You may know Lauren Roxburgh as a foam rolling guru, but her new book, The Power Source: The Hidden Key To Ignite Your Core, Empower Your Body, Release Stress, And Realign Your Life, goes so much deeper than fascia. In the book, Roxburgh explains her core philosophy: that the strength and mobility of your core muscles and pelvic floor is connected to not just your physical health but also to stress, emotional health, and your ability to build healthy relationships with yourself and others. “The goal here is to allow yourself to effortlessly and gracefully live in your amazing body and experience the life that you truly desire without forcing that life into being,” she says in the intro. To get you started, she shared this excerpt from The Power Source on getting to you know your core in a much deeper way.
By Lauren Roxburgh
Get to Know Your Deep Core
Imagine the rings inside of a tree; your core has layers in much the same way. Those layers consist of muscle, connective tissue, organs (including the female reproductive system), the digestive system, nerves, and lots of emotional energy. In the Western world, we tend to focus only on the muscle layer of our core, but all of these components are equally important, not only for our physical wellness but also for healing and restoring core muscles.
Your deep core is located around the belly button area. The core also includes the psoas, which is considered either a hip flexor or core muscle, depending upon your school of thought. I consider the psoas to be part of the core because, although it is connected to the hip flexors, it is located higher up in the body and connects our torso to our legs. The psoas attaches from behind the organs, in front of the spine, and right under the diaphragm. It runs all the way through the hips into the groin. If our psoas is tight and imbalanced, so are our organs and pelvis.
The psoas is a stabilizing, connective muscle. It is responsible for bringing our legs forward when we walk. Despite this, most people walk from the hip joint down because they are disconnected from their psoas and core. To determine whether you are walking from your psoas or from your hips, notice if your steps feel long and graceful (psoas) or short and heavy (hips). If you are channeling Gisele’s dancer-like runway walk or LeBron’s graceful swagger down the court, you are moving as you are meant to. Your steps should feel expansive, fluid, and flowing.
When we learn to use the psoas as it was intended, we can attain a flatter belly; more flexible hips; a longer, leaner, and stronger core and back; and a more streamlined waist. Utilizing our psoas changes our posture and helps undulate the spine while giving us length and expansion. When we connect with and utilize our psoas, we reorganize our entire core and create more space and support. This impacts not only how we stand and walk for the better, but also how we breathe.
In ancient society, the psoas was known as the muscle of the soul because it connects us to intuition or “gut feelings.” Taoists believe the psoas connects us to our ancestry and that our emotions and fears can become trapped in its delicate tissue. When we release these fears, we can begin to live from a more intuitive, sensual place. By physically awakening and connecting with the psoas, we can release trapped emotions, deep tension, and fears, which allows us to tap into sensuality and intuition.
Finally, our adrenal glands live right above our kidneys in the deep core. When we exist in a constant state of adrenal fatigue or fight-or-flight, it’s almost impossible to connect to our creative energy and powerful intuition. Intuition can exist only when we are in rest-and-digest mode. Without our intuition, it is almost impossible to connect to those things we want to authentically manifest.
This means that, in a very real way, the stress we hold in our deep core impacts not only our ability to accurately sense our instincts and intuition, but also to feel our purpose and follow our life path.
We talk about our “gut feelings,” but few of us really appreciate the amazingly strong connections between the brain and the digestive system. The stomach and intestines actually have more nerve cells than the entire spinal cord, almost like a mini- brain. The vagus nerve, which connects our brain to our guttural nervous system, is also located in our deep core. Vagus means “wandering” in Latin. This is appropriate, because the vagus nerve branches out from the two stems that connect the abdomen to the cerebellum and brainstem, touching our heart and other major organs as it winds up the body. It acts as a highway, carrying information from the brain to the digestive system and vice versa.
When we get in touch with our core, we create space in our waist and also improve digestion and even become better attuned with hunger. I have had clients resolve chronic IBS and indigestion issues by working their psoas, because moving, releasing, and strengthening this area decreases compression and inflammation. We develop an innate understanding of what our body needs and can eat more intuitively. Tuning in and providing our body with the right nutrition can alleviate or even resolve any number of issues.
The Deep Core and Holistic Health
From a physical standpoint, our deep core impacts everything from digestion to mobility to the largest organ, our skin.
When we are in tune with our deep intrinsic core, we are able to release pain, shrink our waist, improve posture and digestion, and even connect with and express our emotions in a healthier, more fully realized way. We feel more youthful and energetic, and our mind is clearer. Our awareness, vitality, and sensuality are all heightened.
This heightened sensuality allows us to feel more alive and in tune with our path and purpose. When we acknowledge who we are and what we want, it becomes so much simpler to magnetize those things, experiences, and people we desire into our lives. Our inner compass is recalibrated, which serves us in several different ways. We have an innate understanding of who “our people” are, and are able to cultivate real connection and intimacy with them in a natural, comfortable way. This also impacts our physical health, because we gain the ability to sense when something is not quite right physically, whether it’s a little glitch or a larger imbalance in the body.
Excerpted from the book THE POWER SOURCE: THE HIDDEN KEY TO IGNITE YOUR CORE, EMPOWER YOUR BODY, RELEASE STRESS, AND REALIGN YOUR LIFE by Lauren Roxburgh. Copyright © 2019 by Lauren Roxburgh. Reprinted with permission of Grand Central Publishing. All rights reserved.