Lumbar Love: the Vulnerability at your Core

Image“the core is more than our physical center,” says yogini shiva rea; “it is our inner fire, the seat of our physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual selves.”

There are 206 bones in the human body.

Only 5 lumbar vertebrae link the 122 bones above to the 79 bones below. Five.

This sturdy string allows for expansive variation in movement (consider urdhva dhanurasana and sasangasana), but flexibility is vulnerability on its own. It must be balanced with strength: 80% of people experience low back pain at some point. Sciatica, bulging or hernated discs, and many lower extremity problems are all related to that wee string of vertebrae that desperately needs your support!

Like putting on your helmet before riding a bike (a very “me” reference!), prepared deep “core” abdominal muscles (the diaphragm, transverse abdominis, multifidus, pelvic floor muscles and others) are essential to preventing injury from everyday activities, particularly as we age.

A skilled hatha yoga teacher and a thoughtful physical yoga practice will have you initiating moving from your core and creatively engaging the musculature around those five vertebrae to protect, preserve, and prosper without injury. 

Does your yoga teacher talk about the core in “basic” poses like tadasana, or warrior I? IMHO, they should. A little awareness there will go a long way in increasing the safety of your physical practice as well as your capacity to practice.