Engage Your Core
As a new yogi I did not understand why just about every pose mentions your core. When I first began my physical practice I wanted to focus on strengthening. Weights are perfect for strengthening, so I thought! I focused on using weights to strengthen my arms so I could do things like a headstand or chataranga.
My focus was strong but my arms was a different story. When I tell you my chatagrange was bad, it was bad. It wasn't until I began studying and really listening versus hearing my instructors when I realized, it is all about the core. Think about it. During practice you are constantly instructed to engage your core, pull your belly button into your spine and to lift up out of your hips! It is core centered for a good reason. The core stabilizes your entire body both in your physical yoga practice and in your life. Have you wondered how a woman can walk on the skinniest high heel and look like she is floating on air? It’s her core!
Outside of looking amazing in your heels building core strength is really good for you. A strong core allows you to:
- Hold poses longer
- Improve your posture
- Get rid of lower back pain
In yoga there are poses that involve the core and there are poses that would be impossible without it such as crow, just about every arm balancing pose, and inversions (check out my post, “A Happy Place,” to learn more about inversions.)
By now you should be all about the core but do not confuse your core with an ab stretch. Working on your abs focus on the front side of the body while core strength focuses on the erector spine, the muscles that make up your back, and glutes.
Here are a few of my favorite poses to engage your core
Three-legged Down Dog