Yoga for Core Strength
Agnieszka Olechowska, Yoga Teacher at YOU Massage Therapy, Southampton, describes how Yoga is not just for flexibility and relaxation
Some people associate yoga exercises with muscle flexibility rather than strength. Students coming to my classes often ask how long it’s going to take for them to perform splits or back bends. Flexibility is, to some people, the main goal with their Asana practice. However, although muscle stretching to aid and improve flexibility plays an important role in a typical yoga class, we shouldn’t forget about simultaneously developing our strength.
Strong muscles play an important part in supporting the joints and protecting them from damage. The weaker our muscles are, the less stable our joints become. Prolonged imbalance can lead to chronic pain and this in turn makes us involuntarily take it easy on the muscles by unconsciously avoiding movements that cause discomfort or pain. The muscles can then become progressively weaker and a vicious circle arises.
Some people may associate strength with gym bodies with their chiseled abs and generally well-developed musculature. This is another popular misconception: Simply having carved muscles doesn’t necessarily make us strong and functional humans. Yoga practice itself won’t turn our abs into a dreamed-of six-pack, but it offers much more than just boosting appearance. Practiced regularly, it helps to develop core muscle stability which positively impacts our physical health.
What is the core and why is core strength and stability so important?