It is very du jour to talk about strengthening your “core” these days. This “core” word is one of those Rolfing SI words that made it into the Common Knowledge totally trashed of its real meaning, probably through a misguided Pilates person.
The core as Ida Rolf described it, was sort of in the same neighborhood as the Common Knowledge misconception, in that IPR’s was a central part of the body. The Common Knowledge misconception talking of core is actually talking about the abdominal, side, hip flexor, and back muscles that surround the visceral space. The visceral space is the true core of the body, the core you can put your hands on, anyway.
Ida Rolf used the words Core and Line almost interchangeably sometimes. I think her idea of Core was more built in and structural, though functional, and it is movable, like a green willow stick; it has resilience. I think her idea of Line was more postural in that she often spoke of someone “being on their Line”.
Either Core or Line has length, and not forced length. There is grounding into the earth and there is lift into the sky. There is span, in other words, from top to bottom, or bottom to top if you prefer that.
IPR was very curious about what anatomical structures could account for the “core” as she developed the idea. She charged medical professionals who were also Rolfers™ to see if they could find and reveal any anatomical structures to account for the idea/revealment of Core. They couldn’t find anything.
However, in my experience, core is an observable functional part of the body, and accounts for the summation of forces that happens at that place in a structurally integrated body.
So, what do we Rolfers see? There is a place that is mostly in front of the spine, for the average person perhaps about as big in circumference as the hand. The bottom of the core is on the insides of the ankles, and provides an inner line which proceeds up through the pelvic floor, up through the front of the spine, and up at least to/through the roof of the mouth.
Integrated arms, legs, and head/neck do not impinge on this core when they do their work, although there is coordination between the arms, legs, and head/neck with the torso.
For an experience of the Rolfing SI core, try the following, which I adapted from an ancient meditation: *stand or sit comfortably, not slouching. *imagine that you can reach with your mind’s eye way way up into the sky and pull down some sparkles and energy from up there so that the energy circles down through your body to about 3 feet below it, and keeps reverberating through the center of your body and back around, down the front of the spine and the inside of the legs. *imagine that you can reach with your mind’s eye way way down into the earth and pull up some some sparkles and energy from down there so that the energy circles up through your body to about 3 feet above it, and keeps reverberating through the center of your body, up the inside of your legs and in front of the spine.
Keep both of them going. The two energies will circle around you and create an “egg shape” of energy. Keep your eyes open, relate to the world around you, and have the energy be on the cool side. (Of course, it is your energy, and you can have it be any color or temperature you want. I don’t happen to think heat is a great thing for the body.)
The energy you have tapped will cycle through together, about on the conception of the chakra system, in other words, through the visceral space, as well as the inside of the legs and head. If you feel the energy getting stuck a little somewhere in your body, wait until it runs on through, or even wait until the next time you try this.
This is a meditation, and done in that spirit it will reveal lift and grounding, and ease that comes from a revealed core. You could do this waiting in line for the checkout counter at the grocery store, since you are related to the outer world and the inner world in this meditation.
For more that I have written about energy work and Rolfing SI: http://rolfinggrace.com//2010/09/brugh-joy-and-ida-rolf-energy-work/
There is a Google reference with pictures at the bottom of that post. Please let me know if you have any fun (or don’t!) with this meditation…comments can be made below this post.