Core Conditioning Yoga Poses Workshop

Saturday 5th August
9:00 – 10:45 am

@ All Hallows Church, Hyde Park LS6

The word core itself implies deep and central. The anatomical structure that is the deepest and most central is the spine.

A lot of what we hear about the core is directly related to the spine specifically, and the torso in general. After all, this is primarily what we want to stabilize with our core muscles.

There is also a dynamic component to the core. This aspect of core is all about movement and the specific control of movement from the deep intrinsic muscles that move us.

Ida Rolf who developed Structural Integration also known as Rolfing, considered the spine as the core of the body.

The tissues that were the deepest and most intrinsic were considered core muscles. For Ida, the more superficial muscles such as the abdominals were referred to as the “sleeve” not the core.

This is not to say that the deeper more intrinsic core muscles don’t have a relationship with the superficial extrinsic; they do. But she wouldn’t classify them as core muscles in the way that we commonly do today.

Regardless of how we classify any of these core muscles, there is a more important question to ask.

Why is it so important to understand the core?

In yoga, there are a few reasons that we want to know about the core.

  • Strength and Stability
  • Movement
  • Relationship to Bandha

For many people, abdominal conditioning means six-pack abs. The large muscle responsible for this — the rectus abdominis — may steal the show in terms of appearance, but it could well be the least important abdominal muscle to condition.

The rectus, which is responsible for flexing the spine, is highly visible along the front of the abdomen, reaching from the pubic bone to the lower front ribs. But the less visible and less powerful muscles located deeper in the abdomen are probably more critical to overall health.

The transversus abdominis, in particular, is very important both as a support muscle and as an accessory muscle in breathing. The transversus wraps around much of your lower torso like a corset, supporting the internal organs and stabilizing the torso.

The obliques provide support, too, as well as helping you bend sideways and rotate the torso.

Iliopsoas, consisting of two separate muscles – namely the psoas and the iliacus, situated deep in our abdomen, are close to our centre of gravity, so when we move from our centre, the movements are not only controlled but expansive and light.

Your core musculature, however, includes more than just your abdominal muscles.

It starts at the pelvic floor, the complex triangular mesh of muscles situated in the area of your anus and genitals. Above the pelvic floor are the abdominal muscles, and above those is the diaphragm, the main muscle of respiration.

If you think of your core as a ball with air in it, your pelvic floor forms the bottom of the ball, the diaphragm the top, and the abdominal muscles wrap around the centre.

Yoga’s comprehensive regimen of abdominal work adds up to much more than a firm, flat belly.

Because your abdominal muscles support the proper curves of the spine, a strong core can both improve posture and reduce back pain.

And since the abdominal wall wraps around and holds the abdominal organs, adding support to this area will improve digestion and elimination.

And as you condition your pelvic floor muscles (located at the base of your core), you may notice a boost in your sexual desire and enjoyment.

Finally, as you build core strength, you may find it easier to tap into your third chakra, the power centre just above your navel. Often this connection not only leads to greater muscular strength but also brings more energy into your creative life, work, and relationships.

All yoga poses, from standing postures to twists to inversions to balancing poses, require and build abdominal strength and stability. Yoga conditions the abdominal region for movement and stability and, more than anything, for balance and strength.

In this Workshop we will be building strength on the inside, through the belly, side waist, glutes, and back.

A detailed illustrated list of all positions is available after the workshop too – all the relevant cues to remind you of what to pay attention to.