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Summer Series! Ep 5: Aspects of the Core We Tend to Ignore

The core is an often-obsessed about part of the body, and yogis are no exception. In this episode, Jason breaks down the component parts that make up the core. He also offers three ideas for tapping into those parts we ignore — from paying attention to rotation, to the paraspinal muscles to learning to, at least once in a while, let your core go and let it all hang out.

As promised, an anatomical view of the core (and many of the muscles we mention in the episode). To learn more, check out the related links below.

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RECOMMENDED & RELATED LINKS
Yoga and Your Core, Part 1
Yoga and Your Core, Part II

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Abs Reboot: Four Creative Core Yoga Poses

Lolasana

When you regularly practice poses that strengthen your core, you’ll feel more stable in your practice and more at ease in your everyday life. When I skip my core strengtheners, I notice that it’s hard for me to sit up straight and my back gets tired much more quickly as I’m pecking away at my computer.

I look forward to doing core poses more if I have some creative options in my back pocket – and that’s what this post will give you.

In terms of where to put these in a sequence: Core yoga poses are flexible. You can use the poses below as a way to warm-up at the beginning of a practice. You can place them just after your Sun Salutations, standing poses, and backbends. Or you can sprinkle them throughout the sequence to stay connected to your center during the entire class.

(If you want to a clearer understanding of what we mean by “core” and how it all fits together, be sure to read Jason’s Yoga and Your Core, Parts I & II.)

Yoga Poses for Core Strength

Below are four of my favorite go-tos:

Core Connector Pose

Core Connector

The Core Connector pose is a great multi-tasker: When you squeeze the block, you engage your inner legs. Engaging your inner-legs (your adductors), will help you fire your pelvic floor muscles and your abdominals—especially our transversus abdominis. Typically the inner thigh muscles are weak and underutilized. This pose tones them and teaches you to move your thighbones out of external rotation and into a more neutral position.

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Yoga and Your Core, Part I

Before we get to the post, a quick, shameless plug for my upcoming trainings. You can join me live at my 500-Hour Yoga Teacher Training in San Francisco, London, or Hong Kong. I also have three separate online teacher trainings, focusing on arm balances & inversions, sequencing, or anatomy.

In modern yoga, we use the word “core” incessantly. But, what does the term “core” really mean and what do our students actually hear when we use the word? These questions don’t exactly keep me awake at night, but they do gnaw at me. Granted, I’m obsessed with clear, accurate, and accessible language, but I’m sure I’m not the only one. All yoga teachers want their students to understand what they’re saying and all yoga students want to learn how to use their bodies skillfully and effectively.

Also, the word “core” evokes mixed feelings for people. After many years of teaching I’ve seen that most people think their core is flawed in some way—they either think it’s too big or too weak or both. They carry a lot of emotion and insecurity attached to it. Since the core is so often entangled with our self image, I think it’s even more important that try to understand how it works. My hope is that by understanding its complexity we can start to appreciate all that it does for us instead of simply focusing on perceived flaws.
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Yoga and Your Core, Part II

Before we get to the post, a quick, shameless plug for my upcoming trainings. You can join me live at my 500-Hour Yoga Teacher Training in San Francisco, London, or Hong Kong. I also have three separate online teacher trainings, focusing on arm balances & inversions, sequencing, or anatomy.

When students register for a core-themed workshop, they expect their abdominals to be battered and bruised into next week. It’s a strange—somewhat admirable—masochism that exists in few communities outside of yoga (save, perhaps, the crossfit, pilates, and functional fitness communities). But, if you’ve read The Illustrated Guide to Yoga + Your Core, Part 1 you’ve learned that the abdominals are only one part of your core. Now, it’s time to turn your attention to what I call the “complements to your core.” These muscles either work together with your core, like the way engaging your inner legs helps you engage your pelvic floor muscles. Or, they balance your core muscles by providing the opposite action, the way your hamstrings balance the actions of your hip flexors. Continue reading Read More > >

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