Thursday, 16 April 2015

Beginner's Yoga - Strong to the core

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As a beginner you may wonder why yogis are so focused on core strength.  

Firstly, what is meant by the 'core'? The core includes the abdominal muscles, but also the muscles of the lower and mid back which extend around the hips.  Also included is the diaphragm which is the sheet of muscle separating the thoracic cavity from the abdominal cavity.  This muscle is important in breathing. Many yoga poses involve engaging your core to stabilise and protect your lower back.  In this way having a strong core helps prevent injury.  A strong core also helps you maintain good posture as well as giving you a toned body, which is an incentive for many people!! Because the core also includes the diaphragm, the pranayama (breathing) techniques help you connect to the core. 

At a deeper level, a strong core also helps 'stoke' the digestive 'fire', agni.  Yogis believe that good digestion is the foundation of good health.  This makes a great deal of sense.  If digestion is sluggish, constipation results.  This leads to a build up of toxins in the gut which eventually pass into the blood.  Once in the blood these toxins can affect our health including our mental health.  

At a deeper level still, as yogis we endeavor to develop a 'core' of peace within which helps us meet challenges on and off the mat.  In the video we make a start on cultivating this 'core' of peace with a meditation to still the mind.

You can understand then why yogis are so focused on core strength.


Janet x

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