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Come Home to Your Core

January 22, 2016

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Getting centered and strong is a great way to boost both physical and mental energy.

And it all starts with getting connected to your core muscles!

Engaging your center of gravity brings power and grace to all your movements. Ballet teaches you how to engage and move from the deep abdominals–in fact, it’s one of the main reasons ballet dancers look so graceful.

Many people think of the core as the general stomach region, both above and below the navel. In ballet, however, the concept of core is more specific and much deeper. Your ballet core refers to the deep abdominals below the navel. This region is the true center of gravity of the human body so it makes a lot of sense that ballet dancers learn to control their movements from this central place.

Learning to use your ballet core means so much more than flatter abs. It means accessing a powerful home base for good posture and form in all your movements, which translates into strength, tone, balance, agility, stamina, and grace.

But how do you get in touch with your lower abdominals? Here’s what you can do to awaken your deep core to feel strong and poised everyday:

Come Home to Your Core Exercises:

Exercise 1

  1. Stand comfortably and equally on 2 feet.
  2. Place your fingers 1½ to 2 inches below your navel.
  3. Lightly draw in and up where your fingers are touching.
  4. Release any tension in your shoulders, neck and collarbones.
  5. Keep drawing in at the lower core while continuing to breathe for 3 breaths. Keep scanning the body for tension and try to release any you find while maintaining the work of the 1½ to 2 inches below your navel.
  6. Release and repeat for a total of 4 times.

Exercise 2

  1. Lying down with knees bent, feet on the floor and separated approximately hip distance.
  2. Feel your pelvis falling into the floor. Imagine your collarbones opening and softening.
  3. Place your fingers 1½ to 2 inches below your navel. You can also keep your hands beside your hips on the floor.
  4. Lightly draw in your lower core, keeping your collarbones and neck soft.
  5. Curl your tailbone upward (coming off the floor 1-2 inches only) while hugging in at your lower core. Be sure to keep breathing!
  6. Return the tailbone to the floor without releasing the core.
  7. Now release the lower core.
  8. Repeat for a total of 8 times.

Learning to access your ballet core awakens power and grace in all your movements, helping you to feel stable and confident starting from the very center of your body. So the next time you need a little pick-me-up come home to your core!

Happy Dancing!

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