One thing every sport requires of its top athletes is better core strength. Did you think you could watch yoga videos all day to get it?
The answer just might be yes! The core is incredibly important for supporting the limbs in all their actions, in twisting, in bending, and in finding strength to extend the body in various activities such as running, jumping, swimming, etc.
All movements truly come form the core muscles, so learning to build them in yoga classes is a great way to support all your other active endeavors. You can watch some of the great yoga videos on core strength to learn specific exercises, but here is some great information about the core muscles to keep in mind as you practice yoga:
Four Sets of Core Muscles to Develop
The ‘core’ is responsible for so many movements that we take for granted every day. It includes four major sets of muscles, which must be built in synchronicity in order to have true ‘core’ fitness. You will see each of these muscles being utilized in different ways in the yoga videos here, so that you are sure not to neglect any of them:
These are often the muscles used to develop the ‘appearance’ of strong abs, or a ‘six-pack’ but they are not the only abdominal or core muscles you should pay attention to when watching a yoga video to inform your own practice. These muscles located between the ribs and pubic bone are the abdominals which give the appearance of being in shape but the other supporting muscles listed below are just as, if not more, important.
Watch for the deepest level of abdominal muscle use in yoga videos that sustain the truck and protect the internal organs. Poses like cobra and locust are a good example. Twisting poses are also impossible without the use of the transverse abdominus. While it is harder to spot the muscles themselves in a yoga video you may see, you can still watch for the actions which cause them to be used.
The inner obliques are the muscles which follow the rectus abdominus all the way to just inside the bones of the hips. They are also important for twisting, but you can see them being used in side plank when you watch power yoga videos. They are used in cat cow pose when you watch a more restorative yoga video.
The external obliques are the muscles you see between the ribs. They are easier to see in a male yogi practicing Chataranga in a yoga video, since their body fat ratio is usually low enough o decipher specific muscles, but some female yogis have very developed external obliques too. Yoga videos which coordinate moving from regular plank to side plank, or from dolphin plank to downward facing dog are all great ways to develop this set of core muscles.
While you will need to actually practice the asana shown in the yoga videos you watch, it is good to have a basic understanding of core anatomy in order to really target your yoga asana for better core strength. This newfound strength will help you to stand your ground, speak your mind, and carry you through many challenges, both on and off the yoga mat. Try one or two yoga videos to start and then be sure to change it up, since your body will appreciate the variety.
photo; lululemon athletica