Core strength is a big part of an athletic yoga practice, and it's something I've always lacked. In my lowest point, I was having major lower back pain as well as ab injuries all the time from doing simple stuff at the gym. My husband was sort of going through a similar thing, and when a trainer advised him to strengthen his core and said it would help his back pain and probably help him not to tweak his abs doing regular stuff, we both decided to work harder to up our core strength.
Now, nothing irritates me as much as the lactic acid burn from core work but I will say that I noticed when I stuck with it and incorporated ab work a few times a week, I saw a huge difference not only in my strength, but as predicted, my back and ab issues dissolved.
Ab work is still one of my least favorite things to do (right up there with hamstrings) but I force myself to stick with it. This is an exercise I like throwing in the middle of a personal practice. I use a cork yoga block for this because it's just the right weight to make me work. Total beginners may want to use a foam block which is much lighter.
1. Sit up and put the block between your legs. Engage the legs until you feel the inner thighs contract.
2. Slowly, super slowly, lower down as shown.
3. Sit up (try to avoid swinging up with momentum - rather, use your core strength to slowly lift up) and exchange the block from your legs to your hands.
4. Slowly, super slowly, lower down as shown.
Repeat for 1-3 minutes. Or 15-30 times depending on your level. Then, rest.
Hope you enjoy! Haha, just kidding, no one enjoys this!
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