Yoga is about discovering the core of who we are. As we deepen our physical connection to our core, we open the doors to our spiritual center as well. On a practical level, how we can explore this connection to our core? Read on for four techniques to help you get started today.
Source: Everyday Health
In yoga, we often jump immediately to the fullest expression of the pose. By staying in a smaller range of motion, we can use micromovements to develop our proprioception, which is our physical understanding of where our body exists in space.
A great place to practice this is table pose. In table, try lifting one hand just an inch off the ground. This very small movement will immediately remove a “leg” from your table. Notice how your core engages to maintain your balance. The next time you come to your mat or take a class, stay in a smaller range of motion in all of your postures. It will give you an entirely different perspective on your core connection.
Play with Variations
Our bodies can become habituated to certain postures. By challenging our muscle memory using variations, we allow for greater strength and stability. Tree pose is a great place to experiment with this.
Find your typical expression of tree pose and then lift both hands to the sky. Release your right hand down onto your right knee. Lean toward your right, letting your left hand lead. Feel a deep stretch on your left side. Notice how this crescent variation completely changes the expression of tree and challenges your balance. Practice on both sides and keep your attention on your core center throughout. You can add a crescent stretch or twist to many poses including warriors and lunges.
There’s More to Your Core
Source: Yoga Journal
Many people associate their core with their belly but that’s only part of the equation. Our backs and sides are part of our core as well! Lateral (side) poses like crescent moon, a gentle side stretch, and star pose are great ways to explore this aspect of our core. Baby cobra is a safe, all-levels appropriate posture that is fantastic for building strength in the back. Short on time and want to get the most core bang for your buck? Plank pose is tough to beat. It engages all aspects of the core.
Sitting with our backs against chairs requires almost no core strength and our core and back muscles become weak. Now, when I sit, I scoot forward on the chair and sit up straight, not using the back of the chair at all. The first few days that I did this, my body spoke to me. I felt some tension and discomfort in my back within a few minutes of sitting this way. The more time that you spend sitting in a poor posture, the more difficult this transition will be. Stick with it and take your time, slowly reclaiming your strength.
By applying these four techniques, you’ll quickly notice a deeper connection to your core that you can carry with you into any pose.
What are your favorite ways to stay connected to your core?