Are You Spilling Your Guts?
In most of my public yoga classes I am working with the students on integrating their core line muscles to produce a strong plank and vinyasa flow. I see yoga practitioners coming onto their mat and moving their body in various positions and poses. Core engagement is crucial to creating a safe space to practice from, and from this safe space you create a strong foundation to build your practice. Otherwise you are just spilling your guts and stressing your back and shoulders.
When I first starting practicing yoga, I began with the Stationary Sequence at Empowered Yoga in Wilmington, De. It wasn’t long before I found myself, prematurely, in a heated vinyasa class, spilling my guts. I had no upper body strength, and no real sense of the core line, or how to engage it. I was simply flinging my body into various shapes and postures. At 190lbs, it was definitely a work out, not to mention the heat and humidity that made me feel like I was melting on my mat. I was lucky I didn’t injure myself from lack of strength and stability.
As I incorporate some vinyasa into the lunch time sequences I teach, I am seeing this more. I have stepped off of the mat, and adjusting more, walking around the room to assist folks with alignment, to give specific verbal cues in the ear. Once the student has awareness of the feet, they are able to engage muscle and feel the kinetic chain of energy flowing up the body, no matter what pose it is. It took me about three years to fully wake up my feet and toes, and I’m still working on the baby toe. Yes, that annoying soreness and cramping of the feet goes away the more you practice.
Some tips from my practice to build a strong plank.
- Press the heels back
- Feel the back of the knees lifting
- Engage the quads and glutes
- Keep hips lifted in alignment with joints
- Brace the abdominal muscles
- Notice expansion/lifting through the chest
- Shoulders over wrists
- Biceps forward
- Elbows straight
- Heels of the hands press
- Feel all points of hands and fingers
- Engage the thumbs and forefingers
- Feel the neck lengthen out from the shoulders
- Crown of the head extends forward
- Eyes gazing at the mat
- Have another set of eyes check your alignment
- Use a mirror
When the plank is solid and strong, then you can consider moving through chataranga to up-dog safely. That will be another post, as people lose the core engagement when transitioning.
For more on this, contact me for live online instruction.
— Posted on January 25, 2016 at 6:05 am