Slow Steps to Build the Core
There are so many wonderful and different ways to build the core. You’ll see a huge variety of sequence in modern yoga classes, from pranayama, static poses, traditional movements, and fusion core integration. Personally I prefer a more classical route with slow movements and pranayama to strengthen the core, but what I advocate most of all is for people to try different things and find out what works best for them. There are certain popular sequences that I avoid teaching due to my personal preferences, but that is not to say these fusion movements aren’t effective or that I have anything against those who practice and/or teach them. I will point out however that one can achieve great inner strength with simple and traditional practices, and I stick to these for the most part in my teaching and personal practice.
Here is an example of core strength developed without sit-ups or Pilates like exercise.
When you see practitioners practice light movements and intense core postures please don’t be discouraged if you feel you are a long ways away from achieving this. Remember that progress is best achieved by taking slow steps, staying patient, staying motivated, and not making frustrating comparisons. Incidentally one of my secrets to building and maintaining my core ability is taking slow steps to runners pose in thigh stretch sequences and classical sun salutations. I really love this method of building the core as it also stretches the core, builds endurance in the lungs, and calms the mind. Ideally we should gauge our core fitness not just by how strong our abdominals are but by our strength and flexibility in all the core muscles front and back.
Focusing only on the abdominals can be a big mistake as balanced strength front and back is key for the health of the low back. Though having nice stomach muscles is a great side benefit of keeping your core fit, the main purpose is to keep you pelvis and spine healthy and reduce the risk of injury. A strong core also helps with having a sense of purpose, courage, and confidence. How many muscles show has a lot to do with genetics and many people with great core fitness might not be as defined as others who have less body fat but also less strength. Really how your muscles look is much less important than feeling healthy and well rounded, body/mind/&spirit.
Here are some examples of slow steps and intense posterior core sequencing.
It took me a long time to develop my ability and one of the best benefits from the years of hard work was learning patience and contentment.
So remember, take slow but steady steps toward progress, avoid making comparisons, and don’t forget to breathe deeply as you practice~
Wishing you all deep inner strength and deep inner peace ॐ
Gabriel Benjamin has been
teaching Yoga since 2001 and holds ﬁve
certiﬁcations in Yoga and
Ayurveda. He has studied the
graceful science of ﬂow and
alignment from the TriYoga®
lineage and has been both a
student and a teacher in the Kerala
Ayurveda Academy. Gabriel leads
workshops and retreats around
the world, & offers online Ayurvedic counseling.