This post is based on a workshop that I recently taught at Adeline Yoga studio. We worked on developing awareness of the deeper areas of our core (the area of the pelvis up to the lower ribs) and cultivating an understanding of the imbalances in our core that may be leading to other issues and injuries. Much of this workshop was inspired by my dear friend and colleague Carrie Owerko. I have included her videos below. She also has a fabulous new series for download that you might consider for home practice. Check it out here!
We started the class with Urdhva Prasarita Padasana (legs resting up the wall) and used our hands and the floor to explore the touch points of our pelvis.
Then we used Chattush Padasana (bridge pose) as a means for exploring imbalances across our core. We lifted one leg at a time observing what was working and what was failing on each side and the imbalances that occurred not just in the hips and core but all the way up into the shoulders and neck.
Next, another exercise from Carrie Owerko, demonstrated in this video which works with balance as a means for exploring core strength. In particular, we worked on accessing the strength of the outer hips and observing the differences in lower back length.
Then, we moved to some balancing standing poses: Vrksasana (tree pose) using the wall; Virabhadrasana III (warrior 3) using a chair (also in Carrie's Video); and Ardha Chandrasana (half moon pose) using a chair.
Not shown in the photos is a vinyasa sequence we did moving from Vrksasana to Ardha Chandrasana to Virabhadrasana III then in the reverse order back to Vrksasana. In my own practice, I have been playing with doing this on a block! Such fun!
Next, we got down to what we traditionally call "core strength" exercises. Urdhva Prasarita Padasana (upward facing legs) which is a leg lift. We used support under the hips at first to protect those with lower back issues. Then, we tried the "full pose" with the arms over head.
Then, we did Jathara Parivrttasana (revolved abdomen pose) which accesses the lateral core strength. We used the mat as a props to keep the shoulder blades fixed into the floor as a means for finding the muscles of the lateral abdominal vs. flopping into the floor!
We completed the class with resting in Supta Baddha Konasana (reclining bound angle pose) and Urdhva Prasarita Padasana (legs up the wall).