My body is my greatest communicator. It is also who I tell to back off and stop talking the most (sorry, girlfriend!).
Our bodies are constantly reeling us in and trying to let us know what we are lacking or what we are overusing. Sometimes it just feels like nagging. Like that pain in your neck that will not stop screaming every time you turn your head. Or that blasted knee pain that feels the need to scream with every pound on the pavement.
But without it, we would be lost. Unfortunately, not everybody listens to her body and, even more unfortunate, most of us squash the messages quicker than they come in.
Did you know that balanced lower body strength is actually a sign of balanced core energy?
Yep, it’s an energy thing!
Our physical body is a direct communicator of our energy and what is going on inside ourselves. The body is quite complex with complex issues – exercise (aka body movement) does not fix everything. Your issues could be related to mental, emotional, hormonal, or nutritional imbalances, just to name a few.
But, body movement is a foundational piece and it is typically an appropriate place for most people to begin.
Does this sound familiar?
- You have constipation, bloating, or digestive issues?
- You have chronic back pain or back problems?
- You are quick to lower body injuries?
- You often feel restless?
- You feel quick to become angry or aggressive?
- You easily gain weight or deal with eating disorders?
- You deal with sexual dysfunction?
- You feel unstable and can easily be knocked off balance?
When I slack on my workouts or I become obsessed with a restrictive way of training, I quickly notice how my body starts to communicate more; My knees and back hurt (bummer), I feel a restless energy (that’s only satisfied by movement), I have more digestive problems (serious bummer), I start to lose interest in any kind of intimacy (not good for anyone), and I get super irritated quickly (really not good for anyone).
But when I reintroduce my foundational lower body exercises to balance out that energy and build strength to support my demanding days, I start to feel better!
Movement therapy for the lower body
These exercise focus on activity that is grounding and forces you to put pressure into the Earth. This is super important. It isn’t just about weight-bearing exercises, it is also about creating pressure into the ground.
I also focus specifically on balance – super helpful because it increases proprioception, awareness, and stability.The key is being aware of your movements and your position in space.
These exercises create deep balance for your energy, core, and lower body and should be supplemental to other lower body strengthening exercises. Here are some of my favorites (and ones that I use)!
Standing tall and erect, shift your weight onto your right foot so that you are doing a single leg stand. Draw your left foot up and place the sole against the inner right thigh, if possible, press the right heel into the inner left groin, toes pointing toward the floor. The center of your pelvis should be directly over the right foot. Press arms up and overhead with palms facing each other and drawing body as tall as you can. Hold this for 10-30 seconds, depending on ability. Change legs.
Squat with floorboard push aparts
Stand upright with your feet shoulder width apart. Allow your tailbone to extend downwards. Lightly, flex and straighten your knees to warm your legs up. After a few repetitions, your legs should be warmed up. Next, slowly lower into a squatting position with your hips pressed back and your knees behind toes. As you lower down, lift both arms upward and overhead. Hold for 5-10 seconds. As you return to standing, take both feet and press down and out into the floor, like you are trying to push the floorboards apart. Do NOT straighten knees completely. This stops the flow of energy. Do this 5-10 times.
Lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor. Raise your hips off the floor so that your body forms a straight line from your shoulders to your knees. Pause at the top for 5 seconds then slowly lower your body back to the floor. Perform 10 times.
Lying on the floor, straighten your right leg completely. Bend your left knee towards your chest and take a strap, putting it around the arch of your left foot. Extend your left foot towards the ceiling with your foot flexed towards you. Take the strap and slide it side to side on your foot, feeling the warmth stimulate the sole of the foot. Inhale. Exhale as you push your foot into the strap and towards the ceiling, straightening it as straight as you can. Pause. Inhale as your bend your left knee back towards your chest. Perform this 5-10 times on each side. If your leg begins to tremble, that is the energy flowing and opening up. This is a good thing!
Single leg squats
Shift weight to right leg and balance on the right leg while left leg is extended slightly forward. Squat down until you have about a 45 degree knee bend, all while keeping the left leg elevated off the floor. Keep back straight and right knee aligned with right toe. Hold for 5 seconds. Slowly raise back to start position, Perform 5-10 on each leg.
Wide leg forward bend
Stand with your legs shoulder-width apart and arms at side. Place your feet three to four feet apart depending on your height (taller people should take a wider stance) and rest your hands on your hips. Turn your toes parallel with each other. Engage your core muscles and lean forward as you exhale. Once your torso is about parallel to the floor, extend your arms straight and press your fingertips into the floor directly below your shoulders for support. Fingertips should be pointing forward. Push your pelvis upward and with support from your arms, slowly lower your torso to the floor. If you can bend far enough that your forearms can rest on the floor and the crown of your head can touch, that is even better! Hold for 10-15 seconds and return to start. Perform 5 times.
Getting out for a good walk is one of the most basic, healing, energy supporting exercises you can do. Not only are you strengthening the lower body, but you are also strengthening the core, improving your balance, and increasing your overall energy levels. It doesn’t matter how far you can walk or how fast you can go, just get moving!
What can you focus on to create more energy, balance, and strength? Tell me in the comments below!
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