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KP Core Connection Classes - Exploring your Boundary

KP Core Connection Classes aim to teach you how to engage and strengthen your core and stabilising muscles, whilst improving your balance, proprioception and ability to move fluidly without holding on to tension where it's not necessary. During the class we will explore our boundaries and see if we can start to loosen the restrictions that stop us from moving freely without holding on to the stress response. The exercises are designed to make you more aware of how to use your core muscles correctly and to identify the moment in time when your primary movement muscles may start to take over or compensate for incorrect form. Each class you will learn how to connect with your core through postural stability exercises, static and dynamic balance training, as well as using different techniques to improve proprioception and kinaesthetic awareness.





Every exercise includes various steps to lead you closer to what I call your 'boundary point'. This is the point where you feel just on your limit, where you feel yourself on the edge between the stress response and recovery. The stress response causes a 'fight, flight or freeze' reaction as the body perceives danger. Your heart rate will increase and your muscles tense up. During the stress response your breathing rate may also speed up and become short sharp gasps leading from your upper chest. The stress response is there for a reason, to save your life! However when the stress response becomes chronic and your body forgets how to switch off the stress response when it's not necessary, then this can lead to serious health issues long term such as mental illness, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer, depression and anxiety disorders (1) It can also lead to muscle imbalances, pain (2) and can negatively effect dynamic and static balance (3)


During a Core Connection class the goal is to step into the stress response briefly, recognise how your body feels, before taking a step away from the stress response and teaching your body how to release tension under pressure whilst continuing the exercise. In time and with practice the goal is to expand your boundary point so that you feel the exercises becoming easier for you...so that you become stronger, steadier and more aware of your body in space but with a relaxed mind, body and breath control.


Every class is completely different and designed with specific instructions to help clients connect with their deeper core muscles, improve their stability and to challenge their proprioception and kinaesthetic awareness. There will be wobbles, plenty of laughter and breath awareness to keep the mind and body relaxed without fear of failure or judgement. You will feel tension, but you will also learn how to release the tension too. The exercises you learn in the class can also be used in your daily life if you experience chronic stress physically and mentally.


Here is some feedback from Sarah - Hi Kate I’ve done this class a couple of times now and I’m starting to feel a difference already.  The focus is on being aware of your body which is a technique that I can continue to practice outside the class as well as during the session. I like the way the class is targeted towards the core muscles and is a different take on the exercises from the other yoga and Pilates classes I have done in the past. Great if your looking to improve your core strength and/or want to do a slightly different style of class. I honestly am feeling the difference already!  I know I’m still wobbling when I try and move with my eyes closed but that is far better than just falling over the instant that I close them.



APRIL & MAY ONLINE CORE CONNECTION CLASS TIME TABLE


MONDAY - 8am (7am UK time)

WEDNESDAY - 8am (7am UK time)

FRIDAY - 8am (7am UK time)


~Classes are 5e or £5 per class

~ 1-1 or private classes available upon request 25 euros

~ 1-1 or private classes upon request 20 euros for 2 private classes weekly

~All classes are run through Zoom - Contact Kate for further details and to reserve your place.


MORE DETAILS ABOUT THE CLASSES HERE IF YOU HAVE TIME TO READ FURTHER -


The classes include exercises that address the following -




Most people are aware of their balance, it's a word used frequently to describe a distribution of weight that enables a person to stay upright and steady. As we age our balance can start to diminish and falling down as we may have done so as children playing in the park can become a serious health issue for some people. Research suggests that muscle helps support postural control and our increased risk of falling can be due to a loosely controlled centre of mass regulation (4). Core connection classes includes exercises to improve static and slow speed balance, reaction time and functional control.


PROPRIOCEPTION

Proprioception is the ability to move in space without thinking about where your body is in space. Proprioception is linked to our central nervous system. There's a continuous feedback loop from the nervous system enabling your body to work out where it is in space and where it may need to move to for whatever reason. There are proprioceptors in our joints, muscles and muscle fascia. For example if you slip and fall, your proprioception will hopefully react in time so that you can physically react to the situation and save yourself from a serious injury. Another example of proprioceptors are muscle spindles that communicate with the brain as to how much a muscle can stretch, as well as the golgi tendon organs that sense any change in muscle tension. Medical conditions and injuries can impair proprioception, as well as ageing and a sedentary lifestyle.


KINAESTHETIC AWARENESS

How you sense your body when it moves in space. It is the ability to be aware of how your muscles, tendons and joints move and work within a space. There are kinaesthetic muscle, tendon and joint receptors throughout your body that communicate with the brain the direction, shape and position of your body's movement. Dancers usually have very good kinaesthetic awareness and control of their body within a space as do many top athletes who don't need to think about the steps they need to make to perform the movement needed for the sport.


My Core Connection Classes also focus on the core muscles which act as stabilizing muscles -


Transverse Abdominus

This muscle is the deepest abdominal muscle. It is responsible for stabilizing the pelvis, supporting the lower back and activating the core before and during movement. It also helps with breathing. You can feel the transverse abdominus contracting when you breathe by taking a pause at the end of your exhalation and then drawing the belly button in towards your spine. Research has found that in healthy subjects the transverse abdominus would contract before any other part of the body; where as in subjects with lower back pain parts of the body moved before the transverse abdominus. Loss of motor control with the transverse abdominus could lead to instability of the spine and lower back pain (5).


