EmilyW

Core Engagement

4 posts in this topic

Hello World!

I am having trouble keeping my core engaged through my practice. Sometimes I feel like I can't breathe right when my belly is sucked in, or like my belly wants to push out instead of suck in, or sometimes I just plain forget to engage my core. I know that this is keeping me from making my practice as strong as it could be, but more crucially, I know that this means that when I practice, I am dumping into my joints instead of my strength (not that there is much of that to begin with) which can cause harm to the joints long term.
I really want to get a stronger core to improve my practice and make it safer for my body, but I'm not really sure where to go from here... does anyone have any tips on building strength, being mindful of your core or any tips at all on keeping your core engaged?

Thank you lots and tons!

Emily

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The core is a weird thing. I think a lot of people think that the core just means the mirror abs, but really, the core (at least for me) is about what's deep, deep within the trunk. I think it might be worth looking into firing up your core first thing when you're practicing over the next week or two. Start with a core practice like this or this, and maybe practice uddiyana bandha. Essentially, learn how to connect with your core. From there, start engaging it when you're doing poses or transitions within your practice that incorporate core strength, like stepping to the front of the mat from downward dog, or in poses like tree, where you can tap into that deep core strength by bringing the belly button in and then upward a bit for more stability in the pose. But not all poses need to have core engagement - you just need to hone in on which need it and which don't. Trust yourself as you figure out which require it, and enjoy the process.

yogafire, msinkblot and EmilyW like this

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You know, Candace, I think that is part of my problem. For so long I thought of my core muscles as my abs- only recently did I learn that there are (in fact) other muscles supporting the torso and trunk, making up the core (who knew, right?!). Because I only considered my mirror abs and not the deeper musculature, I never learned really how to engage those muscles, which is where I am running into a wall now. Thank you, thank you for your recommendations... I so appreciate your insight! I have never heard of uddiyana bandha, but I am for sure going to give it a go! :)

yogafire and YogaByCandace like this

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Candace always gives good advice. I like to think of the core as the entire torso. Here is a couple of anatomy pictures from something called Core Training for Athletes

http://www.varietytrainer.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/images-1.jpeg

http://www.varietytrainer.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/125819-004-39548B68.jpg

You can see they have placed more emphasis on the back of the torso than the front-side.

Two things I can add; One is time. It takes a long time of consistent work to build that strength. The other is try sitting up straight and tall when ever you are sitting. Even just tall straight sitting for one or 2 breaths at a time to start and repeat all day long. Then slowly increase the amount of breaths. Eventually sitting tall will become natural and slumping into the lower back will feel awful. It may seem hard to believe but eventually it will happen. This will build up a really strong core and stamina. And good overall balance for front, back and sides of the torso.

 

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