A Little-Known Core Concern that Warrants Recognition
Most people would love to have a killer core—that is, a waistline to die for—but at what cost? Diastasis recti is a splitting of the fascia of the rectus abdominis down the linia alba, or midline, that separates it into left and right halves. The condition occurs primarily in infants and pregnant women, but can also be the result of obesity, particularly when excessive fat surrounds the abdomen. Diastasis recti can also be cause by certain abdominal exercises and heavy weightlifting— which is a common cause of the problem among men. In women, diastasis recti can occur during pregnancy, when the pressure of the uterus against the abdominal wall causes a widening and thinning of the midline tissue. However, women can live with diastasis recti for several years after pregnancy, especially if they do not perform the proper exercises to fix the issue or if they worsen the separation by exercising incorrectly. Having several consecutive pregnancies can prevent the uterus from returning to its normal size and interfere with the body’s healing.
A split that creates a gap wider than two-and-a-half fingers’ width may be considered a medical issue and should be dealt with immediately. Even at two fingers widths, sufferers may notice back pain, the sagging “mama belly” or a coning or V-shape at the line of the linia alba, where the abdominals should be connected. At any gap size, diastasis recti is a concern that can create issues if left unaddressed as the core muscles develop improperly. When something in our bodies is not working correctly, something else compensates, and that compensation eventually catches up with us.
What to Avoid Exercise classes and boot camps that are focused on weight loss and strength training usually do not provide students with an understanding of transversus abdominis and pelvic support, so it is important for anyone that suffers from diastasis, especially new mothers, to understand the problem and how to properly heal from it. Because pregnancy stretches and thins the abdominal walls rapidly, the muscles afterward are vulnerable to injury. Like a balloon that is inflated and deflated several times consecutively, the abs can become distorted and saggy unless the proper care is taken to heal them from being stretched thin.
The abdominal exercises known as crunches can create a pressure down the midline of the belly that can cause the split. The source of problematic weightlifting is incorrect form; either sucking in or pushing out the belly prevents building true transversus abdominis strength.
Women should avoid wearing a support girdle or other tummy-trimming undergarments unless the split is two or more fingers width apart. The girdle’s support prevents sufferers from working the core muscles, leading to an issue that is much worse than a simple tummy bulge.
How to Strengthen and Heal Learning proper pelvic floor exercises will give the core the support it needs and build the base from which to mend the issue. The pelvic floor is the bottom of the body; with strengthening, this foundation can lighten the load on the rectus abdominis and help remedy urinary incontinence.
Due to pregnancy, excessive abdominal weight or improper core work, many women that have diastasis recti also have lordosis, an exaggerated forward curvature of the lumbar and cervical regions of the spinal column. Intentionally bringing the spine into a neutral position helps retrain the muscles into their proper position.
Choose exercises that facilitate using the transversus abdominis properly, working in three dimensions, or planes of motion, rather than simply along one plane (for example, with crunches, the movement is just rounding forward). Learn core exercises that require work in the transverse (horizontal) plane, rather than in the sagittal (or vertical) plan, as traditional sit-ups do.
Practice breathwork that will encourage a co-contraction effect on the entire pelvic core, from the pelvic floor to the entire torso. When exhaling, instead of sucking in our pushing out, make a small deflation of the belly, but more distinctly, a firm contraction of the entire core to feel a bracing effect.
Finally, become educated and ask questions. Not all workouts are equal and unfortunately, not all instructors are aware of the effects of their workouts on all parts of the body.
Three Moves to Rehabilitate Diastasis Recti by Hope Zvara
Forearm Plank Twist
Come onto the forearms in a forearm plank position, actively pressing forearms into the floor, keeping head in line with the body parallel to the ground. From the natural waistline, twist your lower body to the left, rotating your pelvis and feet to point in the same direction onto the side of the left foot, so that the left hip points toward the ground and right side faces the ceiling. Lift your hips actively away from the floor to feel the oblique and transversus abdominis turn on. Remain here for five to 10 breaths. Pause in plank and take a short break, and then repeat the opposite side, twisting the lower body to the right. After completing both sides, decide which side needs more work and repeat that side a second time.
