fitness yoga teacher trainingBy Faye Martins

A strong core helps the body with posture, alignment, and balance. A regular yoga practice does the same. Therefore, it makes sense that a marriage between the two will be a blissful union. 

Core became the omnipresent buzzword a few years back. When the words began to rest on the lips of just about every style of trainer in every type of fitness venue, a few questions began to emerge. 

What exactly is my core, anyway? 

Many people think that core refers to the abdominal region only, but actually, the core is much more than that. It refers to the stomach, middle and lower back, and the thoracic and cervical regions of the spine. There are over 15 major core muscles, including the diaphragm. 

Why is it so important to have a strong and stable core? 

Imagine your body as the trunk of a tree. Without the trunk, the tree would have nothing to support the branches; in the case of the body, the branches equate to the arms and legs. Your core includes your essential breathing muscle, (the diaphragm). Therefore, weak core muscles prevent you from breathing deeply. A well-developed core enables you to lift heavy objects with less incidence of injury and provides balance and stability for your body. 

What can I do to strengthen my core? 

Luckily, if you love yoga, you are probably already in the process of building strength and stability in your core. Many yoga postures are excellent for core development. 

• Planks – All the variations of the plank pose are perfect for improving your core area. Try dolphin plank, side plank or dolphin plank with opposite arm and leg extended.

• Boat Pose – You will definitely feel the burn in your middle when you hold your legs outward in boat pose for at least a minute.

• Cat Pose- This effective beginner core pose will additionally help to alleviate back pain.

• Balance Poses- Engaging in balance poses is a great way to build core stability. Good examples are tree pose, eagle pose, and half-moon pose.

• Bridge Pose- Some yoga gurus suggest ending a core workout with the bridge pose to release the belly and make the abdominal muscles more flexible. 

Once your core gets stronger, you will instinctively begin to stand straighter and feel more confident. You will find less incidence of back pain and more ease with your daily routines.

© Copyright 2010 – Aura Wellness Center – Publications Division

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