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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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