At Yoga 216, we just added Core Conditioning back on to our schedule of semi-private classes. You asked and asked, and finally, we found a way to give it the come back it deserves.
Not that we ever had anything against core training –none at all! You might even say, addressing your “core” –physical and not– is the focus of what we do at 216. We even named our first Next Level Workshop after it! (“Core Work” is a month of deep learning designed to hone in on the essentials of your practice.)
So, what makes you all love Core Conditioning so much?
The Core Conditioning class teaches you how to stabilize and move your trunk. Doing that requires “core” strength. Your “core” includes muscles of the spine, shoulder, and hip. Core Conditioning strengthens these muscles.
But it’s not just the mechanics of the thing that inspires you to give up your Sunday morning training your core. It’s what that training ends up doing for you when you’re not thinking about it.
You need good core strength to keep the spine healthy when walking, standing, and sitting… and anytime you lift weight or create force with your limbs. Think of what happens when you pick something up off the floor. To get back up, you 1) create tension in your legs, 2) transfer that force through the trunk to 3) move the weight in your arms up against gravity.
You know that saying “lift with your legs, not with your back”? That saying is the above 1-2-3 with a braced core and stable spine. It’s telling you to use your core to support your spine (avoiding strain) while transferring the force from your legs. That’s something many of us have lost the ability to do well. (We did have it once! Ask any toddler to pick something up off the floor, and if they comply, it will be with perfect form.)
Without “proper” core activation and trunk stability, you can end up carrying the load of life in your back, hip, and shoulders. And after a while, you’re likely to feel that as pain and restriction.
This unwitting substitution is not unlike leaning on a “bad” habit to feel grounded or in control. It won’t look bad at the time –at the time, it’s getting the job done. After all, you’re staying in one piece, right?
Like when you take on more hours at work, and start drinking an extra cup of coffee to get through. Nothing wrong with that, right? Well, no… until you realize that the extra coffee is masking an energy imbalance. You need more rest and less extra work!
There’s nothing wrong with drinking coffee, but in this case, the extra cup becomes a “bad” habit because, in truth, it’s not getting the job done. Instead, it’s masking the absence of functional energy balance.
When you make time to train and strengthen your core, you’re preparing yourself to avoid that substitution that can lead to pain and restriction.
Yoga teaches you to use a different kind of core
In Core Conditioning, we teach you how to tap into your core strength and make smart use of trunk stability. Through everything we do at Yoga 216 –from weekly privates, classes, and treatments to Teacher Training to our annual Mexico Retreat— we teach you the tools to tap into all kinds of “core” strength.
Just as Core Conditioning can teach you how to support your spine, yoga can help you uncover what bolsters you, what grounds you, and what moves you.
Yoga introduces you to… you.
And getting to know this core you is key to “maintaining functional energy balance”. In other words, it’s a way to find joy, peace, and love in every moment.
How can you learn to strengthen your core well-being as well as your core muscles? Start with the things and the people you love. Find little ways to give them the energy and time needed for you to feel whole.
If yoga class is one of those things, make time to come! If a girls’ night out with your best ladies is one of those things, make sure they know how important it is to you so that you all show up. If an afternoon of silly movies is one of those things, don’t be shy about it! And once it’s on the calendar, make it non-negotiable!!! If that means you manage no more than once a month, it will still be worth it, I promise.
That once a month will make a difference in your life. Maybe only a little bit at a time, but that’s exactly how the most useful core strength comes about. With a little bit of practice and effort, applied consistently, over time.
Hari om tat sat, yogis!*
* Live your life fully connected to Self!