Let’s face it – no one really likes to exercise their core muscles. It’s tough, it’s painful and it seems like it will never end. Sure, we all like to look at the sexy six pack our gym partner reveals when lifting his sweaty t-shirt, but doing it ourselves, we tend to avoid this part of the workout program. Aren’t I right ladies?! I’m not saying, I am the biggest fan of core work either, however I recently had to acknowledge the many advantages that occur when I do get myself to work that part of my body. Intrigued?!
Well for one, it cultivates the inner strength that helps me keep my balance. Quite literally, the balance I need in all of my yoga poses but even more so the balance to go through life with an open mind and an open heart. As you know the core is at the center of our body, but, in a way, it is also the center of our entire being. If I were to talk in chakra terms (no worries, I’m just throwing these in for the fun of it) it’s directly located at the solar plexus chakra. It represents who we are as a person, it’s related to your willpower as well as a certain warmth in your personality – and who doesn’t want to be a warm, balanced person?! Keeping a strong core allows you to face challenges in a gentle, yet genuine, way and move through them with humility and grace.
On a physical level we tend to only work our outer body, especially in yoga – our monkey minds get stuck on the idea of what our poses look like from the outside instead of what they feel like from within. However, moving from our outer body puts unnecessary stress and tension on us. We might suffer from lower back pain, since the front of our bodies hold the back, meaning a strong core translates into a strong spine and back. To create real power in yoga we must activate our deep core line*, by establishing a strong foundation, from the bottom of our feet, to drawing our core in and up, standing tall and grounded. If you consider it from this perspective‚ core strength runs through your body from head to toe. It connects all the tiny little dots making you feel more vibrant and alive. Sound good? Okay, so let’s do it.
Today’s routine includes soft plank poses and various plank alterations, make sure to really pull your belly in and up while you move through the poses. We do my favorite dolphin pose, not just because of the name, but also because it does so many things at the same time, strengthening your arms, legs and core while opening the shoulders. And not to be forgotten, the boat pose and some of its variations, to really get your core muscles nice and tight. Stay strong, don’t give up, stick with it and not just once, try this routine at least two to three times a week. I know you can, so let’s get physical.
*The deep core line is a continuous line of connective tissue along your skeleton. It starts at your toes, the inner arches, inside of your shins, through your inner thighs and runs all the way up to your heart, lungs and the tongue. Activated in the right way it really helps to keep a healthy and stable body.
Michaela has been practicing Yoga ever since she was a teenager. Having practiced many different styles with many different teachers all over the world, it was not one moment in particular but the cumulation of so many moments and that feeling of being able to create space through movement, that made her decide to become a yoga teacher herself. She started teaching in 2014 and is still an avid student motivated by the deep release and feeling of expansion body and mind receive through yoga and movement. When she is not teaching Yoga, Michaela works as a PR & Communications consultant.