Emily Athena | Functional Core Strength
Holistic core work
Core, holistic, core strength, core function, gut brain, connect to your core
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What is a Core for?


I recently taught a workshop called Deep Core Consciousness. In preparation, I immersed myself into the study of the second brain, aka the gut, in order to understand this region of the body better. I read a lot of science filled articles, some barely understandable, and what I came away with was a renewed reverence for the center of our being. I’ll drop some science, then I’ll muse….

  • The second brain contains some 100 million neurons, more than in either the spinal cord or the peripheral nervous system.

  • About 90 percent of the fibers in the primary visceral nerve, the vagus, carry information from the gut to the brain and not the other way around.

  • The enteric nervous system (branch of the autonomic nervous system that governs the gut) uses more than 30 neurotransmitters, just like the brain, and in fact 95 percent of the body’s serotonin is found in the bowels.

  • 70% of immune function happens in the gut.


As someone who has given up on the idea of separateness and instead embraced the holistic perspective for well, everything, the way I approach ‘core work’ has radically changed. A strong core is meaningless without integration. Gaining core strength solely for strengths sake is just another way to separate and have power over. A functional and integrated core is one that allows us to feel our intuitive signals and gracefully traverse all that life brings our way.


Crunches do not equal core strength.


The relationship of alignment, breath, and engagement of the deep core network creates a stability in the center of the body that supports the mobility of our ever changing lives. And, it’s not all about the core….If you want better stability, grounding, and balance, the secret is in the feet…..But that’s a whole other blog…..


And now for the musing….


What is a core for?


Our core is our compass. It lets us know our yes and our no. It stiffens with danger and softens with safety.


It is the link between the ground below us and the sky above. The center of our being. The truck of our tree. It keeps us together and allows us to move through life with a sense of strength, autonomy, and purpose.


Our core fights infections and keeps us healthy. It sends signals to our brain letting it know how we are doing.


It allows us to take in a full inhale and release a full exhale. It keeps our organs snuggled together in their proper places.


It supports our spine and accommodates the growth of new life. It is the place from which all life begins. The vast mysteries of the deep, beyond rational knowing. Our connection to source. Round, supple, strong earth…..round, supple, strong belly.  


From my belly to yours,



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