This article was shared with us by the beautiful, Chanti Mai.
A strong core stabilizes your entire body, both in yoga and outside of the studio in your daily life. When you neglect to work your core, you increase risk of injury, most predominantly in the lower back. Think specifically about Chair Pose. It’s easy to sit into this pose with your gluts shifting back and your belly relaxed. After all, there are a lot of things to think about in this pose like drawing your weight back into your heels, relaxing your shoulders, melting your hips a bit deeper, but think about the moment when you pull your belly button in toward your spine and how this allows your pelvis to become level, which in turn lengthen your low spine. And even takes just a little bit of weight of your legs. It all of a sudden becomes a better posture, doesn’t it?
That’s just one example, but you can truly think about the impact that a strong core has on every single posture practiced in Vinyasa Flow Yoga. For instance, a strong core adds grace and stability during simple transitions from Warrior II to extended side angle and back to reverse Warrior. And that’s nothing compared to the core strength needed for arm balances and inversions like crow pose, headstand or forearm stand. These poses would be virtually impossible without engaging the core!
If you live in a city, chances are you spend a large portion of your day sitting in front of a computer screen. Sitting all day puts a lot of strain on your lower back, since that’s part of your body that is supporting the large majority of your weight. When you have a strong core, it helps protect your body from the wear and tear of sitting all day. It allows you move with more grace and intention when you’re simply walking on the sidewalk or up a flight of stairs.
Next time you are in a yoga class, try to think about your core strength during each pose and each transition and watch how it transforms your experiences. Then continue to think about your core strength when you leave the studio and walk to your bike. There’s a good chance this will help you find more purpose with every movement.
Chanti is a yoga teacher, massage therapist, artist, writer, adventurer, and a true lover of life: www.chantimai.com