How to Unlock the Potential of
the Body’s Five Power Centers
When we have a physical issue, we understandably focus on the area that’s causing us pain. But just as understandably, this doesn’t always fix the problem. Body-alignment specialist Lauren Roxburgh has a more holistic approach: She believes that the pelvic floor is the foundation of our physical and emotional health and is the key to our overall well-being.
In her new book, The Power Source, Roxburgh turns her attention to the pelvic floor and how it relates to other areas of the body—what she calls power centers. She identifies five power centers—the pelvic floor, the deep core, the upper core, the heart and shoulders, and the head—and explores how the pelvic floor impacts each. In her practice, Roxburgh helps clients understand which areas are unbalanced and they often work through them using her body sphere: a soft, malleable ball designed for sensitive areas (you can inflate it to your desired firmness). The goal, explains Roxburgh, is cultivating strength from the pelvic floor up for a more balanced and connected body. The exercises and photos below are adapted from The Power Source, out next month. Preorder before May 13 and get access to one month of Roxburgh’s virtual Aligned Life Studio—for free.
P.S. Roxburgh will be at our next In goop Health wellness summit in Los Angeles on May 18. She’s teaching a couple classes with her body sphere and showing us new moves from her book. And she’s joining our chief content officer Elise Loehnen and energy healer John Amaral for a chat on stage, where they’ll share tools for deepening your connection with yourself. In other words: Don’t miss seeing Roxburgh live.
The Power Centers
The Pelvic Floor: The Awakening Superpower
Think of the pelvic floor like a hammock—it’s a layer of muscles that are attached to the pubic bone, tailbone, and sitz bones. It serves as the base for our deep core, inner thighs, and hips, and it has the important function of supporting our organs. According to Roxburgh, we lose connection to it not only as a result of childbirth but also from sitting too much, subconsciously holding in stress, and living in a constant state of fight-or-flight. Building back strength in this area requires mindful releasing: A tight pelvic floor is not a good thing. Instead, says Roxburgh, you should be able to relax and unclench the pelvic floor to create a deeper sense of strength and connection in this power center.
1. Come to a sitting position with the body sphere underneath you.
2. Bend your left knee so that your heel is up against the ball and extend your right leg out to the side.
3. Reach your left arm up and inhale as you feel your pelvis drop down into the ball.
4. Exhale as you side bend into your right leg, sliding your right hand along your right shin.
5. Inhale as you come up. Repeat eight to ten times on each side.
If you’re feeling tense, place your feet on the ground and focus on your pinkie toe, big toe, and heel—or as Roxburgh likes to call it, “the tripod.” Concentrate on the ground and how it supports you. Be present in the moment and repeat “I am safe” three times.
The Deep Core: The Sensuality Superpower
Located around the belly, your deep core includes the psoas that’s attached from behind the organs, the front of the spine, and under the diaphragm. It runs through the hips into the groin, and if your psoas is tight, says Roxburgh, so are your organs and pelvis. This affects your gut and your waist, even how you walk and how you stand. When this power center is balanced, says Roxburgh, you’ll notice flexible hips and long, graceful steps.
1. Place the body sphere under your upper belly as you’re lying facedown and resting on your forearms.
2. Inhale as you roll down your core to your pubic bone.
3. Exhale as your roll back up to your upper belly. Repeat eight times.
To wring out your deep belly, plant your feet on the ground and twist your body from side to side, allowing your arms to swing (as children do) and your head to turn. Roxburgh says this also helps release
The Upper Core: The Confidence Superpower
Being able to breathe deeply requires a connection to our upper core, says Roxburgh, and better breathing can calm us down and helps release tension. Roxburgh calls this area the confidence superpower because these are the muscles we feel when we laugh and the same ones we use to stand up straight. The upper core supports our spine, diaphragm, and lungs at the center of our body in the upper abdomen. When Roxburgh sees clients with issues like lack of energy and difficulty breathing, she does a combination of breathwork and movement medicine focused around the diaphragm.
1. Lie down on the floor with the sphere underneath your upper middle back.
2. Extend your legs long, open your heart, and extend your arms behind you.
3. Inhale and feel your lungs expand.
4. Exhale as you release tension and let the ball sink into your tissue.
5. Take ten long, deep breaths in this position.
Place your knuckles underneath your chin. Inhale deeply while lifting your elbows up toward your ears and exhale as you lower them back down.
The Heart and Shoulders: The Love Superpower
If you ever feel like you’re carrying the weight of the world, Roxburgh would say that’s because this power center needs attention. It’s the area around the upper rib cage up to the base of the neck and includes the shoulders, chest, collarbones, upper back, and heart area. The heart and shoulders become unbalanced because of the way we physically hold ourselves, and Roxburgh explains that heartbreak, stress, or jealousy can cause this area to tense up in fight-or-flight mode and become chronically tight.
1. Lie facedown on the mat and place the body sphere underneath your breastbone.
2. Place your hands on the ground with your thumbs lined underneath your armpits and elbows reaching back.
3. Inhale as you extend your spine, lift your heart, and open your chest.
4. Exhale as your round down and let the ball roll up through the heart and chest area. Repeat eight times.
Allow your arms to hang down while you plant your feet into the ground. Imagine you have weights on your elbows that are bringing down your shoulders so they’re not scrunched up by your neck. Relax your shoulder blades downward. Inhale as you draw your shoulder blades up, exhale as you roll them down. Do ten rounds of breath and end by shaking your arms out to release any remaining tension.
The Head: The Connection Superpower
The head power center includes the face, scalp, neck, and jaw. When this area becomes unbalanced, Roxburgh says, her clients often experience issues like tech neck from spending hours looking down at their phones or computer screens. Sitting is also a problem for this area—too much of it leads to compression and weakening of the neck muscles that are necessary to hold the head up over the spine.
1. Lie faceup on a mat and place the ball under the base of your skull.
2. Place your arms at your side with your palms up.
3. Inhale to fill up your lungs and lift your hips while tucking your chin down.
4. Exhale as your lower down. Repeat eight times.
While standing or sitting, let your arms hang down. Tilt your head to the right and inhale. Exhale as you bring your head farther to the right. Inhale as you bring your head to the center and exhale as it circles to the right and all the way around. Repeat the circle, this time letting your jaw come forward into an underbite as you tilt to the right. Bring your jaw back as you reach the center, and underbite again as your turn your head to
Lauren Roxburgh is a body-alignment, fascia, and movement specialist with a private practice based in LA. She is the author of Taller, Slimmer, Younger and The Power Source.
This article is for informational purposes only, even if and to the extent that it features the advice of physicians and medical practitioners. This article is not, nor is it intended to be, a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment and should never be relied upon for specific medical advice. The views expressed in this article are the views of the expert and do not necessarily represent the views of goop.