened, it offers a solid foundation for any movement. … It is the powerhouse that gives us the energy, stability, strength, and control to move into the intermediate and advanced Pilates exercises.