It’s impossible to live through our hearts and in faith when we live in fear of the unknown and anxiety around our lives. While trying to use the mind to change the mind is often futile, we can actively move towards living through our hearts and in our own strength by strengthening our core.
In Kundalini yoga, the core is three fingers below the belly button. This is where a plethora of nerve endings, hormones, and emotions live. By creating a strong core and a harmonious inner system, we re-connect with our intuition and are able to live as our true selves, out of the way of fear and in our highest light. It is possible to do this through physical movement, breath work, and nourishing food.
The following practices strengthen our core, inside and out, and let us unfold into our true brilliance.
- Twisting asanas
Doing twisting poses helps to wring out toxins that contribute to physical discomforts and emotional stress. They push us to our limits physically which provides us with a good opportunity to breathe through the challenge while maintaining calmness within. Try twisting crescent, twisting chair, and twisting half moon. Lead with your heart, holding for three to six breaths and remember to draw your breath slowly and deeply into your stomach during the poses.
- Leg lift crunches
Slow, deliberate movements create a strong awareness of our core. These crunches let us draw energy from the fingertips to toes to activate and strengthen the core. Lie on your back, arms by your sides. Life your right leg and reach forward with your fingertips, then reach your arms overheard, keeping your shoulder blades off the ground while activating your core as your lower your leg. Lift your left leg while reaching forward again, and alternate between legs taking a moment with your arms overhead and legs straight out in between sides. Do this slowly and with mindfulness of your core, remaining aware of your naval to spine connection.
- Fibrous foods
It’s critical that we allow our bodies the space and energy for effective maintenance. Fibrous foods such as fruits, vegetables, and whole grains are the best for this as they bind to toxins and escort them out of our systems. Digestion is the most energy intensive process of our bodies, and fiber assists with this, energizing our systems. When our stomachs are cleansed and are properly eliminating, our core is strong and our minds have the space to be clear and focused.
There is a delicate yet powerful balance of microflora in our stomachs, and many critical hormones that regulate our emotions, energy and physical needs. The standard American diet, lifestyle, and practice of taking antibiotics for every ailment disrupts this critical balance that affects every area of our health. When we have discord in this area, it affects our immune systems, our ability to effectively absorb nutrients from our food, and contributes to emotional issues like anxiety. Probiotics restore the intestinal balance and promote growth of healthy and nourishing bacteria, contributing to a harmonious inner environment that supports a calm and stable equilibrium.
- Breath of fire
This cleansing and energizing breath connects you to your core and charges the nervous system, powered by abdominal contractions. Breath of fire creates and builds a cosmic change that brightens the body and clears the mind, creating radiance and light throughout your entire system. It helps release the need to control and enables us to surrender to the higher power of the cosmos that is always working to support and enhance our lives.
To do: Sit relaxed, eyes closed and focused on the point in between the eyebrows. Allow your breath to move in and out through the nose, mouth closed. Breathe rapidly in through your nostrils letting your stomach fill and expand with air.The time is equal on the inhale and the exhale, with no pause in between. Starting out do for 1-3 minutes. It may make you light headed at first, so be aware of how you feel. As time goes on, you can do it for longer. It will pump fresh air deep into your lungs and stomach, and will give your body a great aliveness and connection with the divine.
Having a fortified core through these practices enables us to live through our hearts and in our own strength. It empowers our intuition, and gives us the courage we need to pursue our goals, our true love, and rise towards our higher selves. It enables us to call forth our divinity and to feel truly alive and vibrant. Choose one or two of the things above to begin to cultivate a strong core, and feel the power move into other areas of your life.
Photo by Anton Repponen