Rethinking your belly

First of all, wow.

I wrote that last post during a particularly challenging week when several students had come to me relating their experiences with traditional medical advice. Please remember that movement is not lurking and dangerous. It is joyful and the means for participating in all the things you love. Please always reconsider opinions that limit you. I cannot say it enough, you can do much more than you think you can.

Now onto the real reason I am writing this post . .

Our abdominal musculature is exquisite. The muscles run diagonally, horizontally and vertically. They allow us to twist, spiral, fold. It is this coordination of our trunk musculature that supports movement in our limbs. The strongest abs are actually the ones that are best coordinated, not necessarily the ones that are the rock-hardest. It has become popular in our fitness culture to equate the act of simply tightening the abdominals to creating a supportive core. Do an experiment where you allow your abdominals to be soft and begin walking, then tighten them while you continue to walk. Does it make walking easier? What happens to your breathing?

Tightening your abs may be a temporary solution to “splint” yourself during an acute phase of discomfort, but it is not a prescription for healthy movement on many levels. Participation in the Feldenkrais Method will clear the way for your brain to coordinate your abdominals as they need to best serve you. Sure, you can still do all of those things that sculpt your abs, but you can also let go of the belief that you need to hold on to them for dear life in order to feel better. You will be amazed what can happen when you expand this traditional thinking.