A strong core plays an important role when it comes to fitness. It helps ease poses and movements that require the body to move itself with control. In Yoga, the core is engaged mostly during inversions and arm balances. Mastering the art of body control, knowing that a strong core can firmly hold the body, is one precious investment one can have.
Lift That Dandasana!
Practicing L-sit is one of the most basic and most effective ways of developing a strong core. L-Sit is basically Yoga’s Staff Pose/ Danadasana but in this version, the legs and body are lifted off the floor. It does not only strengthen the core, but it also develops strong arms and tones thigh muscles. This is a movement that anyone can master if approached through an efficient set of progressions. Here’s how you can achieve your L-Sit from zero to hero in no time!
Beginner’s Tip: Some individuals may think that their arms are not long enough to lift them off the ground. Wrong! Everything that you need to master this pose is already available within. It’s just a matter of practice to discover the technique that suits your body the most. In this case, you can use Yoga blocks or a pair of the thesaurus for elevation. But be careful because the elevation may cause bad form. To avoid this, always keep the shoulders drawn away from the ears.
Progression 1: Start by sitting on the floor and placing your hands on a Yoga block. Try lifting yourself off the floor by pushing through the shoulders while your feet are still on the ground. Practice this till you can comfortably hold the pose
Progression 2: Perform Progression 1 and hold for half a minute then lift one knee close to the chest and hold for 30 seconds. Take a rest and do the same technique on the other leg.
Progression 3: Full tucked lift. Begin in a seated position with your hands planted on an elevation. Inhale, fill your lungs and bring your knees close to the chest. Exhale then fully lift yourself off the ground while your knees are still tucked to your chest. Push through the shoulders and contract your abdominal muscles to keep yourself lifted. Become comfortable with this progression, holding the pose for 30 seconds before progressing further.
One Leg Extended
From full tucked lift, extend one leg while keeping the other tucked. Keep the extended leg’s knee locked and its toes pointed to fully engage your thigh muscles. Do the same process on the other leg. Develop the strength to hold this position for 30 seconds then you can advance to next progression.
Start by performing a tucked lift and slowly extend both legs. Make sure that your legs are parallel to the ground and the shoulders are not drawn towards the ears. Push through your shoulders, engage the core and keep your feet pointed to make sure your legs are activated. Progress holding the full pose for 10 seconds and advance to 20 seconds, then 30.
If you are suffering from high blood pressure, any heart ailment or a hernia, please refrain from doing this pose. Consult your physician before starting any physical activity. Practice with patience and consistency. Stay motivated even though some days the practice may seem impossible to do. It is during the tough times that we become stronger! Be open to your body and mind’s possibilities and surely you will be unstoppable!