Stability and balance are the goals of yoga practise. As yoga practitioners we are not overly concerned with the look of our abdomens as we are with their proper function. Strong abdominal muscles are essential for our good posture, for protection of our spine, they assist in the breathing process as well as in the process of digestion and elimination.
Let’s have a look at few abdominal muscles that are the deep stabilizing muscles of the lower spine and which are the focus of our yoga practise.
Transverse abdominis is the deepest abdominal muscle. It is the ‘corset’ muscle and runs from the bottom of the sternum all the way to the pubic bone. It is the quardian of the spinal joints, ligaments, discs and nerves.
Multifidus are very short muscles of your spine. They don’t allow too much movement as their main function is stability.
Pelvic floor muscles and diaphragm complete the deep stabilisers of the lumbar spine. Diaphragm is very important muscle as it is the main breathing muscle and is responsible for 2/3 of our inhalations. Apart from breathing it is also very important postural muscle helping us stand verticaly and functionally is connected to other abdominal muscles which means that if they are weak our diaphragm and thus breathing will be also affected.
As always in yoga even in the case of our abdominal muscles we are striving for balance. Weak muscles won’t assist our proper posture and spine protection but overly tense abdominal muscles might negatively affect our flexibility. But yoga has you covered as strengthening poses are followed by stretching ones.
The most popular yoga poses for abdominal strength are the Boat and the Plank. Both offer huge number of variations to accommodate your ability.
Breath focus is not forgotten in these stronger positions either which further assist in stimulating our core region.
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