Mini-ball Extension with a Twist Sitting tall with a nine-inch, core-training mini-ball gently tucked behind your sacrum, sit tall on your sit bones and on an exhale using your transversus abdominis, press only your sacrum barely into the ball without rounding your spine. Inhale and extend your body back to make a 45-degree angle with the floor, watching not to arch the back and keeping a maintained focus on the linea alba. Keep the intention of exhaling and connecting both sides of the belly together. Place the fingers of one hand on one side of the rectus break and the thumb on the other. Upon exhaling, use the fingers and thumb to merge the split muscle. Do not extend too far back and remember to keep the pelvic floor active; a mini-ball or block can be placed between the inner thighs to assist. On the next inhale, take a gentle twist to the right and rotate only the torso, taking care to not move on the mini-ball, and with a strong exhale, focus on using your corset core, the area between the hips and the ribs, to rotate you back to center. Repeat each side five times and then work the weaker side again another five times.
Lying on the floor in a supine position, place a mini-ball underneath the sacrum with the pelvis in a neutral position. Exhale and actively contract the anal sphincter, vaginal passageway (for women) and urethra. Keeping this support, lift one leg up so that the shin is parallel to the ceiling, with the knee aligned over the hip. Keep steady and extend your opposite arm towards the lifted leg, palm to thigh. Now without moving the pelvis or spine, press leg and palm towards each other, creating resistance, for 10 to 20 seconds. Release the leg and arm and then repeat on the opposite side. Notice which side is weaker and repeat that side a second time. What you should notice is the entire core activating without you needing to do much of anything. This way to effectively use the core and support the spine is called bracing, or co-contracting.
Join Hope Zvara for a great 15 minute yoga session incorporating the principles of functionality in combination with light hand weights and cues to help you get the most out of your core! A great workout can really happen in just 15 minutes!
Join Hope Zvara for a great 45 min session dedicated to functional back care. Combining traditional yoga asanas with functional movement give you the perfect stretch and strengthen combination for a pain free lower back.
Join Hope for a great class focusing on body opening, effective back bends with great instruction will leave you feeling open, refreshed and ready to let go of yesterday and jump into today.
Yoga, Fitness, Stretch, Workout, Back Bends
Join Hope for a 20 minute Yoga practice focusing on functional balance poses, stretch and strengthening moves to get ready for the day or tuned up for whatever is to come next. Hope feels it is vital that video give classroom like detailed instruction as to what and how you should be feeling in each pose. For teaches learn from her cues and details, students get more out of your practice than ever before. Namaste visit her website www.HopeZvara.com
Balance, Stretch, Yoga, Release, Functional, Poses, Asana
Sit ups are a sure fire way to damage your back, neck and hip flexors. Remember the Physical Fitness tests in school, who can throw themselves up and down on a wrestling mat the most in 60 seconds is in shape. WHAT? Who in the world is coming up with these tests? No wonder as adults we are throwing ourselves all over the room thinking and feeling like we are getting our bodies in shape. If you never do another single sit-up in your life you will be better off. So what if you could engage in a exercise that would turn on more core power in less time and guess what, less effort? When I teach classes of any sort and especially core based classes most new-Be's feel the urgency to go fast and go really what they would call deep in the hopes of getting a better workout. And I am pretty sure I have pissed a few students off from time to time because I hold them back. And it's not the kind of holding back you are probably thinking, but rather the kind of holding back that will actually require more core power and more control.
As a teacher I see this often, other teachers and students trying to replicate moves they have seen in a magazine or others do in a class or at home. The only problem is they don't really know what they are doing, what they should be using and how to activate deep core muscle.
So today all you need is a small ball, or what some call a mini ball and take your time, go slow and focus more on stability than mobility. Think baby steps. A child will never learn to walk before he or she learns to stand and so on.
- Find neutral (refer to my you tube channel for a walk through on neutral) with the ball behind the sacrum and the spine long above.
- Step your feel sit bones with apart, if necessary place a block or extra ball between the knees for more pelvic floor integration and leg control.
- Exhale and slightly kiss the sacrum into the small ball without rounding the spine. Think about a hula dancer they can move their hips without moving their torso.
