Dear Practice – Sorry I was such a slacker

sorryMy yoga intentions were always pure. In class, I did my best. I kept my mind on my breath, listened to the teacher’s words and watched my alignment. But, it turns out something was missing ….

The first five weekends of yoga teacher training have taught me so many things. One of these is  balancing effort and non-effort. Yoga delivers the most benefits when the correct muscles work and their opposing muscles do their part and relax.side angle poseIn Parsvakonasana, (Extended Side Angle Pose), a line of energy flows from the back foot through the outstretched arm. All four sides of the back foot are grounded. The quadriceps on both legs are firm and engaged. Meanwhile, the the opposing muscles, the hamstrings, do less.   Yoga’s joy is the sweet spot found in balancing effort with non-effort.  When this occurs,  it’s bliss.

Another key learning is that eight muscles make up our core muscles. These include: the rectus abdominus, obliques and the gluteus medius and minimus. But, the core’s powerhouse is found in its deep muscles: the stomach muscle known as  transversus abdominus,  spine muscles multifudus and rotatores, pelvic floor and diaphragm. Picture these last four as one large circle: the diaphragm as the top , the pelvic floor as the bottom and the others make up each side. Keep the circle in mind as you engage these muscles.The inside and outside core muscles are  your power source to get in and out of yoga poses safely. And, to make yoga more fun.

Illu_trunk_musclesI took my new knowledge to my practice. To stabilize my core, and make poses such as plank easier, I lightly pulled up on my transversus abdominus and slightly engaged my pelvic floor. With my power starting from inside, some poses seemed lighter and easier.

Note I said easier – not easy!

smiley faceAnd so, dear practice, with my engaged core in mind and a better understanding of anatomy, I promise to engage the right muscles to reach that area of bliss when a pose feels light and my breath can easily flow.



About Kalene

yoga practitioner and teacher; crossword puzzle fan; mom, sister, aunt, friend, professor and believer in karma
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3 Responses to Dear Practice – Sorry I was such a slacker

  1. Colette Shand says:



  2. Leslie Hopkins says:

    Love it!


    • Kalene says:

      Thanks Leslie. When I practice I see my core as a big circle and encourage the parts to work together. Your anatomy lessons have opened my eyes to my body!


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