Yoga for Down There Artwork
Season 1 - Episode 8

Core 4 Practice

20 min - Practice
No comments yet


We explore a practice of breath and movement to touch into the Core 4: transversus abdominis, diaphragm, pelvic floor, and multifidus muscles.
What You'll Need: Mat, Square Bolster, Blanket, Strap, Block

About This Video


Read Full Transcript

Welcome back for some yoga for pelvic health. My name is Shannon and I'm really excited today to talk about the core. Often we hear about the core and it's kind of a buzzword and we know how important it is and yet I think sometimes we forget to identify what is the true inner unit core for and that isn't even about our six-pack abs. So often we think about the six-pack abs but really that's not our core four and the core four is made up of the diaphragm, the pelvic floor, the transversus abdominis muscles which wrap around and we have another video on the transversus abdominis muscles if you want more information on that and then the multifidus muscles which run all the way from the cervical spine all the way down to this the sacrum along the spine. So those are the ones that we're going to get into today. We're going to do some breath and some movement and really touch into the entire core four. So first starting sitting and we'll do rib cage breath. You can either hold on to the rib cage here or what I find really helpful is to use a strap and to wrap it around back behind you along the rib cage and to just feel it gently so we can pull the strap ends just gently and feel the expansion of the ribs all around in that circle like we're opening an umbrella on the inhale and on the exhale the umbrella closes in a little bit. Great. So keeping this rib cage breath in mind as we go through the practice today and then also bringing some awareness to what's happening with pelvic floor because we're sitting up on a bolster or a blanket we can feel pelvic floor lowering down on the inhale and exhale it raises up and if you're feeling like I can't feel it Shannon don't worry it's happening so try and just focus on the rib cage breath then. It may even help to close the eyes to soften the eyes. Great and then placing the strap to the side we're going to look at what happens with diaphragm and pelvic floor when we sit in not this straight posture that we have right now which isn't a terrible thing it's fine sometimes we're watching Netflix or we're on our computer and when I say we I mean me and so we might be slouching forward or leaning back a little bit and that's okay we don't want to feel like we all the time have to be sitting really tall and really straight so say for example if you were watching Netflix you might start to slouch back or if you're on your computer you might start to slouch forward and pelvic floor and diaphragm like to move together they're BFF they hang out together so they move down on the inhale and they move up on the exhale so try here placing one hand representing pelvic floor and one hand representing diaphragm and see what it's like to slouch forward and do you see what happens then to pelvic floor and diaphragm or if we lean back a little bit in our Netflix posture or maybe we're driving and we're really focused on traffic so we when we come into this straight or posture we have the movement here so rib cage expands we have that on the inhale great so next time that you're driving or on your computer or watching Netflix can you take a moment focus on rib cage breath I like to when I'm driving think about my rib cage into the back of my seat and expanding that and seeing if I can find that alignment all right so then we're going to move on to all fours into table pose placing the hands underneath the shoulders feet can be wherever they want to be there we're gonna start to notice movement of just the pelvis here so not a full cat cow we're used to that one but instead on the exhale can you bring tailbone down a little bit and on the inhale lifting it up and at first see if you can make the movement very very subtle so what is it like and even I feel that I want to move into more of a cat cow because it's a habit for me from doing lots of yoga so can we make it more subtle and notice what's happening with the sits bones so the bones at the very base of the pelvis do they move away from each other a little bit move back towards each other and then another very subtle movement we're gonna come back to our table lengthen through the spine and then just start to just an inch or two move back a little bit pushing away from our hands and forward so it's so tiny so subtle that you might not even be able to see the movement very much we're gonna bring awareness to the sits bones the very base of the pelvis can we feel those bones moving away from each other as we move back and then as we move forward they come back towards each other breath is continuous here so noticing how that felt and if we want to move into sometimes it feels really nice to then okay I want to move into cat cow but this time start with the pelvis let the pelvis lead the movement so exhale curling in and then inhale flowing through heart moves through the hands coming back to table and we'll move down onto the abdomen make a little pillow with your hands here and we'll place the forehead down onto the hands let the legs be really heavy soften as much as possible here allow the entire back to relax and imagining these multifidus muscles along the spine on the next exhale we're gonna see if we can engage those muscles and then lift up just the hands the upper body like it's floating so we'll take an inhale here together and then the exhale we float up the inhale we lower as you exhale lifting up engaging those multifidus muscles along the spine inhale lowering down exhale lifting and notice if you're starting to squeeze with the glutes