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Season 2 - Episode 3

Core Integration

20 min - Practice


Lydia shares a floor practice to elongate the spine and strengthen and integrate the core. You will become more aware of your core muscles and center. Note: this is not recommended during pregnancy.
What You'll Need: Mat, Blanket

About This Video

Oct 20, 2016
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(waves crashing) Welcome back. So nice to see you. I'm so glad that you're here with me to work on strengthening your center and finding your center. I just wanted to mention that when I'm doing floor core work, I like having a blanket down and I've just folded this over in quarters just so that there's a little bit of support for the spine when you're doing some of the rolling exercises and a block may be useful. One of the foam ones probably best for softness at the back of your skull.

So let's come on down onto our backs. And you can roll right down. Draw your knees into your chest and just take a few breaths where as you inhale you're thinking about almost like ice cream scooping, huge ice cream scoop the belly back and up and as you exhale, kind of maintain that length through your spine. Wake up your toes and draw your right knee in towards your chest. You can hold on on top or underneath and hover your left leg.

Use a little momentum and roll up to seated like this. So you can hold on under the hamstring or on top, draw the leg in, create a little curl that's supported by the belly, hover your left leg, activate your feet because if your feet aren't active and your legs aren't integrated into your core, your core's not really gonna do you that much. It's not gonna support you that much. So with nice active legs, deep inhale and then exhale and roll down and try to keep the thigh and the chest as close together as possible and inhale and roll up and then we'll try it again without the use of the hands. So you're kind of making this tight package with active legs, roll down, exhale and keep it together as you roll up.

Let's try it one more time. Exhale, roll down. Inhale, roll up. Exhale, roll down and then hover your left leg, let your right come up, hold on somewhere along the leg, hamstring, back of the calf and you might bend the leg a little bit if you're feeling sticky in there and as you exhale, get nice and long through your belly and come close to your leg, your knee or your shin. The chin is a little bit lifted.

And then let yourself lower a little bit. Take your hands behind the back of your head and just release the back of the neck muscles. Inhale lengthen and as you exhale, see if you can keep your lower spine close to the floor. You don't have to disappear the lower spine curve, but lower it and then we'll exhale. Next exhale, come up in a cross and try not to turn so much from your head.

Keep your chin more in line with your sternum and then inhale come back without changing too much the shape of the lower spine. Reach out through your legs, connect your legs into your belly, exhale come up and over, and inhale back. One more like that. Spread your back ribs into the floor. Exhale come up a little bit over without over rotating the neck and then come on back and then this play here is to keep that lowering down of the lower spine, the lowering down of the abdomen widening through the abdomen and then exhale and lower your right leg to tap your left and inhale and come back up and if it's too challenging, just lift this leg a little bit more.

Exhale lower down and inhale back up. One more time like that. Exhale lower down and inhale and back up. Beautiful. Bend your knees, take your hands on the insides of your legs and as you inhale, arch your spine a little bit.

So tailbone drops, heart lifts, throat opens and then as you exhale, take the outsides of your knees and curl a little bit. Again, insides of the shins open inhale and then let the belly relax and lengthen. Exhale, come on back. Left leg comes into the chest, right leg hovers. Keeping this tight, hip flexor engagement.

Inhale come up and exhale roll down and use a little bit of momentum. At first it might feel a little bit jagged. But see if you can make it smooth especially from the lower ribs all the way to the pelvis and to do that when you breathe scoop out the belly into the back to create length without the use of the hands. Exhale. Hover.

Reach your legs out as if your legs are buttressing the two sides of your spine and drawing down. Reach out through your toes, hands behind the back of the neck. Inhale spread and lengthen. Just like coconut oil dropping in a pan, your back body widens and then as you exhale, come across without over rotating the neck. Inhale lower.

Maybe press your head into your hands, get length. Exhale come across. Inhale open it up, reach out through your heels and your toes and exhale across. Hover your head a little bit, holding and supporting the head. Soft tongue, soft throat.

Exhale lower. Inhale and lift. Exhale lower. Inhale and lift and if it's a lot to have straight legs, bend them a little bit. Inhale and lift.

And release. Take the insides of your shins, inhale open and exhale close. Inhale open. Arch and exhale close. And then we'll with both legs, maybe the knees are a little bit bent, roll up to balance on the sit bones and if you don't the first time, you can try it again.

Balance on the sit bones. Hold on either underneath or on top and round into a little ball. The middle of your thoracic, your rib cage, try not to poke it out too much. So you're actually lengthening as you round. So the spine is like an accordion getting a little bit longer with the support of the belly and the breath and then we'll see if we can roll back and keep this proximity.

