Good-Bye Pouch Belly

My first surgical birth…My first Days in Hospital….So much of horrifying machines around. The doctors there suggested me to walk only on the 3rd day. And when I got up oh my gosh…I just couldn’t get up in one go. So helpless….and then another 40 days to recover. Now let’s come to the second time, the doctors asked me to get up the same day, wow that was way better than the previous one. Maybe because I was aware of all the process. Not at all frightening, in fact walking on the first day gave me more strength. But yes both of the surgeries, the incisions were there. 6-7 incisions are made throughout the process. Although they don’t cut the abdomen muscles, it is the fascia which connects them which thereby results in nerve damage, loss of blood supply and the damage to the Muscle itself. Damage to the abdomen muscle makes it very weak. Retraining of these muscles was a challenge for me as I delayed getting into it soon after 8 weeks of my delivery.  

A pouch belly is the gift to the c-sectioned mother’s received from the operation theatre. Why is it important get it back the strength from core? AS soon the back pain arises which is the result of the weight gain and weak core. The belly prevent our abdominal organs to work properly. The contraction of the abdomen muscles compresses the abdominal organs and provides additional support to the lumbar spine, protecting the muscles around the lumbar spine. Thus mother’s need to strength their core and support the spine allowing them to play with their kids and enjoy.

Coming to yoga, working on the core muscles improves almost every asana. They provide balance, stability and mobility in our asana practice. Core is a group of muscles that works in combination, which provide support to spine and pelvis. This support enables us to lift our body parts. This core strengthening muscle group consists of the following muscles:-

  • Rectus Abdominis – This the flat muscle that runs vertically on the ventral surface of the torso from the middle of rib cage to the pubic bone. This is the first of the layers of abdominal muscle responsible for the support and movement of the spine. Contracting this muscle flexes the trunk forward. Contraction of this muscle draws the trunk forward and compressing the trunk forward deepens the forward bends. If the insertion is fixed, contraction of the RA lifts the pelvis as in Uttanasana and Tolasana.
  • External and Internal Oblique – These are sheet-like muscles located on the lateral side of the abdominal region of body. The oblique’s originate from the lower ribs and insert down at the front pelvis. Contraction of the internal oblique draws opposite shoulder forward and bends the trunk laterally. Contracting of the external oblique brings the same side shoulder forward ad when combined with other side internal oblique contraction, it makes the twists in asana much more intense. All the twisting poses puts both the oblique’s to work. That’s why we require the oblique strength in the twisting asana’s like the Parivrita Trikonasana, Marichyasana etc.
  • Transverse Abdominis – This the deepest of the abdominal muscles. It wraps around the abdomen horizontally originating on he iliac crest and inserting on the lower costal cartilages. Contracting the TA compresses the abdomen and tones the abdominal organs as well. Awakening of this muscle can be done in Navasana and worked out in Uddiyana Bandha and Nauli (stimulates the digestive fire.)
  • Posas – One of the major hip flexor which connects the torso to the leg. It originates on the outside of lumbar spine, comes forward across the pelvis and inserts to the femur. Contraction of posas pulls thigh and torso towards each other. Posas works together with the abdominal muscles to stabilize in many poses.

Navasana includes these muscles and helps to work on the core strengthening.  Posas bear the pressure in this pose, the higher the legs and the more vertical the torso more of posas is working. Next in line after posas comes the abdominal muscles firing in this pose, Transverse Abdominis doing maximum for drawing the navel towards the spine. The abductor group muscles are engaged to keep the inner thigh squeezed together. And the last but not the least ‘The Erector Spine’ Group are engaged to help keep the torso upright.

So all the c-sectioned mother’s gear up and let’s make our core strong.


Surbhi Mathur (200hr Weekend, Apr-June 2017)   

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