core

I love yoga. But sit ups… not so much. In fact, I used to fancy myself too good for gym-like ab exercises and if a yoga teacher ever weaved them into class, I would say to myself, “this is not yoga” and proceed to not do them. That was, until I found out how important a strong core is to a powerful, graceful yoga practice… and life in general. And also, gave up the snobbery. 

And since that realization, I’ve been exploring the world of ab exercises pretty heartily. And as a yoga teacher myself, I am now weaving them into my own classes. Yay burning belly.

But, above all others, I have found the queen of core exercises. This one move done for a mere 30 seconds (with proper alignment) gave me some serious next-day soreness (which I found delightful). Incorporate the “banana boat,” which I learned from fellow teacher Judy Bussell at Square One Yoga Collective in Emeryville, for an undeniably powerful core. 

How to Do It

Begin lying on your back. Reach your arms long up overhead, and if your shoulders allow, join your palms together. Zip everything in real tight.

On an inhale, lift your legs a few inches to a foot off the earth, and then do the same with your arms, head and shoulders. Be mindful to keep your head in line with your arms. You are now in the shape of a banana (or a boat). 

Moving from your core here and drawing your lower back down towards the earth, begin to rock up and down the spine, moving with the breath. Inhale forward, exhale back. Try to maintain the banana shape without letting arms or legs touch down or lift too high. 

Work it for as long as you can and then stretch long, reaching through your fingertips and toetips. Try another round if you dare. And another. Let me know how it feels tomorrow. 

Love this? Check out 1 Move for Sustained Energy, too. 

image: Shandi-lee