Have you ever heard someone say that?
“Use your core!”
Maybe it was a trainer, a dance teacher, or perhaps a yoga instructor! That’s because (as I’m sure you already know) your core muscles are imperative to protecting many other parts of your body!
We wouldn’t be preaching (aka screaming) it so much if it wasn’t important.
There are many types of core workouts and exercises specifically for your abdominal muscles. And I’m not saying they’re ineffective. They are, when done correctly.
Part of the problem is that people don’t do the exercises correctly.
The other part of the problem I’ll discuss below.
Or, if you wanna check out my Yoga for Core and Muscle Strengthening on myYogaTeacher, you’ll see the differences for yourself! We’d love to have you!
Not a myYogaTeacher member yet? Really?! You’ve got to check it out. Get your 2-week free trial here and experience my class and over 35 others. There’s a yoga class for everyone. Literally!
In the meantime, let’s dive into how yoga for your core is different – and more beneficial – than traditional core exercises.
Why would you spend all your time conditioning individual muscle groups when you could be working multiple muscle groups all at once?
Yoga is a dynamic practice. Meaning you’ll be working your core while doing everything from something simple like tree pose to something more complicated like plough pose.
And everything in between. There is almost never a time during a yoga session when you’re not using your core.
Except in savasana, of course. Where you absolutely deserve to not use your core!
And speaking of dynamics…
So not only are you using your core in almost every single yoga pose, in ever single yoga session, you are using those muscles differently than you would with traditional ab exercises.
For example, in boat pose, you’re working your upper and lower abdominal muscles, even your obliques. You’re also working your thighs, glutes, and your arms! All in one move.
There are lots of yoga poses specifically for your core muscles.
Plank, for instance. Plank is a part of a regular yoga practice or flow. You’ll work your arms, shoulders, back, glutes, thighs and every single ab muscle you’ve got.
Trust me. You’ll feel it!
Any core yoga pose will work more than just one muscle group, unlike traditional ab exercises.
Do you know how easy it is to injure yourself doing traditional ab exercises?
It is. Mostly because people do the exercises incorrectly. Which is easy to do when you’re tired or straining one group or set of muscles.
Crunches, for instance. A seemingly simple exercise.
When you’re tired or your core is tired, you will have a tendency to pull on the back of your neck or lead with your head instead of your abs. This puts a ton of strain on your neck and spine and can cause injury.
Using various different ab machines can put strain on other muscles and not even help you strengthen your abdominal muscles at all.
There are plenty of other examples I could give, but suffice it to say that yoga is just safer. One, you’re using your core even when the asana isn’t focused on your core. Two, yoga is all about body awareness and bringing harmony to your inner and outer self.
Which means if you’re straining in areas where you shouldn’t be, you’ll realize it fairly quickly and know how to correct it.
You know traditional core workouts are boring. I’ll admit it for you so you don’t have to.
Does anyone actually like doing ab workouts? No, probably not.
That’s because they are the exact same “tried and true” exercises that have been taught and preached to us for years and years and years.
But guess what? Yoga is older than those exercises! (You probably knew that already)
There are hundreds – possibly thousands – of different yoga flows. There are over 20 different types of yoga. Combined with the many different yoga poses, this means that the possibilities of core workouts are almost endless!
You could probably do something different every single day for the rest of your life!
Can you say that about traditional ab workouts? No. Because it’s the same exercises just in different sequences. There’s usually only one way to do them too. Which is very limiting.
Isn’t that what we all want?
Flatter, stronger abdominal muscles?
A strong core protects our back, our entire skeletal system. Having a flat tummy helps prevent things like heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, heart attacks, diabetes, and even asthma!
Something you don’t get with traditional abdominal exercises is cardio.
Not all yoga provides cardio, of course, But there are many types that do. As a matter of fact, some types of yoga burn more calories per hour than many conventional exercises like running, the elliptical, or swimming.
The point is, yoga is a safe, healthy all in one form of exercise with benefits that far exceed a strong core and loss of belly fat!
Want to see for yourself? Take my Yoga for Core and Muscle Strengthening class for a test run! Let me know you read this blog post and I’ll be sure to talk about it in class. If you haven’t joined myYogaTeacher yet, you definitely should. Here’s the link again to get your 2-week free trial. You’ll have access to all the classes that MYT has to offer and can even chat with the instructors, all of which are expert yoga teachers!
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