Shrink and Tone Your Waist While Energizing Yourself and Connecting To The Core Of Who You Are
written by Michelle Alva, Holistic Physical Therapist, Yoga Therapist and Energy Healer.
Do you sit for more than 3-4 hours per day?
Did you know that your abdominal corset and pelvic floor muscles basically fall asleep while we sit? When we sit at a desk for too long, slouch and sink into our couch these muscles fall asleep.
Our abdominal and pelvic floor muscles are two important muscle groups that work together to create a dynamic corset of stability for our low back and our pelvis. These muscles however sometimes become atrophied and weak from poor posture, poor chronic sitting postures and lack of exercise and activity, especially after giving birth.
We can view the waist area of the body as the middle or “center” of our body and when tone and active gives us literally a feeling of connection and upliftment. We give ourselves the feeling of being supported, safe and gathered from contracting our waist muscles. When we improve our posture and activate our tummy muscles, we actually feel more “centered.” CLICK HERE TO LISTEN TO FREE AUDIO TO CONNECT TO YOUR CENTER.
If you are feeling lazy, have low motivation, or low energy, simply connecting to your belly and strengthening your abdominal corset will help you to elevate your mood and motivate you from the inside out! Just as the mind affects the body, the body too affects the mind and emotions.
The abdominal area also represents our power center or an area of concentrated energy, called solar plexus chakra. This area is associated with our ability to manifest in our lives, take action to achieve our goals and has to do with our confidence, self-worth and self-esteem.
Get To Know Your Waist: Abdominal Anatomy 101
We have 4 muscles that make up our waist aka our “abdominal corset”:
1. Rectus Abdominus: This is the 6 pack. It is the most superficial muscle and it doesn’t contribute to stabilizing the low back. This muscle is also known as the “6 pack”.
2. External Abdominal Oblique: These are diagonal fibers that help us to rotate.
3. Internal Abdominal Oblique: These muscles are diagonal and work in opposite direction as the External Obliques.
4. Corset muscle aka Transversus abdominus: This muscle has horizontal fibers and it literally “shrinks” your waist when it contracts. When we say “bring your navel into the spine” this is the muscle we are activating.This is the most internal of the abdominal muscle group.
This muscle stabilizes your diaphragm so you can breathe better and it is important to keep tone and strong for healthy respiration, posturing, talking and for everyday activities like walking, running, and climbing stairs.
3 Key Exercises To Tone and Shrink Your Waist aka Transversus Abdominus Muscle
These exercises will be done rhythmically and repetitively rather than holding the postures. The transversus abdominus muscle is stimulated to work even harder and with the other abdominal muscles along with the pelvic floor when you move into and out of the exercises taught below as opposed to holding the pose or asana. Inhale to move your body, then exhale to move your body so that the respiratory function of the transversus abdominus is also being stimulated. This will help you to integrate and engage all the parts of your being-mind, body, breath and energy body. Then the exercise becomes not only physically beneficially, but also healing-as to heal means to become whole. This is where the exercise becomes a spiritual practice that brings us to a deeper connection to how energy/breath moves through our body and wakes us up to feeling empowered at “our center”.
1. Transversus Awareness and Activation Exercise.
Lay on your back with your outer thighs supported and the soles of your feet together.
Bring awareness to the lower abdominal area, from the navel to the pubic bone area around your waist. Inhale deeply and notice the feeling of expansion and elongation in your abdominal corset.
Exhale, notice how the muscles return to their original position. Inhale and exhale but this time activating your abdominal corset. Contract the muscles around your waist by drawing them inwards towards your center, the navel pulls inwards towards the spine. It’s as though you wanted to zip up a very tight pair of jeans and so you pull in your belly button. Notice how this movement of the abdomen literally shrinks the circumference of your waist!
2. “Breathe To Move” From Modified Dolphin Pose To Forward Glide with this Vinyasa Flow Variation
Start this exercise with your hands clasped together, elbows placed shoulder width apart. Start with your knees hip width apart. Inhale expand your belly. Exhale here with awareness of drawing the navel inwards towards your spine.
Inhale To Raise Your Body Upwards into Dolphin Pose.
Exhale To Glide Your Body Forward from Dolphin Pose. Do this slowly and with control,
keeping your navel inwards towards your spine. Close your eyes to “Feel Your Corset Awake and Centered” during the exercise.
Inhale To Raise Your Body Back Starting Position. Repeat this vinyasa flow of movement at least for 10 cycles of inahlation/exhalation. Notice when your body signals it needs a break. Rest when you feel it’s time to rest. Don’t over do it and make sure to keep your shoulder blades down and backwards to prevent your upper traps from overdoing the work of the corset!
3. “Breathe To Move” From Plank To Side Plank To Plank Rhythmical Flow Variation.
The Transversus Abdominus is more active and interested when you engage it through movement. Instead of remaining static in plank pose, explore moving your body in space with slowly transitioning up to side plank. Inhale to move your body up to make sure you are integrating your whole-being into your yoga practice! With full awareness of your core, inhale to rise up to side plank.
Voila! You elevated yourself. Notice how that accomplishment feels! Thank you powerful center! Thank you Breath, Mind, and Body!
Exhale to return down to Plank Pose. Lower down as slowly as possible to really engage your corset.
Do This Cycle Of Plank To Side Plank and Back To Plank Pose For at least 5- 10 breath cycles.
I hope you enjoy these three powerful exercises. They might be a little advanced but it was designed for people that are already active.
Let me know if there are any other yoga or fitness related questions you might want answered. This approach that I have shared today integrates approaches from physical therapy, yoga therapy and energy healing. Enjoy! Remember that yoga is a WAY OF BEING, so much more than just a movement, it is how we bring ourselves into the moment in our yoga poses and vinyasa flows that makes the experience Yogic.
Share this article and comment down below on how you like to tone and strengthen your core!
Contact Michelle Alva, PT, RYT, EHP at firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule a private one-on-one holistic physical therapy, yoga therapy or integrative healing session with PSYCH-K® and Sound Therapy for your unique needs and goals. Michelle also teaches workshops and retreats.
Try these affirmations while you are moving through your day with your corset awakened!