The Value of a Sweet and Spicy Core

I started to think about my offhanded video title “Sweet and Spicy Core” and what a confusing, nonsensical image that might be. Speaking linguistically, we throw the word “core” around to take on a broad range of meanings. The definition of “core” includes absolute, deep rooted, or in a complete or extreme way. Most often, the word core is added to make a statement stronger. In my definition, I believe having a sweet and spicy core can make you stronger physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually.

Your Physical Core

Physically, sweet and spicy has to do with the muscles that stabilize the spine. On a neuromuscular level, a sweet and spicy core gives us a muscle tone that feels comfortable when we are relaxing, while responsively anticipating our next move in the name of safety (and performance if you are a hard core athlete). In yogic terms, I wish your core to be Sthira (stable) and Sukha (comfortable).

The core is the place holder for many of the large postural muscles in the body. At their sweetest moments, they are not in a fight with gravity. The term muscle tone refers to the tension level in the muscles when at rest. Do muscles ever really rest? Maybe under anesthesia. The truth is, in a healthy nervous system, the core muscles should maintain a low level of muscle activity to keep your whole being safe. Think of the way your head will suddenly pop back up if you fall asleep in a chair. Even when a muscle is at rest, the muscle spindle is sending out clear messages for action potential; always protecting you. When muscle tension builds up, it is not tissue damage or the aging process. We have lost the sweetness. I hope your core is always sweet.

One of my core teachings is the requirement to have a responsive, spicy core. When we need more support, a kinesthetically balanced core intuitively turns up the heat for more stabilization. Think of the way the core muscles fire into action to keep you from falling if you slip on a wet stone, (yes, that happened to me yesterday and I cheered on my core for saving me from a painful fall). A little extra spice, particularly in the four deep core muscles (diaphragm, pelvic floor, transverse abdominis, and multifidus,) provides support for your whole body so that the other superficial, non-postural muscles that tend to be buggers don’t get over recruited and painful.

Your Mental/Emotional Core

The core is also a place holder in the mental/emotional body. We have the expression “shook me to my core”. This refers to a violation of your deep seated values or beliefs. Be sweet to yourself first and foremost, especially when dealing with unhealed wounds. You can even put them away and know that your unapologetic self compassion will gracefully serve it up when it is time to heal. If you are in a good place and the sweetness leaves an overflow, let it drip onto those around you. But please be a little spicy! Set boundaries with others, and don’t be surprised if they get hot headed when you hold to them. It is a reflection of who they are, not you. And remember there is justifiable anger. “Rotten to the core” may be used to describe someone or thing that causes moral outrage. Standing up to the mistreatment or witnessing the abuse of others can be the action of change. In this way, I hope you never lose the core of who you are.

Your Spiritual Core

Let’s finish with your innermost core. Energetically, the core is referred to as the Hara Line or Sushumna Nadi. This is the subtle body pipeline where prana, chi or life-force energy pass through connecting you to the earth and cosmos. I pray this conduit of life allows you to be a spiritual being (sweet!) as you continue on your human journey (spicy!).

Peace and Light,

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