Hello friends! Here we are, that stretch between Thanksgiving + New Years. Things certainly feel a little different than usual this year. I will be going to Arizona for a month, rather than one week in November and one in December. This seemed like a relatively safe option and I have the rare opportunity to teach remotely, see my family for the first time since February and be in the warm sunshine (and out of my tiny, near windowless apartment). Overall, it's for my mental health. I will be baking with my sister, hiking the Arizona mountains with my parents and lounging in the sunshine in the afternoons.
I hope you take good and gentle care of yourselves as the days get shorter, the weather gets colder and the pandemic rages on. Take epsom salt baths, light your favorite candles and remember that movement - yoga and exercise - is so important to your mental health.
My offering to you this week: core exercises to support and protect your lower back, using blocks for added fun (or not fun, I'll let you be the judge of that). Strengthening your core muscles is important for stability and balance, so the muscles in your pelvis, hips, abdomen and lower back can work harmoniously. With a stronger core, you are less likely to rely on your back to do a lot of work day-to-day and in turn less prone to chronic lower back pain. You can do the following poses without the block, but some playful energy with props will make this a little more interesting 😊 Enjoy!
The 4 anterior abdominal muscles
Rectus abdominis - positioned between ribs and pubic bone, are superficial, but important to healthy posture. Crunches will work this muscle (and gain the "6-pack abs").
External obliques - positioned on either side of the rectus abdominis, controls the trunk of your body to twist. If you are turning to the right, the left side EO are working. Side-planks and similar poses will strengthen.
Internal obliques - below the Rectus Abdominis and inside of the hip bones and are also for turning the trunk of your body. Both sides contract when you turn left or right.
Transverse abdominis - the deepest of the 4 muscles, key for maintaining a strong and functional core and stabilization. This is what we aim to contract when yoga teachers say, "pull your belly button towards your spine!"
Do the following with 10 reps on each side, repeat 2 - 3 times
**Opposite arm and leg - right arm up when left leg is extended, then switch
*This one is hard! Start with 5 reps on each side, increase when it gets easier
Be safe and healthy!