Multifidis

A thin deep muscle located on either side of the spine that extends lengthwise down the spine. The Multifidis is responsible for stabilising the vertebra as the spine moves.

Diaphragm

The diaphragm attaches to the lower ribcage, thoracic wall and lumbar vertebrae. As you breathe the diaphragm contracts and pushes down into the abdominal cavity. The diaphragm works with the pelvic floor, abdominal and spinal muscles


Pelvic Floor muscles

The pelvic floor muscles give support to the organs that lie within it as well as stabilsing the stomach muscles and spine.

Fascia, Nerves, Joints also assist and resist movement


It's very important to learn how to contract your core stability muscles properly as it's not something many people do naturally. Also I see people rushing through exercises and using momentum to compensate for their lack of stability. If you're using speed to help you then you will be using the more powerful and dominant primary movement muscles to compensate rather than your core.

KP CORE CONNECTION CLASSES - WHAT MY CLASSES INVOLVE

Every class I will challenge your body and brain in a series of steps.


STEP 1 - I start at what I consider everybody's first step, understanding and drawing awareness to how to contract the core muscles so that you will actually benefit from doing core strengthening exercises. In some cases people don't actually know what it should feel like to contract the deeper supporting core muscles. So the first step is to develop awareness.

STEP 2 - I will then ask clients to be aware of different parts of their body and how their body feels when they breathe. I might ask clients to feel what their posture does when they breathe before drawing their awareness to their head, neck and shoulders as an example. So the first 2 steps begin with a simple connection between body, thought and feeling.


STEPS 3-4-5.... I then build on from the initial 2 steps. For example I may ask the class to lift their right heel and place their toes on the ground whilst lifting the left hand up towards the ceiling. I then ask for eyes to be closed whilst maintaining their position without tension or wobbles. This may be as far as some people reach in the moment or they may start testing their balance and proprioception further by lifting the right knee up so it is in line with right hip. I then ask them to make sure their leg is in a 90 degree angle, with knee in line with the ankle. I may add on if people are comfortable with this exercise or I may take half a step back for those who are finding their balance difficult...for example ask them to lower their foot back down to the ground and try again with their eyes open. How I instruct the class depends on how the class as individuals react to each step. I will always offer progression options, but also keep an eye on individuals to make sure they're not cheating themselves by performing the moves incorrectly.


EXAMPLE 2

I may ask the class to prepare for a bird-dog pose with fingers and toes on the ground. I may then add on and ask the class to place the centre of the palm of their hand on their belly button. I ask student to be precise and not to look at what they're doing but to feel for where their hand needs to be whilst feeling for any change in the rest of their body. I may move into bird-dog with a straight arm and leg extended and lengthening before asking the class to slowly place their hand and knee on the mat at exactly the same time without losing balance, without stopping, keeping the movement smooth, without changing the rhythm of breath etc and then try it with their eyes closed. This is just one example I used today in my class...there are different modifications and instructions I can give individuals to keep their brain and body reactive to the new information. I will keep challenging the class until everyone has reached what I call their boundary point for that exercise. The idea is to be connected with your boundary point, know where it is and challenge it without spending too much time in the fight or flight response. In regards to these exercises the fight response occurs when a person holds them self in a position with so much tension that it can lead to acute pain and shallow breathing. The flight response in this exercise is when the body quickly moves away from what you're asking it to do or tries to use momentum to cheat the exercise. Everyone is different so I do give individual instruction, but more importantly ask people to decide for themselves where their boundary is in each moment. I want people to recognise when and where they are holding on to chronic tension. I do this to help people be more in tune with what their bodies are doing, how their bodies are reacting and feeling so they can hopefully take what they learn from the classes into daily life.


EXAMPLE 3


I will ask the class to move into a high lunge position. I will ask everyone to look where their feet are and point out where their body should aim to be when performing a lunge. I will then ask the class to move back to their standing position. I will then instruct the class to close their eyes whilst they move back to their high lunge position, but this time to feel where their body should be in space...I will give verbal cues based on feel, such as I want you to feel the edges of your feet touching as you stand straight or feel where your hip bones are as you step back into a high lunge. I will give teaching cues so that individuals can determine whether they need to correct their position. This may be as far as your boundary allows you to go at this moment in time and that's a great first step, because you recognise where your boundary is. For those who can take it to another step, then I may ask for the same exercise but this time with arms in a different position, for example arms extended and hands shoulder height. Then again with eyes closed moving from a standing position to a high lunge and then to lift hands to shoulder height, making sure fingers tips are in line with opposite finger tips. I can keep instructing new levels, such as moving from lunge to a Warrior 3 posture and then back to lunge where I will ask you to control the movement without gravity taking control and forcing you down to the ground with a thud.


These are just a few examples of many...


All levels are catered for in KP Core Connection Classes. If you have any questions please let me know - kate@kpcoreconnection.com


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