Accessing the Core

So, two or three years ago, I got the memo that I had no idea how to “access my core.”  Now that I write this out, it sort of has a nuclear reactor ring to it, doesn’t it?  At any rate, I had limped onto the physical therapist’s table, and she had asked me to engage my abs.  And I thought that I contracted my abs, if holding one’s breath counted as contracting one’s abs.  For whatever reason, I always thought the instruction to “suck in your belly” was just for show.  Apparently I’d been recruiting other core muscles further south (hi, psoas!) to do a lot of work that my abs were supposed to do.  Take my navasana, boat pose.  That was almost all hip flexors keeping me upright.  Whoops.   Anyway….at least I now knew why my yoga arm balances were — ah — not Yoga Journal-worthy!

I’m still not great at strengthening my core.  But, in the past, weak abs and also a weak gluteus medius plagued my running.  So, this summer and fall, I’m incorporating Pilates into my road race training regimen, in hopes of staving off future muscular imbalances.

I’ve always been intrigued by the Pilates apparatuses, but the idea of dropping in to a class full of people who already know how to use the torture devices was intimidating.  Mariska Breland, the innovator of Fuse Pilates in DC, has solved this issue by not only opening the Fuse Pilates studio this month, but also having a Meet the Machines class.  Aside from my mind just now doing a word association to Terminator: Rise of the Machines, I find that a “get acquainted to the apparatuses” class is brilliant.  By the way, Fuse Pilates is way more entertaining than vanilla Pilates.

I’m registered to Meet the Machines this weekend.  Wish me and my core muscles good luck!