Core strength and stability: stronger and more relaxed in 2020

Happy New Year everyone! May we all have a fabulous year, in which we do something every day towards creating the life we want. If back pain sometimes stands in the way, I am here to support you. My aim with yoga therapy is to help you find more confidence and joy in movement. Yoga therapy can enhance your strength and flexibility, improve your posture, optimise your breathing, and provide a time for relaxation and peace of mind. I teach in group- and individual sessions, through my video series and in these simple but hopefully helpful blogs. In this particular blog I address abdominal strength, as well-functioning abdominal muscles are essential to ease back pain and tightness. Now that the holidays are over, are you ready to find core strength and stability?

Core strengthening does not require hardship and sweat. Abdominal muscles are meant to keep our core area stable within movement and correct posture. They are meant to coordinate with other muscles and offer support. If the abdominals are weak and don’t participate, the back muscles have to overwork and may start hurting. If you have lower back pain and you don’t know exactly how to create core strength and stability, try the exercises below to gently strengthen while at the same time keeping your back safe.

My video series that you can find here: guides you through a careful sequence of gentle to stronger abdominal exercises, so you can safely develop the much-needed support for your lower back. Strengthening abdominal muscles has to be done with care and respect for the back. The video series consists of five 20-minute videos that start strengthening gently and then gradually progress to give you more confidence in movement. The exercises are chosen to not only be safe but also beneficial for the lower back.

The exercises in this blog are taken from the video series. The first two are relatively easy while the last exercise already requires more strength and balance. They are safe for people with back pain but it is important to always listen to your body first, and stop an exercise if it hurts. If you experience pain, a private session may be more appropriate for you. Click: to learn more.

Pelvic tilt

-Start by lying on your back with bent legs, feet hip-distance apart on the mat. Notice there is a small space behind the waist.

-Exhale and use the abdominal muscles to press the back of the waist on the mat.

-Inhale and return to the starting position.

-Repeat a few times.

Leg raises

-Still lying on your back with the legs bent, bring the right foot closer to the body and straighten the left leg.

-Push down on your right foot while raising the left, straight leg with the inhalation to the level of the other knee.

-Exhale and place it down slowly.

-Repeat a few times and then do the same repetitions with the other leg.

-If this exercise gets easier, don’t place the foot down completely but hover it an inch above the floor before lifting it again.

Hunting Dog

This exercise is much stronger and not appropriate if you have acute lower back pain or a shoulder injury. Only try it when the previous 2 exercises are easy.

-Start on hands and knees.

-Exhale and straighten the right leg behind you: not too high, definitely not higher than the hips.

-Add the left arm, and keep it next to the ear if your shoulder allows it.

-Use the breath to hold the core area strongly: exhale and contract the abdominal muscles, inhale and relax them slightly.

-If you notice your lower back is sinking down, tuck your tailbone to lengthen the lower back.

-Hold each side for 4-6 breaths. Keep looking down and strongly using the abdominal muscles. The lower back must feel held and long.

If you would like more of these exercises, click to find out more about the video series.

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Wishing you a joyful 2020!

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Jane Simmons

    This was so helpful having lounged around over Christmas. Thank you for posting the perfect exercises at the perfect time.

    1. Bene Yoga

      Very glad to hear that 🙂

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