Daily Core Yoga by Sue FullerCore Yoga by Sue Fuller 

The core muscles respond well to slow controlled movements, making yoga the perfect activity to strengthen this group of muscles. 

When yoga is performed mindfully with awareness the deep muscles of the lumbar spine, pelvis and abdominal region will naturally strengthen.  Most yoga postures will involve activating one or more of the core muscles so these muscles gradually become stronger as your yoga practise grows. 

Even sitting in the easy pose also known as Sukhasana engages the core muscles to help maintain and support a straight spine.  All balancing postures require the core muscles to be active making it possible to maintain correct alignment and balance successfully on one leg. 

Other stronger yoga postures such as boat, plank, side plank and dolphin also really target the core muscles. 

Often there is some ambiguity as to which muscles the core consists of.  It is quite usual to consider any muscle that provides stability to the torso, pelvis and lower back as forming part of the group of muscles commonly referred to as the core. 

Including…..   

Transversus abdominus, this is one of the major muscles of the core.  It is the deepest of the abdominal muscles and acts like a girdle providing support to the trunk and all of the abdominal contents. 

The internal and external obliques rotate and allow lateral movement of the trunk. 

Rectus Abdominus works with all of the other core muscles to stabilise the pelvis. 

Erector Spinae is responsible for back extensions and is vital to help strengthen and support the trunk. 

Multifidus is the deep muscle on either side of the spine and provides stability for the spine.

The Pelvic Floor Muscles provide support for the internal organs such as the bladder, intestines and uterus (in women). 

In addition to the muscles of the torso, some of the muscles of the upper thigh and pelvis are also regarded as forming part of the core group of muscles.

These include the hip flexors, abductors (along the outside of your thighs) and adductors, (along the inside of your thighs).

And also the hamstrings and gluteal muscles (bottom or buttocks).

All of these muscles work together to provide stability for the spine and pelvis.  They support the body when we sit, stand or move.  They also reduce strain on the spine and minimise any pressure that is placed on our joints.    

As yoga moves the body in all directions, slowly and mindfully it becomes even more apparent that a well-structured yoga class will help increase and maintain core strength.

Yoga will also develop core strength by ensuring each muscle group is worked evenly.  Yoga brings the body into physical balance and irons out imbalances, helping us reach optimum levels of physical health. 

The Core Muscles and the Chakras 

In addition to our physical well-being the core muscles influence our energetic body by stimulating and supporting the lower three chakras. 

The root charka (Muladhara) is at the base of the spine represents stability, security, survival and trust. 

The sacral charka (Swadhistana) is placed between the root charka and the navel represents desire and cravings. 

The solar plexus charka (Manipura) positioned between the navel and the sternum represents self-confidence and when balanced will reveal personal comfort.   

When these charkas are balanced we usually feel grounded, secure, confident, in control and energised. 

Introduction to Core Yoga by Sue FullerTo strengthen and maintain a strong core try the Yoga 2 Hear Core Yoga classes.  

Sue Fuller has created an extensive range of high quality audio yoga classes suitable for all levels of yoga experience.  Classes are available on CD and MP3 from www.yoga2hear.co.uk .