How To Get Strong Core With Yoga?

Are you looking for ways to get strong core? Did you know that instead of doing sit-ups, practising yoga is one of the best ways to get strong core muscles? The best yoga poses to build the core also have some other health benefits for the body and the mind.

Yoga offers many health benefits, one of them being its fantastic ability for building strong core muscles. There are many different asanas that will help you build a strong core, both on novice and advanced level, but the ones that I have selected for this article, have additional benefits, which make them great for your body and mind.

What Are Core Musles?

core muscles

 

Our core does not only contain abs, but is rather a collection of muscles, including everything except your back and legs. The following are considered major core muscles:

  • Pelvic floor muscles
  • Transversus abdominal muscles
  • Multifidus
  • Both internal and external obliques
  • Longissimus thoracis
  • Diaphragm

These are the minor core muscles:

  • Lassimus dorsi
  • Gluteus maximus
  • Trapezius

How To Get Strong Core Practising Yoga

Strong core doesn’t only form a base for all the yoga poses, but it also makes a big difference in your whole life, offering great health benefits, as everything from walking, sitting, lifting and other sports activities become much easier.

Yoga offers ways to strengthen the core muscles, especially the deep core, which is difficult to strengthen with traditional sit-ups and back lifts among other typical gym exercises.

The three poses I present in this post are specifically chosen due to the exceptional benefits they offer both for your body and your mind.

Before starting the with the specific poses to build your core muscles, I suggest that you perform some surya namaskar, sun salututions, to warm up your muscles and practise your breathing. Besides surya namaskar also offers great benefit for your core.

Please note that these poses are for more advanced yoga practiser and if you are new to yoga, you should learn the correct alignment and breathing techniques by following one of the suggestions in my beginners guide.

Naukasana – Boat Pose

Naukasana is a Sanskrit word, that is comprised of two separate words: Nauka – Boat and Asana – Yoga pose.

This great pose doesn’t only strengthen and tone your abdominal muscles, but it also strengthens the hamstrings, spine and hip flexors! Besides it improves your balance.

Additionally it also improves your digestion, stimulates your intestines, kidneys and thyroids. For men it offers a unique sexual health benefit by benefiting the prostate glands.

Naukasana also offer mental benefits by offering stress relief and improves confidence.

Boat pose

How to Perform Naukasana

  1. Lie on your back, arms beside your body and feet together
  2. Breath in deeply
  3. Exhale and pull in your core, at the same time lift your chest and feet of the ground simultaneously.
  4. Stretch your hands and feet forward forming a V shape.
  5. Check your toes and fingers are in line.
  6. Breath deeply while you hold this pose unto 2mins
  7. Exhale and slowly return back to your mat

Variations

This pose has several variations, the side version of this pose is very good way of training your obliques.

Boat Pose Side

This pose becomes more effective, the longer you can hold it. Make sure you don’t hold your breath and if you move from one side to the other, make a stop in the centre on your way, only moving with the breath.

Pay attention to your form, keep your back straight and your shoulders pushed back. You can perform an easier version of this pose by keeping your legs bent from the knees, either on the ground or holding them in the air.

Sirsasana – Headstand

Sirsasana is a Sanskrit word, that is comprised of two separate words: Sirsa – Head and Asana – Yoga pose.

Headstand is a major core workout, you are using your core strength to control the movement of getting in and out of this pose, holding up your legs and keeping your balance. In fact it’s impossible to do this pose unless you poses enough core strength.

Besides strengthening your core, it also helps you to strengthen arms and shoulders. Additionally this pose also optimises the flow of nutrients to the neck and head, including eyes and scalp, hence helping to flush the adrenal glands, delivering extra oxygen and nutrients.

Sirsasana also improves digestion, relieves stress and increases focus!
headstand

How to Perform Sirsasana

There are many ways to perform headstand, advanced yogis and yoginis do not really think about getting into this pose and don’t necessarily perform all the step. However the way below is the easiest way to perform this pose in a controller matter.

  1. Sit in kneeling pose
  2. Bend forward and place the hands on the floor with fingers crossed, making a triangle with your arms.
  3. Place the top of the head between the fingers, hold it firmly.
  4. Move forward lifting your buttocks and thighs.
  5. Move the knees slightly inwards to your abdomen. Push on your hands and list the trunk and legs of of the ground.
  6. Lift the whole trunk further up untill it is perpendicular to the ground.  Now your weight is supported by the hands and your head.
  7. Lift and slowly move the legs from the front to the back. The legs will be hanging freely at the back. (the variation of this pose)
  8. Lift your legs up and aligning them with the rest of the body, making them perfectly vertical and putting your entire body weight on your arms and head.
  9. Stay in this position as long as possible breathing normally. Please note that you need some strength to get down as well.
  10. To return back to the ground bend the knees and lower the thighs bringing the thighs, bringing them close to the body.
  11. Drop the legs so that the toes touch the ground.
  12. Release the hand position and enter the child pose.
  13. Rest in child pose for 2 minutes.