sometimes they want to help you might even need an extra breath there to lengthen the legs a little bit take an extra breath before the next exhale when you engage the muscles along the spine and lift up inhale lower exhale and lifting up see if you can lengthen through the spine as you lift and inhale lower down and then just pausing there finding that rib cage breath and then we're gonna move to roll over to your side and then on to the back here bringing hands on to the pelvis we're gonna start to play around with pelvic tilt here until we can find sort of neutral pelvis so if you place hands so that fingers are pointing towards the pubic bone you can tilt the pelvis in one direction and then the other and find that neutral pelvis you can then relax hands down towards the sides we're gonna notice the transversus abdominis muscles then and you might be feeling like I don't know where those are so if you bring hands towards the hip bones walk the fingers in about two centimeters or an inch and then two centimeters down that's right about where we can really feel and locate the transversus abdominis muscles but they're much bigger than just right there so they're wrapping around and the best way to find them is to make what's called the s-breath so we're gonna inhale through the nose and exhale making a sound an s sound so inhale through the nose we'll do that a few more times exhale it's very subtle and if you're worried that they're not engaging don't worry they do and here's another great way to get the transversus abdominis muscles to engage is to just walk the feet out a little bit so that the heels are on the floor so we're not right here with the feet but we walk them out a little bit further and we bring the toes lifted up off the floor so the just the heels are on the floor so that in itself will engage the transversus abdominis muscles there so you can see and feel you might walk from here you might want to try it again walking them out and they engage right there so then releasing the hands down towards the sides walking the feet in again and we'll plant the feet on the floor this time so just for a moment here pausing and letting go of all this information that we've just kind of gathered so we might be really super focused on pelvic floor transversus abdominis wrapping around the multifidus along the back diaphragm let's just notice the breath here and know that when we're in this position it's happening we don't really have to work or do anything if you want to focus on something focus on ribcage breath and you can feel the ribcage here and then we'll move into flowing bridge so we're going to inhale the arms come up overhead exhale lifting pelvis lowering the hands down to the sides inhale arms come up overhead pelvis lowers down at the same time and the exhale hands come down by the sides pelvis lifts inhale and arms come up as pelvis lowers down exhale arms down by the sides follow your own breath letting pelvis lift up inhale the arms come up overhead exhale lowering pelvis down great and then lowering the arms down and we're going to roll over to the side and and bring our blanket in for the next part I like the blanket to be folded up along my spine and then to have a block as well so you can play around with the height of the block and the blanket for you settle down on to the blanket and the block will find the head and most important is that you feel comfortable here so you want to settle in if this is feeling uncomfortable we're going to roll out maybe change the role of the blanket you can also do this without the blanket bringing hands together above the heart knees are bent feet are planted on the earth going to straighten the arms here and what's really tempting to do is to slide the hand so we're not going to do that that's like rule one of this game we're playing and the other thing we're not going to do is bend the elbows that's rule two but other than that there are no other rules and we're going to come over towards one side on the exhale not very far inhale back to center exhale over to the other side and it's tempting my one elbow wants to bend you can let the head move with the rib cage so our exhale is to the side our inhale is back to center exhale to the other side this is an amazing pose if you have been on your computer driving working really focused at the shoulders are feeling some tension great we'll come back to the center and relaxing the arms down you can decide if this is your place for Shavasana I feel like this feels really nice for my shoulders to soften in or you can move props out from underneath you if you'd like to so extending the legs out to straight softening or closing the eyes again coming back to this place where we know that the body has this innate wisdom if we're going to focus on one thing today it's the rib cage breath and for right now it's doing a little less we even allow the breath to soften start to feel heavy is there some way that you can lengthen out through the legs maybe wiggle to find comfort allow the bones to be heavy if you're wanting to stay here longer you're more than welcome to otherwise we're going to start to wiggle fingers and toes maybe making circles with ankles and wrists stretching arms up overhead stretching out to your legs maybe taking a big yawn there rolling over to your side when you're ready really take your time pause there for a moment on your side and then use your hands to bring you up to sitting you might want to sit on your blanket or your bolster bringing hands together at the heart center I must stay


No comments yet. Be the first!

You need to be a subscriber to post a comment.

Please Log In or Create an Account to start your free trial.

Footer Yoga Anytime Logo

Just Show Up

Over 2,900 yoga and meditation practices to bring you Home.

15-Day Free Trial