Sacral Chakra and Diastasis Recti

I am taking quite a turn this week as I am open to the tradition of chakra studies from the yoga communities.

It really opened to my thought process while listening to The Energy Codes by Dr. Sue Morter. If you know there is much more to us than we appear as a body, join in this discussion with me, and check out this amazing book.

What are chakras?

The chakras are energy zones internally that apply to our overall spiritual being. What I know so far is that there is a flow to each chakra and when there is a block or energy stop, we suffer.

image credit Hands on Health Sheffield

Take note of the sacral chakra and the message: “I FEEL.”

This struck me particularly because when I was struggling with Diastasis Recti and other core issues, including Caesarians and later a debilitating surgery, I struggled to FEEL. I struggled to FEEL in all aspects, not just physically feeling. I felt disengaged. I felt absent from myself. I felt apart from that which I love and care so much about.

When I am working with women (and men) who are struggling with Diastasis Recti, in the beginning, I often see a look of bewilderment. “I can’t FEEL that,” they will say as I start talking about deep core engagement. “Where is that? What is that? I don’t FEEL anything down there.” This also applies to their pelvic floor, which is also right around that energy center.

I am not a therapist and we don’t necessarily go into other relationships in their lives, but in SELF relationship, I also often find in my clients a disconnect from self love, self appreciation, and self awareness. I have explained before that this strange disconnect seems to be linked to an internal trauma, where women sometimes don’t recognize the body they are currently in, perhaps due to a major body shift, like a pregnancy.

image credit: https://chloeleightonbulleid.com/blog/2018/1/9/chakras-for-beginners-the-sacral-chakra

The above list is amazing to me, because of course there are symptoms in the sacral chakra physical area, like abdominal and back pain, but also the tendencies of low self esteem, jealousy, fear, and insecurity! I find many of these symptoms and emotional issues exist in women (and men) struggling with Diastasis Recti. Again, I have attributed that to the trauma their bodies or brains dealt with, but on a more cosmic and spiritual level, it’s all circular. The energy affects the symptom and the symptom affects the energy.

One thing I have learned from “The Energy Codes” is that actually, the “fracture” starts from the energy and then manifests in the body. So, while I have always thought of trauma happening internally and then exuding through the energy field, it seems the energy field knows the trauma first and then creates a manifestation on the inside, which then continues a block of body and spirit.

I am new to this and I have a lot to learn. I have a lot to research. But isn’t it fascinating?

What major “AHA” just occurred to you? Have you ever felt these emotions? Have you ever related it to your injury? Are you working on progressing through both your body AND spiritual journey? How is it going?

Is it Hernia, Diastasis Recti, or Both?

Let’s talk about what you actually have, especially because these categories are often confused and mis-diagnosed.

image: male with umbilical hernia

image: female with Diastasis Recti and umbilical hernia.

Diastasis Recti is the division of the rectus abdominis, in any vertical space along the muscle. It may or may not be accompanied by an umbilical hernia.

Umbilical hernia is a protrusion of a piece of the umbilical cord between the halves of the rectus abdominis.

Many times, they go together, but it’s valuable to know which one you have, or both.

Check for Diastasis Recti:

While you are doing an exam for Diastasis Recti, you may feel the protrusion of the umbilical hernia. That’s something to take note of.

If you want to take it further, ask for an ultrasound to see where the soft tissue is, and whether a hernia exists.

What to do next:

Regardless of whether there is a hernia involved, start right away on Diastasis Recti recovery practices. Please note: you cannot exercise out a hernia. If there is a hernia involved, you should talk to a professional about whether or not a hernia repair (surgical) is necessary or would help you.

Sometimes, a hernia can really get in the way of a fully functional core, and may affect other areas of organ function. Sometimes, once the diastasis is recovered, the hernia is a non-issue and can just exist without hindering core function.

It’s a very personal decision. But please know that a hernia repair is NOT a Diastasis repair. They are 2 separate surgeries, and 2 very different outcomes. Don’t let a surgeon or doctor meld the two and pretend a full abdominoplasty is your only choice. You CAN work on the Diastasis non-surgically and opt for a hernia repair.