Variations

There are several variations for the headstand, most famous being a supported headstand, either against a helper or a wall. This is beneficial for the beginners, who have not yet developed the strength to get into the this pose in controller fashion and holding it.

Some less known variations include the Salambasirsasana, a great way for a beginner to start a non supported headstand. It is also common to do movements with the legs, playing on the balance, while maintaining strong core and control of the movement.

head stand backbend

This variation is also a gateway to scorpion, much more advanced pose, including lifting the head forward and placing the hands in a different support position.

Phalakasana – Plank Pose

Phalakasana is a Sanskrit word, that is comprised of two separate words: Phalaka – Board and Asana – Yoga pose.

One of the best known core exercises, for good reason. It tones all the core muscles in your body, working the ones around spine very effectively. Additionally phalakasana gives a great workout for the chest, arms, wrists and shoulders, strengthening them for arm balances and more advanced poses.

This pose is absolutely amazing for your stamina and endurance. It does wonders to your nervous system, hence thereby bringing more balance into our lives.
Plank Pose

How to Perform Phalakasana

  1. Begin this pose on all fours.
  2. Tighten your core and spread your fingers, pushing your weight to your arms
  3. Step back with your feed and bring your body and head in a straight line.
  4. Don’t let hips sink by squeezing your buttocks.
  5. Breath normally and stay in this pose as long as you can

This pose can be performed in several ways, often all three are performed for the optimal benefit. The basic plank pose is part of Surya Namaskar and therefore performed as part of Ashtanga series and most vinyasa flows, as well as in Hatha yoga warm up routine.

It is also mentioned as one of the basic asanas in the famous yoga sutras by Patanjali.

Plank pose variationPlank variation

This pose looks easy, but it’s not, remember to not to hold your breath! You can start by performing this pose only for few minutes and advancing to 5 minutes at the time by trying to hold the pose few seconds longer every day.

It is better to stick your buttocks a little bit in the air, like seen in the picture with the lowest pose variation, than let them sink towards the ground. Maintain strong core at all times by pulling your belly bottom towards your spine.

The longer you hold this pose, more effective it becomes. The different ways of performing this pose make it more or less intensive on hands, arms and shoulders, but all of them work the core muscles very effectively.

Variations

This pose has massive amount of variations, one of the most common one being the side plank. This again has several variations, some of which can seen below, each with their own benefits and all beneficial for the core.

Side Plankside plankSide Plank

My Loving advice

Working on the core should be part of any well balanced exercise. Two of poses are not dynamic and therefore not part of vinyasa flows. They however for an important part of basic Hatha yoga practise.

It’s always good to rest in a child pose after performing intensive core exercises! It allow you to recuperate and recover your breathing.

child pose

There are many other poses, which work the core effectively and it’s always a good idea to vary your weekly practise. You should perform core exercises 3-5 times a week for the optimal benefits.

If you have enjoyed my article about how to get strong core, or have any question of these core exercise, their benefits or want to know more effective ways of working your core, leave me a comment below.

 

ॐ Love and Strength,

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What Is Yoga Sutras All About? Learn With Us!

You will know yoga for sure, but do you know what yoga sutras is all about? Yoga Sutras of Patanjali are 196 sutras or aphorisms, compiled from other much older sources before 400 CE by Indian called Sage Patanjali.

Yoga and pranayamas have been practised and promoted for thousands of years across the globe, entusing people across languages, nationalities, races and religions.

Yoga sutras makes it clear that yoga is a philosophy, not a religion or exercise and it’s primary aim is to remain healthy by attaining a balance between body, mind and soul.

Now, the teachings of yoga.

Yoga Sutra 1.1

What is Yoga Sutras All About

“May practise of yoga lead to reduction in suffering and increase in happiness by better focus in spiritual practise”

Translation from Sanskrit pre yoga sutras source

पतञ्जलियोगसूत्रम्

patañjali yoga sūtram

Yoga Sutras is the collection of ancient yoga texts, assembled by Indian Sage Patanjali 1700 years ago. They describe the eight limbs of yoga, offering guidelines to purposeful and meaningful life.

