I recently wrote the blog post “Forgetting about my abs – Working out my heart and mind,” about shifting the focus away from the physical body and towards the mental, emotional and spiritual bodies. Today I am going to focus on how we can use the physical body, specifically the abdominals, to build a strong center for all four of our bodies.
I am going explain the chakras as simply and quickly as possible…
The seven chakras, which in Sanskrit means “wheel,” are energy centers located from the crown of the head down to the base of the spine. Energy flows between the chakras through channels call nadis. Each chakra governs the physical region and emotional world around them. Stuck energy can lead to illness or blocked emotions.
Today we are discussing the Manipura chakra. It is located at the center of the abdominal core (around the belly button) and governs the emotional issues of self-worth and self-confidence. Also known as the Solar Plexus chakra, the third chakra symbolizes the qualities that affect how we manifest ourselves in the world. When you build your physical core, you are also building your inner core, the stuff you are made of. A strong core and flowing energy leads to strong self-worth while a weak core and stuck energy can lead to low self-esteem.
That was easy enough, yeah? So…
The physical benefits of building your core are probably the reason most people practice. Beyond the nice aesthetics of a six-pack, a strong core stabilizes and balances every movement to prevent injury. Yet, it is even more powerful to build a strong mental and emotional core. How do you build your core like that? There are probably a lot of ways, but I like to practice core work with affirmations.
With each exhale I repeat the same, or different, encouraging, strengthening phrase. I use phrases like, “I am courageous. I am strong. I am centered. I am grounded. I am focused. I am beautiful. I am love. I love myself. I love my body. I can conquer this challenge. I can overcome.” There have been times when I did not believe in what I was saying, but the more I fed my core with encouraging messages, the more I embodied them, because they are all true, not just for me, but for you and for everyone. All of these qualities – love, joy, courage, strength, focus, truth, and everything good and beautiful– are at your center. You just need to ignite them from your core.
There have been times when it was really hard to crank out some core work or even get to my mat. In those cases, I start my one-minute abs workout program. I’ll set a timer for one minute, get my ass to the mat, most likely with a negative ‘tude, and work it out for one minute. After that one minute, I feel I’ve accomplished something; I feel better and stronger. The great thing is, after that one minute, I’m already on my mat. So, if I want, I can stay for more core work, yoga or meditation, but if not, I accomplished my workout.
Each day I will add about thirty seconds to the workout, and usually, even as early as the second day, there is something in me that yearns for more. My inner fire grows with each breath of core work and becomes stronger, more centered and more authentic. This pattern continues each day, continually building. This process is all about baby steps. One minute at a time, one breath at a time, one day at a time.
It is not what we do some of the time; it is what we do everyday that makes or destroys us. An effort of one at least one-minute a day makes a difference. Try it out when you’re not finding the motivation and please let me know how it goes! Remember to be graceful to yourself; a missed day here or there is not a failure, only giving up on you is.
I would love to hear from you! How do you build your core? Do you practice affirmations? What works for you? Thank you so much taking the time to read!
Wishing you a strong core full of self-love and sending you my love and support on your journey,