As always, be an advocate for your own body and your own well-being.

 

Pain in the Neck

Do you have neck pain? Back pain? Shooting arm pain? Take a look at how you hold your head.

  1. Alignment always comes first
  2. strengthen your neck muscles

Here’s help

Working on the head and neck placement and strength has a lot to do with how your back and overall core feel, as well.

What Exercises Help with Diastasis Recti?

So…. let’s cut to the chase.

What exercises REALLY help with Diastasis Recti?

Remember that Diastasis Recti is the division of the rectus abdominis down the vertical center, along the linea alba. More on that HERE.

So… you want to bring the muscle pieces back together, and there is a lot of NOISE out there on what you should and shouldn’t be doing.

Some places will say “do this one exercise 10 minutes a day for a month and you will be completely recovered.”

This is a very irresponsible statement, as nothing is guaranteed and every body is different. Besides the fact that it doesn’t address form and function of this “miracle exercise.

Some places will tell you to just do tough ab work and the muscles will strengthen and therefore come together.

Also misleading, as most “hard core” exercises drive the muscle fibers further apart.

So what do you do and who do you believe?

Here’s what we teach here at CarrieFit and within The ABC Method, which is what we teach to trainers and coaches.

The foundation of your house is ABC. Anything not in ABC will not do you any favors, and in fact will hurt your progress. So, every movement, position, posture, and direction will include Alignment, Breathing, and Core Engagement.

Then with that, we have a short list of modifications when you are starting out, just so we can take the time to focus in on the important stuff…. The ABC’s.

  • when lying on your back, keep your head and shoulders on the floor.
  • keep one leg or foot on the ground in lying, sitting, or standing positions.
  • keep at least one knee down in every kind of plank
  • limit twists to absolute abdominal control (at first, we usually don’t twist from the center until we learn the function)
  • no weights, pulling, or pushing, above the shoulder line, especially no pull downs or pull ups.

The, you learn the methods and go into the “next steps” protocol, where you learn where your specific modifications and your exercises should be.

For clients, head over HERE to learn more

For trainers, head over HERE and let’s talk about The ABC Method for your clients.

Help for Sway Back

Have you been told you have sway back? Lorosis? I’ve never met anyone with “sway back” that didn’t have an anterior pelvic tilt and a shortened psoas. Check out this video on why that matters and what to do next:

Check out your alignment and see if this is the issue. If you are working on correcting your Diastasis Recti, let’s work on alignment issues!

If you’re not part of this group yet, make sure to join us in the conversation: https://www.facebook.com/groups/carriefitdiastasisrecti

Should I Wear a Waist Trainer or Girdle for Diastasis Recti?

Waist Trainers and Girdles, like these:

Have a long history of causing problems in women’s bodies, such as:

  • passing out from difficulty breathing
  • pelvic floor prolapse
  • hernia

These super-squeezers do not “train” the waist at all. They don’t teach core engagement or help with actual healing of any muscle or tissue.

What they do is cause more problems with a temporary appearance of a smaller waist.

On the other hand, sometimes, we need a little support while we are working to heal. Sometimes, in moving, working out, or in core recovery, we need a reminder to engage and a little lift so that our muscles don’t feel lax.

That helper would be a splint. This is the one I recommend:

This splint is available through Recore HERE.

When putting it on, just make sure to fasten it to the point of support, not pressure.

And keep working on your ABC’s throughout!

 

Should I Do Cardio with Diastasis Recti?

Should I do cardio with Diastasis Recti?

How do I approach cardio training?

Simply put, cardiovascular exercise is important to your health. There are just a few things I want you to consider when approaching your cardio exercise if there is a Diastasis or core function issue.

  1. We always start with ABC (TM)
  2. How does this cardio feel?
  3. What should I adjust to maximize results?

So, first of all, in all positions, postures, and movements, we start with ABC. We adjust all things to fit into our ABC’s, whatever that is today.