Who Was Sage Patanjali

Sage Patanjali is considered as one of the true Indian renaissance man. Besides the yoga sutras he is famous for, he also wrote extensive literature both in Ayurveda, defining the concept of doshas, and about the Sanskrit language and its grammar.

Surprisingly little is known about Patanjali and it is thought his teachings are perhaps an outcome of a group effort, spanning over several generations the work passing on from one teacher to the other.

There is also a myth of his birth. He was sent by God Vishnu to teach yoga on Earth in a human form as an reincarnation of thousand headed serpent Remainder to a powerful virgin yogini called Gonika, who took him in and nurtured him as her own son.

Yoga Sutras Explained

Nowadays anyone can read yoga sutra, it has been translated to many different languages from the original Sanskrit and you can even listen to them in audio files!

However in the ancient times, it took years of yoga practise and commitment by the novice to be allowed to read the spiritual teachings of the yoga sutra and start the chanting of its verses.

Yoga sutras purpose is to teach a philosophy to live ethical, meaningful and purposeful life, by defining the spiritual disciplines, divine powers and the realisations that can be achieved by yoga practise.

They are divided into four parts:

  1. Samadhi Pada – Concentration
  2. Sadhana Pada – Practice
  3. Vibhuti Pada – Progressing
  4. Kaivalya Pada – Liberation

Samadhi Pada

The first yoga sutra starts by answers the basic question: What is Yoga by explaining yoga is mastery and integration of the activities of the mind.

yoga sutra 1-14

 

It goes on explaining the importance of practice, concentration, effort and commitment. It talks about different ways of concentration, importance of aum as a shortcut to peace of mind and stabilising and clearing the mind.

Sadhana Pada

The second yoga sutra starts by talking about different colouring of thoughts and dealing with them. It then moves on to talk about karma and how to break alliance to it.

Next the text describes the eight limbs of yoga that the practiser has to follow on the path to enlightenment:

  1. Yama – restrain and self control
  2. Niyama – Activities and habits
  3. Asana – Yoga postures
  4. Pranayama – Yoga breathing exercises
  5. Pratyahara – Food and diet
  6. Dharana – Concentration and focus
  7. Dhyana – Meditation, contenplation and reflection
  8. Samadhi – State of meditative consciousness

Namas and Niyamas are defined next. They are the ethical rules of both yoga and Hinduism, containing commandments, morals, rules and goals. Their benefits are explained in more details.

Asanas, the yoga poses are described in disciplining the body, before moving on to pranayamas, the breathing exercises, and their benefits. The importance of vegetarian food and diet is emphasised for the connection of the body and mind.

Lotus

 

Vibhuti Pada

The third yoga sutra is used to explain the concepts of meditation and meditative state. It explored deeper concepts such as samyama, the practice and simultaneous experiencing of Dharan and Dhyana, complete focus and meditation.

It goes on to explore the different stages such as internal stage, leaving the body and moving into an other body. It talks about the knowledge and experiences of the renunciation and finally liberation by these practises.

Meditation

 

Kaivalya Pada

Third yoga sutra concentrates on the practise and experience obtained with it, leading to the mastery of the body and the mind.

The connection of actions and karma are explained before moving on to the memory and subconsciousness. The concept of 3 gunas, personality types in explained, together with different stages of mind.

The fourth yoga suttra ends in enlightenment and how following the eight legs of yoga can lead to it. It talks about the chances that the person who has reached the enlightenment experiences in their knowledge, meditation, gunas and physical well being.

meditate

 

My Loving Advice

Yoga sutras can only be understoods by regular practice of yoga. I first came across them when I started to study Sanskrit more than 20 years ago and only finally understood their full meaning when I studied them with the lead of my yoga guru.

Yoga sutras define the eight paths of yoga and these are basis for the every modern yoga teacher education. The yoga sutras  outline a philosophy for the every yogi and yogini to live by. It makes it clear that meditation and pranayamas are an important part of yoga practise.

If you are a beginner and want to know how to start yoga practice, take a look at my article: Starting Yoga Practice. Meditation is also an essential part of yoga and my article: Benefits of Meditation talks about how it can positively influence your life.

I hope you have enjoyed my introduction to yoga sutras and learned what yoga sutras is all about! If you have any questions of comments, please leave a message below.

 

 Love and Clarity of the Mind,

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Organifi Green Juice Reviews – Scam or True?

Organifi Green Juice reviews boast about the health benefits of  11 super foods in one delicious drink. Can this elixir really ease stress, boost energy and erase belly fat as the reviews claim?

