It's time to empower your core. Learn about the benefits of strengthening your core through yoga from our guest blogger, Tanynya Hekymara.
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“My strength comes from the abdomen. It’s the center of gravity and the source of real power.” — Bruce Lee, Actor/Martial Artist Extraordinaire
What is your core? When health and wellness professionals refer to core, we are referring the midsection of the body. The core includes the front, back, and sides of the body. The muscles are the oblique muscles, lower latissimus dorsi (lats), abdominals, and erector spinae.
The core is weakened by a sedentary lifestyle: sitting too much and not exercising enough. Often times a weak core can creep up on us. Often the core weakens slowly as physical activity lessens so we compensate and become used to the weakened core. Many injuries can be avoided or lessened by strengthening the core.
How does yoga strengthen your core? Nearly all yoga poses utilize the core muscles. It is entrenched in the practice itself. Yoga corrects posture by sending energy to all parts of the body through toning, stretching, strengthening and deep breathing. Yoga improves alignment, balance and strengthens the spinal column. A strong core keeps the body upright and strong, helping the body to decrease incidents of falling. And if a fall happens, the body is strong enough to defend itself during the fall.
Core work burns fat, tones the torso, builds confidence, improves vitality and breathing and improves metabolism. Other sports and physical activity can be executed with less effort and more ease. Daily physical activities will become less strained when core strength is improved. Sitting and standing, getting out of bed and on and off of the floor. If we are moving, we are using our core. So why not develop a strong one?
A full yoga session is recommended as it incorporates core poses throughout the practice. If you would like to incorporate some core poses into your regular workout, I have listed some poses below. Always warm the body before starting core work. 10 to 15 minutes of aerobic exercise should do. Always have a conversation with your doctor before starting any new type of exercise.
Core strengthen poses include but are not limited to: Boat Pose,Twisting Boat Pose, Cat/Cow, Chair Pose, Plank Pose, Dolphin, Dolphin Plank Pose, Crane, Happy Baby, Side Plank Pose, Plank Pose Lifted Leg & Arm, Plank Pose Lifted Leg, Knee to Chest, Crab Pose, Balancing Table Pose, and Warrior III Pose.
A quick recap of the benefits of a strong core:
- Supports your spine
- Balance and stability
- Reduces back pain
As Bruce Lee stated, the core is our center of strength. Take care with it and strengthen is for improved health.
I leave you with,
Photography by Shay McAtee