If you feel unstable and even uncomfortable in standing yoga poses, balances and other asanas that require strength, it is possible that your abdominal muscles are not engaging properly. Weak abdominals will fail to hold the trunk steady in static or dynamic yoga poses. As a result you may feel wobbly and quickly tired. Even if you have done many abdominal workouts, your strong abs may have become too rigid to freely release and contract during movements. This blog demonstrates that if you know how to use them, abdominal muscles can improve stability in yoga poses.
For my third blog this summer I promised to tackle core strength. Abdominal strengthening is a necessary part of any back care programme, but incorporating it into a yoga regime can offer a different and effective approach. Strengthening abdominal muscles in isolation is not necessarily the best way to create core strength. Likewise, it is not healthy (or possible?) to hold your abdomen in all the time. Both lead to holding patterns that do not facilitate free breathing, easy movement or relaxation. This blog looks at true core strength from a whole-body perspective: demonstrating movements that engage core muscles in coordination with other muscles, the aim is to show you how to lay the foundation for a healthy back.
If you can easily do press-ups, keeping your body straight as you lower it to the ground and effortlessly raise it again … this blog is not for you. This blog is for those of us who don’t know how to even start arm strengthening. It is for those of us whose back is suffering more because our arms are not strong enough when lifting or carrying. It is aimed to help you feel more ease when doing yoga poses that require arm strength. And, since this blog is part of the summer-body series, it is for those of us who would like to have a bit more tone in the upper arms when wearing summer tops.
A few weeks ago one of my students came into the group class and declared: “I want a beach body by August.” An unusual request in a back care yoga class, so there were a few seconds of stunned silence. Then I thought “great!” A beach body presumably has shapely arms, firm gluts and a toned abdomen. Strong Gluts, arm and abdominal muscles also happen to be important for back health, so beach body and back health work together very well. My blogs this summer will focus on these three muscle groups, making them ready for the pool or beach if you want, or simply toning them to support your back health. If we also do these exercises mindfully, they can have a positive effect on stress levels, and cultivate a healthy approach to our body. We are starting with the gluts today.