Self Practice Focusing on Core Strength
The Advantage of Core Strength
Most people think about a six-pack when they hear the words “core strength”, but core strength is actually more than that. Core muscles consist of various muscles and their main function is to stabilize the spine.
To have a strong core does not mean simply to be “strong”, but actually it means to be strong and supple. We would like to cultivate a strong core for balance and stability but also for ease and agility in our daily life. Having this strength would also make our asana practices safer and deeper.
Throughout our asana practice, we can draw energetically in towards this expanded core while radiating out from it to create space. This sequence below strengthens the muscles and supports the lower torso in its relationship to the pelvis and spine.
Five Poses to Do in Your Self Practice
From Downward Facing Dog, inhale and draw the torso forward until the arms are perpendicular to the floor and the shoulders are directly over the wrists. The torso should be parallel to the floor, the hips are lifted and the tailbone is tucked. The shoulders are protracted. Stay here for 10 breaths.
- Revolved High Lunge
From Downward Facing Dog, lunge forward with your right leg, stay on the ball of the left foot. Right knee on top of right ankle. Bring your hands into prayer position. Inhale and lengthen your spine, exhale and twist to your right using your oblique. Keep your spine long, and hook your left elbow onto right thigh, pressing both palms against each other. Open your chest without collapsing on your left side and stay for 10 breaths. Repeat to the other side.
- Boat Pose
Sit on the mat with your legs straight in front of you. Press your hands on the floor a little behind your hips, fingers pointing forward. Keep your chest and back engaged and tall, lean back slightly. Bend your knees and slowly lift your feet off the floor, until your thighs are about 45 degrees from the floor. If it is available to you, straighten your knees. Lift your arms up and then lower them until your arms are alongside your legs and parallel to the floor. Make sure you are not collapsing on your lower back. Hold for ten breaths and repeat three times.
- Three-Legged Plank
From Downward Facing Dog, lift your right leg off the floor. Inhale, shift your shoulders on top of your wrists and bring right knee forward onto your right armpit. Hold. Exhale and slowly push back into Downward Facing Dog with the right leg back up . Repeat 5 times. Repeat on the other side.
- Scale Pose
Start from Lotus Pose. Place your hands firmly on the side of your body. Exhale, push the hands against the floor, contract the abdominal muscles, and lift the legs and buttocks away from the floor.