If you follow my blog, you know I practice yoga for multiple different reasons. It wasn’t until recently that I also started to practice yoga with core strength in mind. I had dismissed all possibility that I could ever do a shoulder stand properly or any other “cool” yoga poses. We practice yoga without judgement or expectations right? Well, my mentality wasn’t advancing my practice either, so I decided to get serious about core strength.
I will be the first to admit that some practices I wasn’t giving my 100%. Maybe 80%. I made a commitment to my practice to give 100% all the time. This meant that my core was engaged 100% of the time. I also started to really push myself in these poses:
- Plank pose
- Downward Facing Dog
About two weeks into my core strengthening, I found that I could certain poses a lot easier. For example, side plank had always been a pain for me, literally. It would hurt my shoulder. Now, I’m not a yoga instructor, but by engaging my core, it took the work out of my shoulder.
About three weeks after extreme core engagement, I also found that Forearm Balance was feeling a lot different. Before my core strengthening, I would basically “throw myself” into the pose against a wall. Still a good achievement, but not what my yoga instructors were teaching. I have always heard instructors say that it’s core strength for these inversion poses. They couldn’t explain what the core engagement would feel like, but one day your mind and body will just get it.
Having not ever been a gymnast or dancer, I didn’t understand how core engagement would make any difference in an inversion. This past week changed my opinion. I was practicing my poses at home and I just got the feeling that I can do Forearm Balance with core engagement.
I set up my Forearm Balance near a wall (just in case). I placed my forearms on the ground, shoulders distance apart, and rose to Dolphin. I engaged my core and my legs pulled upward. It worked!
I have a hard time as well describing the muscle engagement for this pose. It is like all my instructors said, when it clicks it clicks.
Readers, what poses just clicked for you in your practice?