How do we define center? Typically people will say, “the middle of something”. So what does it mean to “be centered”? One might say that being centered means not being high or low, mad or sad, right in the middle. And so if somebody can “be” centered, and we can define “center” as the middle of something, what would a muscle’s center look like? It would be somewhere between its long position (eccentrically loaded) or its short position (concentrically loaded).
Now why is any of this relevant? Well you see, everything in your body has a center, and I’m most interested in the center of your bones. I believe that it is our bones, that when misaligned, throw the rest of the skeletal structure “off” center. So every bone, therefor, every joint has a center. And our bones are influenced by our muscles’ contraction. If tissue shortens it will pull two bones towards each other, closing and opening, and if a muscle lengthens, it will move two bones away from each other, opening a closing.
CENTER OF GRAVITY
Okay, but why does this matter? It matters because if you think about where your center of mass is, (your entire bodyweight, which rests at approximately L3L4L5, the widest part of your spine) and then reflect that between your ankles, your you may or may not feel like your center of mass is efficiently positioned over your base of support. So now we have the conundrum, is my center of mass reflected directly above my center of gravity, and equally expressed to my base of support? The easiest way to do this is to close your eyes, sensate, and decide where you feel msot of the pressure in your feet.
The reason we want to understand our “center” is to better move into our unexplored areas. If we constantly choose to only train and move in our narrow base, than we may never truly find our way back to center. Once you start to understand where your pelvic, ribcage, and head is in space, it starts to navigate you to muscles that are either holding joints unnecessarily open, or jamming other joints shut. So for this reason it is crucial to pay attention to where we aren’t moving at all, or very well. This will teach us to over-ride our nervous system, and expand our comfort zone.
TRAINING: ARE YOU FINDING YOUR CENTER?
The more we can access, the more we can use, the more we can use, the more we can achieve. This line of thinking is useful when finding out edges, and by better defining our center. If we can start to bring awareness to our internal environment of where we are, and what our bones are doing, we can begin the journey towards healing and optimal movement. Somebody recently asked me what center is and I said, “taking unnecessary friction off of my joints. Removing stress from my body, slowing down and understanding, not necessarily do-ing. Loading my bones and muscles intentionally, and moving slowly and mindfully in directions I don’t visit often.” This is my way of finding center. And once you start to learn about your growing edges, your choices expand, all of a sudden you can go left, or you can go right, or maybe stay where you are.
Training has gotten away from this. All of the exercise fads, yoga, and extreme movement groups are not in my opinion expanding on this idea of getting the body back to homeostasis. They have the right idea, but it still isn’t enough. Being able to do one thing is great, but if you can’t do the exact opposite of that, then whats the point of still doing what you can already do? Imagine you could make a fist, but you couldn’t open your hand. Would you want to keep your fists or would you be interested in what could happen if your hand had the capcity to open? These are the kinds of questions I want you to ask yourself with whatever you currently do for health and ‘fitness’.
Does your training shine light on your walls and over-ride your comfort zone? Is your training taking you towards your center and leaving you feeling like you’re tapping into unepxlored potential?
Learn more about how to find your center by reaching out.