- With that kiss activate your pelvic floor muscles which will allow your pelvis to refrain from overly tilting when you go back and also assist your groin from taking over.
- Either place your hands gently at your knees or up at shoulder height.
- Inhale; begin to extend your body back without rounding and with out tilting your pelvis forward.
- Come to 45°, were the hip flexors are not straining and the body feels a slight earth quake shake. Remember to activate the pelvic floor region.
- Exhale and return back to an upright seated position. Be sure not to pull forward with the arms, but rather pull up through the top of the head and imagine a little hand in your core floating up.
- Repeat this 8-10 times, only as many as you can be the most effective.
- Don’t arch your lower back
- Adjust arm positions to support the neck or try arms crossed holding opposite elbows.
- It is not about speed or how many reps, this type of core work is about control and stability.
- Watch that your not resting on the ball, think trying to be in front of the ball when you move.
- Make an effort to minimally breathe into the belly and maximize breathing into the side body and ribs.
Over the past decade, I've noticed that there is more to teaching yoga than just knowing the names of the poses, what they look like, and how to put them together to create a flow.
Below are the key tips that I share with my teachers and trainees to help them put their best foot forward -- not only in teaching, but in their own personal journey as well. To me, that is what yoga is all about and if you can make that personal growth, it becomes a lot easier to be an effective yoga teacher.
1. Stay a student.
When we think we know it all and stop learning, we stop re-evaluating what we are doing and stunt growth. Being a student means that, as yoga teachers, we continue to learn from others, take classes, read lots, and take trainings or workshops. On top of that we, work to discover our strong as well as our weak areas. When we stay a student we also stay humble and compassionate, which is a very important quality for a yoga teacher.
2. Know your students.
I know it seems obvious, but what type of investment are you really making in your students? Many of them trust you more than other authorities figures in their lives. So knowing your students is more than knowing their names but learning to read both their body language and body mechanics.
Day One of my teacher training, I teach students how to train their eye to detailed observation. When you start to apply this type of approach to your students, you notice that Sally in the back is always rubbing her neck before class, and Bill in the corner makes a funny face every time he’s in cobra, and Jill up front wears glasses into yoga but not during yoga.
This is what I call the hidden investment, meaning these are things you are noticing but they may not notice you noticing them. When we assess this way we are better able to give our student what they need without asking them directly (which we all know doesn’t always get us an answer or maybe not the real one).
This knowing leads us right into things like speed of speech, body language, type of conversations they have in class, outside activities from yoga, the list goes on. But as a yoga teacher or any effective “life” teacher this is important to do and understand its importance. To continue reading this article by Hope click to visit MindBodyGreen.com where this article was posted.
Not your average Sun Salutation, join Hope for a quick series of fun, effective detail orientated Sun Salutation postures. In just 15 minutes feel refreshed and read for the day. Namaste.
We all want it, that feeling, where we are overflowing with so much joy we cannot contain it. In the end, after we scrape away all the fluff of our desires, wants and needs, we all do really want the same thing: JOY. Pure blissful joy; a joy where our hearts sing and dance free from judgment; pure and simple joy.
If yoga does really mean to unite, a uniting coming from the Sanskrit root word yuj, it's important to understand that we're also working to unite with the Universal Consciousness, that which is all encompassing.
This uniting in some ways may have become a new catchphrase in yoga, an assumed understanding that we are one. And if you are like me, it can be difficult to truly understand this yoga without understanding the all-encompassing truth of what yoga is.
If you have ever traveled to India or have met someone from India and have had the ability to have a conversation with them about yoga, you may have discovered something quite astonishing. They laugh and haven’t a clue what you're talking about.
To them yoga is a way of life: do you not breathe every day? Do you not interact with the world around you, eat your food, drink your water? Are you not listening to your body’s daily needs? This is all yoga.
To me, yoga is simply a way to live, a guide to keep me moving forward, not just a once a week asana practice.To read the rest of this article by Hope Zvara visit MindBodyGreen
Functional Folded Warrior II is an amazing dynamic real life version of Warrior II that offers a deep hi release, core recruitment, a tone in the legs and length in the spine. This version will get an internal heat going in your body and the release you are looking for.