While performing yoga asanas, firming up your stomach or core muscles completely changes your posture. That’s core strength! A strong core stabilizes your entire body, both in yoga and in daily life. If you neglect your core, you increase risk of injury, especially in the lower back. Strong core adds grace, intention and corrects your posture in everyday activities.
If you practice yoga, you’ve most likely heard yoga teacher’s talk about the importance of “engaging your core” in poses. And have you noticed how as soon as you firm up your stomach, it completely changes your posture? That’s core strength!
So, why is Core Strength important in Yoga?
– A strong core stabilizes your entire body, both in yoga and outside of the studio in your daily life.
– When you neglect to work your core, you increase risk of injury, most predominantly in the lower back.
Think specifically about Chair Pose.
It’s easy to sit into this pose with your gluts shifting back, and your belly relaxed. After all, there are a lot of things to think about in this pose, like drawing your weight back into your heels, relaxing your shoulders, melting your hips a bit deeper…but think about the moment when you pull your bellybutton in toward your spine, and how this allows your pelvis to become level, which in turn lengthens your low spine – and even takes just a little bit of weight out of your legs.
It all of a sudden becomes a better posture, doesn’t it? That’s just one example, but you can truly think about the impact that a strong core has on every single posture practiced in a power yoga flow.
For instance, a strong core adds grace and stability during simple transitions from Warrior 2, to extended side angle, and back to reverse warrior.
And that’s nothing compared to the core strength needed for arm balances and inversions like crow pose, headstand or forearm stand – these poses would be virtually impossible without engaging the core!
Why is Core Strength important outside of Yoga practice?
If you’re like millions of people, chances are you spend a large portion of your day sitting in front of a computer screen. Sitting all day puts a lot of strain on your lower back, since that’s the part of your body that is supporting the large majority of your weight. When you have a strong core, it helps protect your body from the wear and tear of sitting all day. It allows you move with more grace and intention when you’re simply walking on the sidewalk, or up a flight of stairs.
Next time you’re in yoga class, try to think about your core strength during each pose, and each transition, and watch how it transforms your experience. Then, continue to think about your core strength when you leave class. There’s a good chance this will help you find more purpose with every movement.