Exhale and come on up, which is a lot harder with two legs. So we'll try it either use the hands to support or see if you can without using the hands keep this little tight space. Ooh without it feeling too tight. So if you want to, we'll do it a couple more times. Think about really pulling the belly back and up so that the hip flexors aren't really contracted and bunched and you're using those lower, more intrinsic belly muscles.

Mmm. Nice. And then roll back down onto your back. I'm gonna make sure I'm on the blanket. And I'm just gonna helicopter my legs and take the right leg on top of the left.

Move the knees a little bit away from you and like I was saying before, you don't need to flatten completely your lower back, but draw down and spread wide like coconut oil in a cast iron pan so that you can feel that with your breath you're supporting down and you don't feel a tenting of the middle of the abdomen. So it's widening and spreading and then stack your hands one over the other on top of your mid thigh and you can, if you have the mobility, you can hook your foot underneath. If not, don't worry about it. And then exhale and make it a super long exhale and press your hands into your thighs and your thighs into your hands. See if you can keep the superficial muscles relaxed around your neck and shoulders.

Take an inhale and keep the pressure and exhale and press. I'm really feeling this one. Inhale in. Keep that pressure. So you're really integrating your arms and your legs into your center and exhale and press and see like where is your center, how far into your body is it, how far to your pelvis or to your skull is it, where you feel this almost convergence of energy.

Then we'll keep the legs like this, take the hands behind the back of the head and we're gonna on our exhale draw in and if you can, do a little pelvic pop and then inhale and open up and allow a little curve to come in your lower back and then exhale draw it in and maybe a little pelvic pop and inhale open. A few more like this. You can add on if you like a little squeeze of your inner thighs together, but not too tight, well not like a vise grip, but a little bit softer than that. And then we'll release our legs, place our feet down and just rock your pelvis forward so that your lower back comes off the floor and drop it back so your lower back leans down into the floor. One more time, inhale rock it forwards, strengthen and soften and exhale and press back and it's nice to release in between these movements because the quicker your body can go from relaxation in the muscle tissue in the fascia to contraction and gathering up the energy, then the more alive and healthy the system is.

So I think about that a lot when I'm working how quickly can I relax or am I staying chronically contracted and in that way I'm never letting go of that tension, it becomes unconscious, it becomes patterning and then it becomes something that weakens your system. So we'll try the other side. Helicopter your legs left leg on top. If you can get that little wrap, get it. Toes are active, heels are active, hands stack, knees move a little bit away, belly coconut oil, press inhale and exhale and press.

Keep the pressure through your next inhale. Maybe a little tiny squeeze of the inner thighs. You can almost feel the pelvic floor wake up. Inhale. Exhale.

Down and out, nice soft jaw, nice soft neck. Beautiful. Release, take your hands behind the back of your skull. Inhale open it up a little bit and then exhale maybe a little pop and if there is no pop that's happening, just draw in as much as you can and then kind of pause there. Exhale.

Or pop. Inhale and open and play with really softening your neck. Another thing that will support your midline is to press your tongue right under the roof of your mouth. Exhale. Inhale, just let it open a little bit.

This time take the soles of your feet together and your knees wide. If you want to support your outer hips, you can and just take a few breaths to release. Go right into relaxing your system. Lengthening and spreading your core right into the floor of your pelvis. Maybe take your arms up over your head and really enjoy this part.

It's the best part. Beautiful. So now I'm gonna invite you to take this block and place it behind the back of your head. In those previous exercises when your head is a little bit lifted off and you really felt like you were over straining in your neck, this is gonna support you. But if you want to work that midline strength all the way into the tip of the tongue and all the way up through the neck, don't use the block, just see what works for you and then we're gonna take the knees and the elbows together.

You can open up your hands, spread your toes and if this is too much on your neck, place the block and the block you can put it on a few different levels. It might even help you get your knees to your elbows if that is an issue for you or it's not totally available. So you'll get a little bit of help coming up. Otherwise I want to try to get my knees as far up as I can. Lean the knees and the arms together just like the pressure work we were just doing and exhale and press.

Inhale. And exhale and press and then I can roll a little bit over to one side without toppling over. Inhale, exhale press, you could be rolling on the block as well for this one, and then reach one leg out without changing the shape too much and then draw it in, roll over to the other side and see if you can let go of that fusion of knee and arm together and reach the leg out and draw it in. Again. Exhale.

Lengthen your core. Inhale press. Roll over. Exhale. Inhale press.

Into the center and release. You can snuggle your feet into the floor here and lean the small of your back down and then roll your pelvis up, mid back, upper back, maybe take your arms over the top of your head, shoot your knees forwards, shoot your chest towards your chin. It's almost like a sword coming out of its sheath. You're moving in two different directions. So nice, exhale.

