Breathe, Balance and Build Strength

 

 

 

 

Photography from www.yogajournal.com

I have been teaching students from university to working adults, ie, 20 – 60 year olds.  Many find certain poses challenging for them as they feel that they are weak. Understanding that you are weak in your abdominal muscles, arms, legs or shoulders are linked to your center, your core; this understanding will really help to ground you to practise safely and build more strength. Many students continue to practise yoga with little awareness. I will continue to share more information to help students prevent from developing back or joint pains. In this post, I am reposting what I just shared on my facebook post.

Q & A Feature:
Ompulence featuring a question from wwwyogauonline.com. This will also help to answer queries for those who are still not steady in their yoga poses due to weaker core muscles.

Q: Does yoga strengthen the core and if so, how do yoga postures are best at accomplishing that?

A: There’s a great variety of core strengthening that we do in yoga poses. In yoga, the strengthening comes from supporting the weight of our body parts in various orientations to gravity. Sometimes we’re standing, sometimes we’re upside down, sometimes we’re sideways, sometimes we’re face down on the floor, sometimes face up on the floor. Lifting different body parts, be it arm, leg, torso, and so on, in these different positions is going to strengthen a huge variety of muscle groups, according to how gravity is pulling on the body part.
That is how a lot of abdominal strengthening happens in yoga, and people aren’t even aware of it.Standing poses are a great example. In the sideways standing poses, like Triangle, Extended Side Angle pose, and Half Moon pose, your torso muscles including the obliques and the transversus abdominus are contracting to hold up the weight of your torso, which is parallel to the floor. The side abdomen flank muscles are contracting to hold up the weight of your torso.

If you also are rotating your torso, which we are doing in those sideways poses, you get a double whammy. It’s fabulous strengthening of the obliques in particular, as they hold up the weight of the body as you go sideways and rotating the torso at the same time.

standing split (yj)

One of the things that I love about core strengthening in yoga is that we’re training muscle patterns. Lots of times, when you go to the weight room, you’re isolating a particular muscle. If you’re sitting in a machine and everything is supported and you’re isolating one muscle, e.g. the biceps, that’s fine if you lack strength in that muscle and you’re trying to build it up towards normal strength. But in yoga, we’re actually training muscles to work together in functional patterns, which is really valuable for basically, life on this planet!

Answer provided by Standing poses are a great example. In the sideways standing poses, like Triangle, Extended Side Angle pose, and Half Moon pose, your torso muscles including the obliques and the transversus abdominus are contracting to hold up the weight of your torso, which is parallel to the floor. The side abdomen flank muscles are contracting to hold up the weight of your torso.

If you also are rotating your torso, which we are doing in those sideways poses, you get a double whammy. It’s fabulous strengthening of the obliques in particular, as they hold up the weight of the body as you go sideways and rotating the torso at the same time.
tripod headstand 90degrees (yj)

One of the things that I love about core strengthening in yoga is that we’re training muscle patterns. Lots of times, when you go to the weight room, you’re isolating a particular muscle. If you’re sitting in a machine and everything is supported and you’re isolating one muscle, e.g. the biceps, that’s fine if you lack strength in that muscle and you’re trying to build it up towards normal strength. But in yoga, we’re actually training muscles to work together in functional patterns, which is really valuable for basically, life on this planet!

Answer provided by Julie Gumestad. (Founder of Gudmestad Yoga in Portland, Oregon. She is a licensed physical therapist and widely known for her Anatomy of a Yogi column that she wrote for Yoga Journal)
For upcoming core strengthening workshop on 12th Feb in Singapore, click here.
Photography by Yoga Journal. www.yogajournal.com

 

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