We all know about the ‘core’, but how many of us are using it to fully benefit our yoga? It’s hard to remember to engage those deep inner muscles when we are thinking about where to put our feet, or how to use the breath in a yoga class.

The core is far more than just the outer ‘six pack’ muscles, too – rather than a central core of muscles running up through our bodies, we should think of it as more of a layered corset of overlapping muscles wrapping round the body.

Using all these will help us stand taller and for longer in tree pose, hold warrior 1 with more control, and support the body in floor poses such as bridge and downward dog, which we focussed on in class this week.

Toning up from inside will also benefit our overall health, not just for yoga, but for daily life. As well as being stronger in your asanas, you improve your posture and balance, helping prevent trips and falls. By engaging your core you can helps prevent slouched sitting postures — and that translates to improved breathing and less wear and tear on your spine.

You may not realise how much you use your core muscles for example to put something high on a shelf or pick up a bag of shopping, but they play a role in just about every movement you do. Without core strength, you would find it extremely challenging to get through a day.

A toned core can also lower your risk of back pain. Low back pain is debilitating. Since your abs are in front of your spine, they play a crucial role in supporting your entire girdle area. If those muscles are weak, the surrounding muscles need to work harder to hold your spine straight—including your back muscles. Keeping your abs and back muscles toned means holding your spine in the proper position should become second nature, and the risk of injury decreases.  

Postures such as plank, side plank and boat pose may not be on your list of favourite poses – and there’s good reason why!

Here’s a reminder of some of our class this week.