Fall week 2/6: Core

We focused on the core this week, although almost every asana and vinyasa between asanas involves using one’s core. May you move in your core power with a little help from the following practice! 🙂

Bird-dog curl (Tuesday) or Downward facing dog to plank curl (Thursday)

Breathe out with the curl, and move slowly and deliberately. “Cinch” your waist as though tightening a belt around it.
Move into 3-legged plank pose first, then curl knee either to nose, or one or other elbow. Press ground away with hands and arch back during curl. Exhale on the curl.

Vasisthasana | Side plank on elbow (Tuesday) or on hand (Thursday)

Keep body in straight line – hips have a tendency to fall back in this pose. Be sure to keep elbow below shoulder, and press well into edge of forearm. Use lower oblique to lift lower hip and ankle.
This variation is the classic side plank, but only practice it if your wrist is not unhappy here. Holding the toe o the upper leg is a more advanced option. Be sure to not let the hips swing back.

Upward facing tabletop (Tuesday) or Purvottanasana | Upward facing plank (Thursday)

Placing a block between legs helps one avoid over-using glutes. Keeping chin in chest prevents neck issues from being exacerbated.
Keep thighs rolling towards one another, and place soles of feet on floor.

Lolasana 

Curl into C-shape, with bellybutton lifting up into spine. If possible, pull feet off floor.

Block under sacrum, extended leg(s): A great counterpose to all the abdominal work is to place the block under the sacrum. Adding the leg lifts shifts the pose into another core working asana.

Raise one leg to hip height, then raise it higher. If you can balance on block without using shoulders, raise one leg and place foot of other leg on thigh, sliding foot down extended leg.

~namaste,

Sylvia

Author: Sylvia Vitazkova, PhD, CYT

Dr. Sylvia K. Vitazkova is a certified yoga teacher, life coach, horsewoman, and conservation biologist. Sylvia’s formal study of yoga began while she was an undergraduate at Cornell University, and intensified when she began to practice Ashtanga Yoga in 1997 while attending Columbia University for doctoral studies in biology. Sylvia soon realized that she wanted to help others experience the consciousness and transformation that her own practice fostered in her and began to teach in 1998, subsequently studying in Mysore, India, in 2002. Sylvia continues to evolve her practice by learning from senior teachers, the most influential of whom has been Barbara Benagh. Her teaching focus is on correct alignment, the joy of being fully present in one’s body, and the psychological and spiritual context within which the physical practice is embedded. Parallel to being a yoga teacher, Sylvia had a full-time career as a professor of Conservation Biology, having taught undergraduate and graduate courses, including a course she created on nature and spirituality, which brought her two areas of expertise together. She has conducted and published the results of her research on wildlife in the tropics, and has been involved in the creation of a number of conservation studies programs. Sylvia’s experience in mentoring students naturally led her to life coaching, in which she became certified through George Mason University in 2014. A lifelong connection with horses has been woven throughout these experiences, from her first pony while a child in Africa, to teaching at riding camp in the U.S., then Claremont Riding Academy in NYC, to the current and ongoing exploration of how yoga can be a tool for better and more connected riding. Sylvia now leads InBodied Living LLC, a wellbeing organization and consultancy, with her partner, James Houston. 

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