One of the distinguishing features of Forrest Yoga is the attention paid to abdominal work and core activation at the start of every session. From the beginning of my time with Forrest, I would struggle through and that asked me to engage in ways very different to my habituated navasana knowledge.
Nursing a back injury at the minute, from a non-yoga related accident, I have been tested and prodded to establish what is going on with my lower back. Initially, they thought that I needed to mobilise my lower spine more and I began to question the efficacy of the cue, press lower back down. The lower vertebra were unable to flex as they should and my back was seizing up, relying on my flexibility in the hips to purchase the mobility required.
Another spasm later, back at the Physio, we look at my core activation. Now, I know where the muscles are and what they do and what the ought to do, but when I was able to see real-time what was happening via ultrasound, it blew my mind! I was able to see a cross-section through my obliques down to the transverse abdominals.
On the action of pull belly down, the TA recruited well and the obliques followed suit. First TA, then IO and EO. It was great to see! On the cross-section at pubic bone, I was able to see the contraction and release in perfect symmetry in the pelvic floor. The Physio said that the activation was more successful than people who do Pilates for a living, that Forrest abs were doing something’s wonderful. This just needs one be balanced with greater mobilisation for the lower spine.
So, with that in mind, I am back to doing my Forrest abdominals and spending more time exploring for dark spots in my lower back and ways of moving that break up the habits I have formed there.