For beginners or readers with chronic illness or pain, some of the exercises in this book may seem intimidating. I would certainly recommend beginning with some of the breathing and meditation exercises that Dr. Zazulak suggests, regardless of your fitness level. For those who have a solid base of core stability, the more advanced exercises like those incorporating medicine balls and plyometrics may be the challenge you’re looking for.
You’ll also find some useful nuggets of information that may even surprise you if you’re a personal trainer or fitness junkie, like the link between the core and the jaw. The following is an exclusive excerpt from Master Your Core. To learn more or order your own copy, click here.
Republished from Master Your Core by Dr. Bohdanna Zazulak with permission of TCK Publishing.
The connection between your core floor and your jaw begins in the third week of embryonic development, when they are joined by your spine. From this time on, the jaw and pelvis are strongly linked in mind-body-spirit, as tensions in the two areas very often mirror each other. The pelvic floor is integrally linked with your entire being, which includes your emotions and nervous system.
Women in particular tend to internalize emotions more often, which manifests as muscle tension in an unrelaxed core floor. When muscles tense, they constrict the nerves that send electrical signals between your muscles and your brain, causing spasms, weakness, and/or pain. Muscle tension also compromises blood flow, which deprives your muscles of the vital oxygen and nutrients they need to function optimally.
Most people do not even realize that they cruise through much of their day “riding their clutch,” with the core floor engaged all the time. When new drivers learn how to shift gears, it takes practice to get the hang of fully disengaging and re-engaging the clutch. This causes mechanical problems in a car, just as having a constantly engaged core floor does in your body. If you never truly disengage your core floor, you may experience tightness, decreased range of motion, and even pain. Awareness and mindful relaxation of tense muscles is the key to good nerve transmission and blood circulation, which is necessary for a healthy core floor. Again, this takes practice!
To practice relaxation of your core floor, scan your body for areas of tension and gently release, as you practice your mindful deep breathing. Gently place your tongue behind your front teeth to relax your jaw and think of something that makes you happy and grateful. Fully relax your pelvic floor with each inhalation. If you tense up your pelvic floor muscles, you’ll notice that your jaw will also tighten up. Relax one, and the other will follow.
Visualization helps relax the floor, so think of a peaceful place such as a mountain, forest, or beach. Imagine what you would see, hear, feel, smell, and taste, and let your floor go. Reconnect with your pelvic floor to stop driving through life riding your clutch, and cruise your way to a relaxed and balanced core, mind, and life.