I see many clients who have pain in their low back. A contributing factor to low back pain arises when people do not engage their transversus abdominus muscle, or if that muscle is weak.
The New Rules of Posture by Mary Bond has a chapter about how your core muscles support the spine. She describes two different sets of core muscles that she calls corsets. The inner corset, including the transversus abdominus, provides support to the spine. That is why it is a major player in low back issues.
The transversus abdominus is located across the lower part of the front of the torso, under the obliques (Image from Brent Brook Bush). Can you engage and feel this muscle? This video will help you.
Once you know where the transversus abdominus is, you can work on engaging it. Try to find it while standing – perhaps when doing the dishes – and when walking.
To strengthen your transversus abdominus, try this exercise called Pointer Pose or Flying Table. For more instructions on doing this exercise most effectively, visit the Yoga Trinity Pointer Dog page.
The other corset of core muscles consists of the superficial, outer muscle layer. The outer core muscles are used for strength and movement, such as when we do The Hundred exercise in Pilates.