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Core Functional Yoga for a Stronger Body

On August 10, 2016, guest yoga instructor Alexis Farrell invites you to a special 55-minute workshop – Core Functional Yoga: All Levels. This FREE class will explain the true meaning of phrases such as “navel to spine” and “activate your core” to help you better engage your midsection muscles with each asana or pose. Join Alexis this Wednesday from 11:30am to 12:25pm in the Zenergy Yoga Studio and learn how to get more from your personal yoga practice!

We asked Alexis to explain the basics of Core Functional Yoga and how it can change your life. Here’s what she said:

WHAT IS CORE FUNCTIONAL YOGA?
Developed by Hope Zvara, Core Functional Yoga or Fitness™ is a functional method of movement that addresses postures, movements and body alignment from the ground up, both on and off the mat. The program is founded on the belief that in order to achieve ultimate balance, we must look at ourselves in a functional way by considering questions like: Why are we doing what we’re doing? Is it helpful or harmfulI?  How can I achieve whole body wellness inside and out?

HOW DOES YOGA INCREASE FUNCTIONAL CORE STRENGTH?
Most of us rush from one event to the next without listening to the subtle cues our physical bodies constantly feed us. Yoga asks us to slow down, delve deeper and – finally! – listen. Yoga focuses on the breath, which sends oxygen to the muscle cells to contract and move. True core strength stems from deep muscles such as the anal sphincter and diaphragm that many don’t associate with the core. In yoga, one is not rushing from one move to the next; it is a fluid, methodical flow that must always start from the deep core to marry the movements, thereby syncing the body, mind and soul.

WHAT EXACTLY IS YOUR CORE?
Your core includes a network of muscles that help stabilize, move and protect your spine. Deep inside your torso and attached to your spine are your inner core muscles – the multifidus, transversus abdominus, diaphragm, and pelvic floor – which engage to help stabilize your spine with every movement. Closer to the surface are the outer core muscles – your rectus abdominus, glutes, obliques, psoas, and erector spinae – that help your spine stay aligned and resist bending.

WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF CORE FUNCTIONAL STRENGTH?
Whether you’re swinging a golf club or loading groceries into your car, your core is involved in every move that you make. Core functional strength helps ensure healthy movement patterns so your body functions properly. The many benefits include improved body mechanics, posture, balance, breathing and digestion. It can improve your performance in a wide variety of sports, prevent injuries and combat back pain.

WHY CHOOSE CORE FUNCTIONAL YOGA OVER TRADITIONAL AB EXERCISES?
Unlike traditional ab moves like crunches, Core Functional Yoga trains your muscles to work together in functional patterns – the way that you move in everyday life. The majority of the people who practice traditional ab exercises end up using the hip flexors and neck muscles to stabilize, which can lead to injury and a weak core. Core Functional Yoga teaches practitioners how to effectively work the core via the stabilizing muscles.

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