by Thalia Wynne, PT, DPT, AT, RYT
Have you ever wondered why yogis can balance on their arms or hold handstands seemingly forever while simultaneously making it look easy?
I certainly get entranced when I watch a yogi in the flow start to move gracefully – like dancing. Here’s the secret – graceful yogis have amazingly strong cores. How do I know?
Anatomy and biomechanics tells me so. And I’ve personally watched my body and movement abilities change for the better since beginning my yoga journey. I was always athletic, but I never had the type of connection to my core that I developed when I started my yoga practice.
It’s made life easier. Everything from less overall body fatigue to more definition in my abs (if you care about that sort of thing). But most importantly, I elevate the people around me. I stand taller, and naturally, others mimic that and stand taller too. I have more energy because I’m a more efficient mover, which means I’m kinder to the people I love.
And in my career as a physical therapist, wellness coach, and yoga instructor, I have the pleasure of teaching others how to build their core strength through yoga to bolster functional movement, too.
Think of the core as this 360 container or tree trunk that is the energetic and physical hub of your body. It’s operational headquarters. Meanwhile, corporate headquarters and the CEO lives up in the brain. The brain sends signals down through the nervous system when you decide to move so that you can dress yourself, drive a car, and clean your home. But what happens when the operational headquarters isn’t optimized?
Energy is lost therefore requiring more of your body’s precious resources to move from point A to point B. Optimizing core strength is the key to improving all movement, increasing energy efficiency, and therefore making life easier, more fun, and less tiring.
Here are 3 simple yoga moves you can do right now to bolster functional movement:
- Curl up variations
- stabilizer abs
- 90-90 abs with resisted hip flexion
- juicer abs
- Kumbbhakasana (plank) variations
- forearm plank
- side plank
- fallen triangle
- Setu Bandha Sarvangasana (Bridge) variations
- SL bridge
- side bridge
Allow me to let you in on the real secret to more energy and grace….a strong and functional core while moving through poses aka core strength in transitions.
Once you have the basics down, you can uplevel by learning how to properly brace your core while moving between poses. And this is where you truly become magical – grow taller, feel lighter, increase endurance.
This is truly what creates functional movement. Here are two functional examples of core strength at work:
- Airplane <> ½ moon
- Twisted crescent <> eagle
Practicing moves like these with max core efficiency within a yoga asana practice will build a more efficient energy system. Your body, your mind, and your loved ones will thank you for it when they see the change in how you hold yourself and the brighter demeanor you adopt with your newfound energy.
Try the moves above and make sure to post it on instagram and tag @lytyogamethod and @thalialovee so we can celebrate you and encourage you!
If you aren’t already a subscriber, make sure to check out LYTdaily (insert link) for core-centric yoga classes to joyfully bolster your functional movement.
I’ll see you on the mat, be well.
Your Wellness Guide – empowering you to take up space,
Dr. Thalia Dorsten
PT, DPT, AT, RYT-200
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