I’m realising there are many types of core strength. Most obviously, there is the core strength that gives you the ability to lift yourself off the ground and fly back in fancy-pants yoga transitions. But moving past the ability of muscles, there is a deeper strength available from the core. I like to challenge it!
To do this, I’ve been teaching the lift and jump through from seated back to chaturanga. It ain’t easy and success is mixed. But I teach it anyway, even when I see a room full of students flopping about, because it is so hard and I want to see how people respond. Especially when it’s beyond their current capacity. That’s because life is frequently hard and sending us challenges we have to find some way through.
So I give people the tools to do it, prep it, or avoid it and let them find their own way.
When we meet a challenge like this, we can have the strength or strength potential to meet it on the obvious level and lift ourselves up, through, and back. Or, we can have the sense to do the prep work as is appropriate to our abilities. Or even more interestingly, we can have the more subtle, get-real-Adam, forms of core strength and just find another way.
I think facing an edge, doing one’s best, and finding an alternative when it doesn’t quite work out, is as indicative of core-strength as yogic levitation. What we don’t want is waffling and self-doubt and criticism. Simply, be in your body, be in its current ability for muscular strength, and be in its deeper sense of mental and emotional strength.
So, I’m just as happy when people hear my cues to try lifting up, and confidently and clearly decide to walk their feet back and carry-on. Own it!
It’s all about being confident in who you are and remembering that muscles are only one part of the core.
How do you define core strength in your practice, beyond the obvious?