Abdominal strengthening is important regardless of what you do, but especially if you’re looking to improve your mobility, flexibility, and endurance. This is because our abdominal muscles, being at the center of our body, help us move more efficiently, taking the load off other muscles. A developed core can mean you have more energy to perform strenuous sequences, can fold deeper into a stretch, and are able to hold poses for longer.
In this class, we will be going through a wide variety of asanas, including standing poses and forward bends, as well as poses aimed specifically at strengthening our core. The main focus of the class will be to activate our abdominal muscles and notice how big of a role they play in affecting the quality of our movements.
Some of the poses in this class are quite advanced and require a lot of core strength, balance, and focus to perform right. For example, Vasisthasana 2 is an advanced posture that requires a lot of strength in the wrists, shoulders, and arms, on top of the core. You will also need a lot of flexibility in your hamstrings in order to lengthen one leg out to the side. Urdhva Mukha Paschimottanasana can only be performed after the student has acquired a significant amount of strength and stability in the abdominal muscles but it also requires a great sense of balance. Ubhaya Padangusthasana is similar to Urdhva Mukha Paschimottanasana in that you will need a strong core and a significant amount of flexibility in your legs to perform it. Though this is a class for experienced students, some of these asanas might still pose a challenge. So, it’s recommended that you remain honest with yourself about your abilities and your limitations and adjust your practice accordingly. For instance, you could substitute Vasisthasana 2 for the first variation if you find that stretching out the upper leg proves to be so challenging that the integrity of the pose is compromised. As for Urdhva Mukha Paschimottanasana and Ubhaya Padangusthasana, you could try using the wall to support your feet so that you can focus more on strengthening your abdominal muscles without worrying too much about balancing and keeping your legs straight. Of course, balance and flexibility are closely connected to your core strength but it’s important to work at your own pace and to remember that by rushing into variations you’re not yet ready for can result in injury or a situation in which you reinforce the wrong movements and end up not getting the intended benefits of a given pose.