Category Archives: Wellness

The Importance of a Strong Core

The Importance of a Strong Core

Uddiyana Bandha

CindyB April_2015 190

One of my favorite quotes from a revered teacher was this – “I don’t teach core work in my classes. If you’re doing it right, the whole practice is core!”

While I 100% agree with this sentiment, sometimes we all need guidance as to how to find that strong core. We may not activate these muscles or even know where they are until we put in some serious core exercises.

Try this quick exercise to find your core:

Start by standing in Tadasana. Your feet can be either hips width distance or big toes together, whatever feels most comfortable for you. Press your heels and big toe mounds into the earth while your toes remain light. Pull energy up through the midline of your legs, as if you were zipping your legs together and up. Lengthen your tailbone down and grow your spine up, all the way to the crown of your head. Relax your shoulders down your back, away from your ears, and draw your shoulder blades toward each other. Sweep your arms high, then dive all the way forward. Lift up halfway – keep the spine long and shoulders back. Stay in this half lifted forward fold stance. Once all this is set, take a deep inhale and pull your navel in and up toward your spine, keeping the ribs drawn in tightly toward each other and your hip points tracked forward and down. Hold the breath and remain for 10-15 seconds, then release.

This action is known in Yoga as “uddiyana bandha” or the abdominal lock. This is an action you can aspire to feel in every pose, and is the key to accessing your core during your practice. Uddiyana Bandha can be one of the most transformative aspects of your yoga practice, especially as you get more advanced. It moves the energy upwards with much more force and allows you to invert and jump more easily, as well as float forward and back more lightly, and twist more deeply. Because the abdominal wall is pressing the organs and tissues of the abdominal cavity backwards, Uddiyana Bandha creates a soft massage for the deeper internal muscles of the lower back.

As far as “normal” life goes, Uddiyana Bandha is an amazing remedy for abdominal and stomach ailments, from constipation to indigestion. It stimulates digestive juices, which can increase your metabolism and tone your abdominal organs. It also balances the adrenal system – relieving stress, lethargy and tension. And most incredibly, it is the sure fire way to get flat washboard abs without ever doing any crunches (a la my teacher’s advice).

The core supports every other pose in your practice, and a strong core helps prevent back injuries. Work on your core and you will feel stronger overall! Many exciting things coming up for me in regards to core exercising.

A great core exercise to try at home:

Boat Pose (Navasana)


Uttanasana – Standing Forward Fold

After a long work day, we can all use some release in our backs. Especially if you sit at a desk all day!


Forward folds have many benefits, they calm the nervous system, activating the parasympathetic system, our rest and digest function. They also stretch out the hamstrings which is great for releasing the low back – alleviating back pain. To sum it up, they are relaxing and feel amazing!

Start standing in Tadasana (Mountain Pose), with feet either hip distance apart or touching. Keeping your legs straight, lifting through the kneecaps and quads, hinge forward from your hips, leading with your heart and keeping your back as straight as possible. When you can’t fold any further, bring your hands to your shins, the floor, or wrap them behind your legs. Let your head and neck relax, and move your shoulders away from your ears. Breathe deeply and enjoy!

Holistic Yoga

Happy Thursday Yogis!

Here is something to chew on for today.


My guru Yogi Charu taught that Yoga is more than just mastering difficult poses, but it is an entire lifestyle!

According to his teachings, Holistic Yoga needs:

1. Proper posture
2. Breathing
3. Nutrition/Diet
4. Relaxation
5. Positive thinking

Which do you think is the most difficult of these to achieve and why? Why are they all so important to Holistic Yoga? Leave a comment with your answer!

What are we living for?


Why wait for later?! The time to be happy is now! I love this quote so much and I feel like it embodies the spirit of yoga so beautifully. Dwelling in mistakes of the past or fears of the future will get us nowhere fast. We have the power to take control of our own minds and choose to live in the here and now. Happiness lies in the present moment! Our yoga asana (posture) practice is so helpful in making this happen. Have you ever taken a class where you were swept away in the beauty of the sequencing and the inspirational words of your teacher?? I know I have, and it’s part of what makes yoga so addicting. So, what’s the next step? Maybe try a meditation class to help focus your concentration and to bring you closer to what should be all of humanity’s main goal: Happiness!

Sutra 33:”The practice of concentration on a single subject (or the use of one technique) is the best way to prevent the obstacles and their accompaniments.Yoga Sutras, Patanjali.