And roll down. This time, we're gonna do a little roll. So kind of curl into a little ball. Inhale and then exhale and roll over onto your side and lengthen out. See if you can continue rolling without the use of your elbow, and without too much the use of your outer arm, slowly onto your belly and then exhale and come down.

You're gonna be a little off your mat, which is kind of nice. And then you can inhale and lift legs, legs are a little bit wide, maybe lift arms and open and exhale and come down. Inhale and lift and open so you're strengthening the back of your core and exhale and come down. One more time, inhale and reach and exhale lower and then we're gonna swing that arm around, see if we can roll over onto our back and onto the other side. So see how slow you can do this (laughs) and exhale and lower.

Inhale and lift and if looking forwards like I was just doing is cranking the back of your neck at all, look down and lengthen. Exhale. Inhale. Exhale. Inhale, come on up and shoot length, connecting those legs into your side of your spine.

Roll back over without using the arms too much and we'll just roll, do these little rolls side to side a couple more times. But let's trying opening up, lower back close to the floor. Exhale and curling in. Inhale, it's like a big star fish opening. Exhale and curl in.

Roll over smooth. Exhale and lower. Inhale and lift. Exhale, get long as you work with the back body. Roll over.

I used my elbow. And then over to the other side. Exhale. So I actually learned this from a friend who learned it in a toddler gymnastics class and I've just been doing it ever since. (laughs) And over and then draw it in. Place your feet down, take your arms over the top of your head, let the small of your back lean down, roll up.

And we're gonna stay here for a little bit. So really snuggle your feet down. Reach your pelvis, your sitting bones, the things that you sit on, your femur bones, the thigh bones forwards and then reach your chest, especially the back of your chest away from your pelvis so you're moving in two different directions and start to feel your legs. Try not to squeeze your bum together, but you will feel activation on your outer hips. So you don't want to spill your knees out.

A few more deep breaths. Maybe you're stretching through the sides. Soften your eyes, maybe even close them. Thank yourself for taking this time. And as we strengthen our center and our spine, we're strengthening around our central nervous system.

So you can exhale and slowly lower, maybe even one vertebrae at a time, maybe even coming up onto your toe pads so that you have the space to roll down until the back of your pelvis hits and then we're gonna roll over onto one side and this is how we'll just close our time together is just really relaxing your belly. So I really want you to think about, especially as athletes or you have a really strong body practice or embodiment practice, that you're aware of if you're holding tension from what you're doing. If there's tension that's unconscious, that's held, that's always there, is it becoming a patterning because over time that's gonna cause an effect that will stop you from progressing in the things that you're doing. So really maybe close your eyes, relax your jaw, your mouth and let your belly like hang over and feel the pull of gravity and we'll do the same thing on the other side. But just so I can be with you, I'll roll this way.

Also when we strengthen around our spine and our nervous system, we're... Kind of strengthening our inner self. Mentally as well. Finding the support. And then you can roll over and if you wanted to take a little lie down after this practice, I would highly recommend that.



1 person likes this.
Yes! Perfect! This is exactly what I needed... so glad to have you here Lydia
Wonderful practice, thank you. This morning I followed it up with Matt Pesendian's 'Fluid Forward Bends & Twists' - what a great combination. Ready to go to work now. :)
Hi Lori. Oooh that sounds lovely. I love Matt's classes! Enjoy your day!
Hello! I am looking forward to re-engaging my core after childbirth. Would you recommend this series? I have diastasis recti and will be using a support band. Nicole (and Eva) :)
Hi Nicole Congrats on your birth and new family! I am not an expert on healing from diastasic recti, but what I've learned through others is that if you still have a large protrusion it's recommended to stay away from isolated abdominal work like crunching on the floor and partake in more integrative core work (using the whole body) like planking, side planking, bridge core work (which is in my Deep in the Core video) and crawling, hanging and walking! If you're partaking in this video, you might be mindful to keep your frontal hip bones squeezing together. You can find a great explanation of this with the start of Suniti Dernovsek's Held in Balance video here on the Asana Studies show. Long answer but I hope some of it helps and that you recover swiftly! Keep in touch please. Warmly, LLydia Zamorano
Your sequencing is genius, Lydia. Intense and intelligent - and compassionate too!
Hi Kate Thank you so much! Love practicing with you here. Mwah! Lydia Zamorano
Thank you Lydia! This practice is eounderful. How often would you recomend doing this specific class per week?
Hi Katarina You could do this practice daily! However, given a busy life and an age of information where there are lots of things to explore... 3 times a week would suffice to build some intelligent and integral core strength. With love!
Lydia Zamorano
Dear Lydia. Thank you for your quick answer! 3 times a week sounds just perfect for a while. With love Katarina
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