Trees, buildings and our bodies receive their stability from strong cores. The human core consists of several muscle layers in 4 different directions.
When all of these muscles are working for you, you have your own natural built-in girdle that supports the centre of the body. From a strong core, we are then able to transfer strength to the rest of our body: our legs will function better, our arms will have more support, and our posture will be more easily held upright. A strong core also has the aesthetic benefit of a flatter, healthier looking abdominal area.
An easy way to practice isolating and engaging the core is this: while lying down or sitting, place a hand just below the navel. From here, take a deep breath in and then exhale through pursed lips, while drawing the navel in towards the spine. Do this a few times. Now try to maintain this contracted feeling while inhaling – it should be held at about 50% contraction and should not interfere with regular breathing. Now, you can start to add movement of the legs or arms while maintaining the core and the breath.