Sunday, 2 September 2012

Controlling the rib cage for core strength

Bit of  breakthrough week I've's been amazing!

Last Monday I went to Oxford to practice with Manu at Yoga Garden. Got my first heel-grab in Kapo and my first supta vajrasana on my own and got back up albeit with a huge groan and a pull of both my biceps! By the end of the class I was shaking like a leaf...bloody nadi shodhana ;)

I haven't practiced for 3 days. I over did it on the lotus's last week, heard a crunch and they've both been a bit tender since. So I'm taking it easy. I've also pulled something just at the insertion of the hamstring to my left sitting bone, really not nice either, overdoing it on the forward bends, trying to get kurmasana with straight legs and finally getting chest down in upavistha konasana. So I'm practicing a lot more second series, which is coming along really well. 

So I've had a massive breakthrough with my navasana...I know, it's been a long time coming and I've been posting about my lack of navasana for ages now, thinking up all kinds of reasons why it wasn't happening. But my teacher said I had the core strength. Yes, my legs are long and that will be a problem with having the toes at eye level, but there's no harm in having them higher to balance the lever and keep it a safe posture without straining the lower back. So I've been working really hard on it. And something has finally clicked. It's about sucking the lower ribcage in. That simple. I was previously trying to get lift my chest, getting a big curve in my lumbar region and really trying to lift up/out of the pelvic bowel. However, this is all good for preparation of the posture, but as soon as I let go of the legs (I still have to hold them to straighten them first), I'm drawing the lower ribs back into the body, reducing the lumbar curve and I'm able to hold them straight for all 5 goes!! Hurrah! 

So I then got thinking about how this might affect other postures. So I gave it a go whilst jumping in to bhujapidasana, and low and behold I instantly gained more core control and managed a leg wrap for the first time without touching the floor!! Hurrah again!! And yes, you've guessed it, jumping through to sit is lighter and slower with more control. 

I even stuck pincha mayurasana in to the sequence today and managed a hold of 6 breaths!! Amaze! all because the ribcage was sucked in. 

Why did no one tell me that it was THIS important before?!!! Then again, I love it when I work things out by myself, it makes the journey way more interesting!

1 comment:

  1. Hi there!
    Darby has been trying to get me to keep my ribs in for centuries. I feel like you're right and being able to do it changes everything. Not only can you access your core strength, but also the strength of your latissimus dorsi and the components of your shoulder girdle that don't wear out. Thanks for your insights today and other days. I have often thought of them during practice and teaching and have definitely felt a difference. (especially your tips for uttitha hasta padangusthasana;) Have a great day, and I hope that all your crunches and pulls heal well! Take care, Erica. xo.