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  • Ashtanga Yoga Plymouth

A happy back requires a strong core

As we enter each and every posture in class, I always remind students to engage their bandha (core)

While headstands and other more advanced postures may be fun to work towards, the standing and foundational postures are really the basis of the whole practice as we start to activate the bandha and learn to connect it with the breath, and then we can transfer all that we learn here to the more complex postures.

This drawing inwards and upwards of the belly as we forward fold, twist, invert, and of course, everything in between, completely supports and strengthens our whole torso, while allowing us to feel lighter on our limbs.

Combining that with a deep diaphragmatic breath gives our postures a huge amount of strength and stability, while also leaving us with a feeling of lightness and mobility. So our practice becomes more buoyant and graceful as we get that ‘floating’ feeling, not stressing our arms, legs or back, which in turn helps prevent us feeling fatigued when holding a challenging posture or doing what seems like the millionth chaturanga!😉

The activation of the bandha is a gentle ‘stillness’ in the abdomen rather than a strong hardening, and this continual light engagement of our internal muscles during our practice, as well as while participating in everyday life and other movement activities continually supports the spine which, of course, is extremely beneficial, helping avoid discomfort, pain or even injury, and especially important as we age.

As some of my students know, before I discovered Ashtanga yoga, at around 40 I herniated a disc. My physio said my core wasn’t strong enough to support my back, even though I was doing lots of various exercise! However, once I started practicing Ashtanga, I found that DEEP engagement and my back has been great ever since so, now in my late 50s, my back has never been more stable, flexible and strong 💪👌

More great reasons to practice Ashtanga yoga 😀

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