Ignite Your Core

Add These 7 Postures for Strength and Stretching

SPINAL FLEXION

IGNITE YOUR CORE

It’s no secret that you go to your yoga mat for a purpose, whatever that may be on a given day. It’s important, however, to marry that purpose with intention. When it comes to strengthening your core in your asana practice, this is vital. As your center, your core is involved in every movement, but that doesn’t mean you’re maximizing your potential for strength. In many yoga postures, you may be missing opportunities to intentionally move in a way that will truly ignite your core. In today’s video, you’ll see how Matt transforms the execution of 7 yoga poses. You will learn new ways to achieve strength in your core, and you’ll gain the benefit of a target  stretch, which in Chromatic yoga can become a secondary focal point to support the desired action on the mat.

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PREPARE WITH “CORE” CAT/COW

Igniting your core in Cat/Cow may not be exactly as you imagine. What Matt says in the video about defaulting to just allowing gravity to take over can be so true. He mentions that when moving into spinal flexion (Cat), you may just be dropping your head and the lower vertebrae, but flexing the entire spine is extremely important. The actions to take here are to pull your chin and throat back and to pull your ribs back, while lengthening the occipital ridge (where your skull meets your neck). By doing this, you’ll really feel the difference in sensation. You’ll get the activation of the core, receiving the benefit of strength while also lengthening the erector spinae muscles. These are also great foundational actions for arm balances and forward folds.

WATCH THE VIDEO

IGNITE YOUR CORE: ADD THESE 7 POSTURES FOR STRENGTH & STRETCH

PROGRESSION AND PATTERNING

In Chromatic yoga, you’re directed toward a specific focal point or action. This not only allows you to practice it repeatedly to integrate it, but eventually, it also transforms the way your body moves altogether. After repatterning Cat/Cow to attain more core engagement, multiple opportunities will unfold in the rest of the practice. Postures like High Lunge and the transitions between postures change when you focus on the physical throughline. In today’s video, you’ll see how the same actions from Cat/Cow are repeated in High Lunge. Coming from Three-Legged Dog towards “knee to chest” requires more strength from your wrists, shoulders, and serratus anterior. So what should you do? Stay focused on the key actions. What’s interesting is that sometimes your body finds more connection on a different plane, so repeatedly exploring these actions is crucial.  

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CORE ACTIVATION—TRADITIONAL AND UNEXPECTED

Matt offers a variety of options in standing and seated Dragonfly.  

As discussed, the key actions today are to pull your ribs back, pull your chin and throat back, and elongate your neck. In the last 4 postures in the video, Matt demonstrates some traditional and unexpected ways to ignite your core.

  1. Lizard Pose is a hip opener, but bringing your awareness to the key actions is what changes the dynamic. 
  2. Forearm Plank may be a more typical posture with regard to strengthening the core, but pay attention to the plantar flexion (pointing) of Matt’s feet in the video—it leads to more emphasis on your trunk.
  3. Gravity can take over in Pyramid Pose, but it’s an opportunity again to engage.
  4. Paschimottanasana (Seated Forward Fold) is the final pose in the clip. Although an intense hamstring stretch, it becomes effective as a core strengthener when you stretch your back muscles in spinal flexion.
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THE ULTIMATE GOAL

The ultimate goal is to BE INTENTIONAL. Every posture has multiple benefits, but it’s the focus you keep within a given practice that will ultimately bring clarity and purpose to your experiences on the mat.

One thing truly affects another, as is shown in the 7 postures Matt demonstrates in today’s video. Enhanced awareness of core activation will ultimately lead to improved spinal flexion. Taking a Chromatic approach opens up more opportunity for breakthroughs in your practice.

You can register for Matt’s current 15 Hour Chromatic Yoga Immersion to open yourself up to new possibilities.

See you on the mat!

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Article by Trish Curling

Videos Extracted From: Chromatic Yoga 15 Hour Immersion

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