Organifi Green Juice is a healthy drink that contains 11 superfoods, which are dehydrated into powder form. You can mix the powder with water, nut milks, or use it in your smoothies.

Like all Organifi products, the green juice is USDA Certified Organic, vegan and GMO, gluten, dairy and soy free.

Organifi Green Juice Reviews

These amazing Organifi Green Juice reviews promise everything for fast weight loss and improved health to increased vitality and energy levels. It also claims anti-aging properties, which help to detoxify your body and rejuvenate your skin.

Can a single drink really do all this or is it just an other clever health scam? Before we make any conclusions, let’s take a closer look at Organifi Green Juice.

Organifi Ingredients

This dehydrated powder contains the following fantastic organic ingredients:

Moringa

This plant contains all the essential amino acids essential to the body. Amino acids are the necessary building blocks for protein needed to grow and repair cell and maintain their functions.

It also contains many anti-aging compounds such as vitamin C and beta-carotene, which lower inflamations.

Chlorella

This green algae is super high in protein and contains plenty of healthy polyunsaturated fats. It is also a good source for minerals iron and magnesium. It is commonly known as a detox herb as it binds heavy metals and other chemicals, helping to cleanse the body.

Mint

Fresh MintThis fragrant herb is a popular ingredient in many dishes and drinks. Mint has been used for decades for aiding digestion, relieving cramps and inducing good sleep.

It is great for reducing infections and inflammations.

Sprirulina

A great source for plant based protein! This plant is also rich in vitamins A, K1, K2, B12 and minerals iron, manganese, chromium and calcium. The Central American Aztecs where the first to discover this food and consumed it daily for boosting strength and energy.

Matcha Green Tea

Japanese love this and it’s consumed specially in Buddhist monasteries. Matcha contains large amounts of EGCG antioxidant, which regulates hormones, reduces stress and reduces appetite.

Ashwagandha

AshwagandhaAshwagandha is a powerful adaptogen, made of amino acids, vitamins and herbs, which help against stress caused by changing environment and toxins.

Lemon

High in vitamin C, calcium, potassium and pectin fibre.  This citrus fruit is an incredible appetite suppressor and has been used for thousands of years to cool and alkalise the body. All of this is crucial for blood-sugar stabilisation.

Beets

beets

These fantastic roots are high in antioxidants, manganese and folate.  They can help you to lower blood pressure, prevent dementia and boost sports performance.

Wheatgrass

This nutritious grass is known as the life blood of plant life. Ancient egyptians worshipped wheatgrass for it’s health benefits, which include vitamins A, B-complex, C, E, l and K. It is also rich in amino acids and hlorophyll, which is an important for blood production.

Tumeric

tumericCurcumin is the active ingredient in tumeric.  This powerful spice contains a lot of strong antioxidants. It has amazing anti-inflammatory effects.

It is known to improve memory and fight cancer.

Coconut Water

This natural refreshment is ideal for weight loss. It’s high in potassium, which helps to balance sodium, which help transporting the above ingredients in the blood stream. It also contains bio  active enzymes, which boost fat metabolism and aid digestion.

All these ingredients alone would increase anyone’s health and together, they create an amazing cocktail that will boost your health, energy levels and help you loose stubborn fat and cellulite fast.

Free Trial

OK, so the ingredients look amazing, but does Organifi live upto it’s promises? You don’t have to take anybody’s word for it, but you can actually try it out for free.

You Now Can Test 3 Packs of Organifi Green Juice For Absolutely FREE! (Includes FREE shipping)

My Loving Advice

One of the basic concepts of ayurveda is that food is medicine and that you are what you eat. Therefore healthy diet is absolutely crucial for good health, balancing your doshas and producing balanced sattvic mind.

I have been using the green juice powder for the last 3 months and have experienced wonderful increase in energy and vitality.  It has also had a wonderful effect on my skin and the hair.

Although I don’t need to loose weight as such,  I have lessened the flap around my belly. Green Juice has also been helping me to stabilise my blood sugar levels and reduced my sugar cravings.

The drink tastes absolutely wonderful and I mostly mix it with home made almond milk.  It has become one of my favourite morning rituals after my yoga practise. It has a wonderful relaxing effect on me in the beginning on my day.

You can take a closer look at all the Organifi Green Juice benefits here:

My Loving Advice

If you carry extra weight are interested in maximising your weight loss efforts, also take a look at the Organifi Complete Protein and Multivitamin Shake. A complete meal replacement, all-in-one shake.

Try it out and you will be pleasantly surprised by it’s wonderful effects on your health, just like it has on mine. Let me know about your experiences in the comments below!

 

ॐ Love and Health,

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