In other words, if we are struggling to get into good alignment from standing still, how does that change when I am moving? Can I fix the position and how?

Can I perform correct breathing while doing this cardio exercise?

Can I perform this cardio exercise with proper core engagement?

If any piece of The ABC’s is out of place, we have a functional, foundational problem and we have to adjust and start again.

Sometimes, that means moving to low impact rather than high. Sometimes, it means changing the movement altogether. Sometimes, it means spending some more practice time in The ABC’s.

If you’re struggling with your cardio and Diastasis, just go back to the beginning. Refer to the book or the course and reset your ABC’s.

You WILL get back out there. Safely.

New Collections on Moxie

NEW! Collections on Moxie.xyz/carrie

I’ve been asked about FIRST WORKOUTS and HOW TO PROGRESS, so I made you some collections on my moxie site!

The collection “YOUR FIRST 10” is for you when you’re first “released to exercise” by your doctor or therapist, after pregnancy, injury, or surgery. This is perfect for those first core activation workouts.

The collection “PRACTICING PROGRESSIONS” is for when you are working through recovery, with the book or the course, and you go into the “exit protocol” or “next steps protocol,” and you’re ready to work toward progressing your core exercises. Use this mindfully!

Both collections are part of my overall page, which includes 2 fresh workouts every week and a whole lot of past workouts! You get all of this as a subscriber!

Join now!

What would you like me to include on my next workout?

Why Should Trainers be Concerned with Diastasis Recti?

Answering:

  • “I’m not a postpartum specialist. Why should I worry about clients with Diastasis Recti?”
  • “How come I’ve never had a client with Diastasis Recti?”
  • “I just wait for the doctor’s note, They will tell their patients what to do.”
  • “I can’t do anything anyway, right?”

Trainer or fitness professional, we need to talk.

This IS your business, and your role is what’s best for your client.

Take a look at the graphic above. These are GROSS underestimates of the Diastasis Recti and core issue, because they are highly under-reported, under-diagnosed, and under-treated. In western medicine, Diastasis Recti is not part of any check up ever, including and particular to the postpartum check-up, and as you can see, chances of her having Diastasis Recti post pregnancy are very high.

A client may get answers if she asks. Many times, it takes persistence and more than one office visit.

Even so, western physicians often do not offer solutions.

We are working to change that and be a referral partner, but many physicians are not open to it or default to their own specialty rather than considering referrals.

This is changing and I have met several western medicine doctors who see the problem and want to be part of the solution.

YOU can help by being an advocate. Tell your client to be an advocate for herself, too, and to continue to seek solutions.

YOU can be one of the solutions.

As you can see, Diastasis Recti is also not just for new moms. Moms can continue to struggle with Diastasis Recti for months or YEARS (sometimes they find me when they are grandmothers), and many have never gotten help or a solution. Many have been told that they are “just fat” or “just weak.”

Can you see how this type of dismissal can lead women (and men) down the wrong path?

Men are struggling, too, and not getting much help if any. Many of them will try “hard core” workouts, become distressed, and find me after doing further damage to the situation.

So, if you’re wondering why you’re not seeing Diastasis Recti in your clients or participants, you’re simply not attuned to some of the signs.

  • protruding abdomen
  • complaint of “weak” core
  • back pain
  • digestive / continence issues
  • the obvious space in the rectus abominis wall.

If you’ll take the time, you’ll probably find, as I did when I decided to check every client, that the degree and level of injury is widespread and deserves our attention.

I recommend not waiting for an official diagnosis, because anything official is rare. Empower the client to perform a self examination and journal for you what she feels in her abdominal walls.

Importantly, don’t give up on this client. You will need to do things differently, such as modify workouts and use a specific protocol like The ABC Method to help her. You will need information. You will need a referral list (physical therapists, chiropractors, and holistic doctors are good to have as partners).

If you agree to become a learner by her side and help her through this, imagine the long term effects that has on her life and on you as an ever-evolving professional.

The ABC Method can help, and you can learn this method directly with me. Our clients deserve better answers. That’s up to us.