Yoga Journal, March 16, 2015
To read the article click here.
Yoga Girl’s Spring Break Core + Balance Sequence
Yoga teacher and Instagram star Rachel Brathen—aka “Yoga Girl” to her more than 1 million followers—is giving YJ readers a sneak peek at her new book. Visualize yourself on an Aruban beach while you work through these core, balance, and shoulder poses.
Good core strength is important for the practice of yoga, as well as for our well-being as a whole. Your abdominals support your lower back, the spine, and the internal organs. If you suffer from lower back pain, chances are you need to strengthen the core to help support the lumbar area of the spine. Our core is also where our sense of confidence lies, the base for how we walk through life.
The exercises in this sequence can be done as part of a full yoga session or separately on their own. Think about engaging the belly and pulling the lower ribs in toward the spine to connect to the transverse abdominals.
The neck and shoulders are where we tend to hold a lot of stress and tension, and if you spend lots of time sitting in front of the computer, these exercises will be great for you. You can even do them at your desk at the office! Sit on the edge of a chair, keeping your spine long and a yoga strap or a belt close by to use if you need it.
I love that the things we do in our yoga practice truly help us create better posture even off the yoga mat. “Draw the shoulders down the back” or “Lengthen the spine,” common yoga cues, work just as well when you’re stuck in traffic or standing in line at the grocery store.
We need balance in all parts of our lives, and the yoga mat is a great place to start cultivating that! Plant your feet firmly on the ground so that you can grow tall without losing your balance in life.
STEP 1 Lie down. Extend both legs straight up toward the sky so that the ankles line up with the hips. Press the balls of the feet up toward the sky and spread your toes (we call this “flointing” the feet!); this will help engage the inner thighs and activate the legs. Connect the two big toes together and keep your arms down by your sides. Inhale here.
STEP 2 Exhale and lower the legs until they’re hovering right above the ground. Keep the two big toes together the entire time and make sure that the back of the head and the shoulders are still resting on the mat. Engage your core!
STEP 3 Inhale and lift the legs back up. Repeat as many times as you can while still keeping the breath steady (try 20!), always moving with the flow of the inhales and exhales.
Also see 7 Poses for Core Strength