Medical Considerations for Core Focused and Stabilizing Poses

Asana Focus: Core and Stabilization

Description of Physical Action

Core strength is essential as a foundation for all physical activities. Reduced core muscle strength plays a role in lower back pain, inadequate balance, and poor posture. The "core" includes abdominal muscles, muscles of the lower back, buttocks, and pelvic floor, all of which integrate with muscular power in the shoulder girdle.

Valued experience over centuries of practice, and historically described benefits of core asanas:
  • Strengthen the supporting muscles of the spine and pelvis.
  • Lead to a strong core which is associated with reduced rush of lower back pain
  • May increase cardiovascular demand and assist in the development of overall fitness and stamina
  • Improvement in cardiovascular fitness reduces risk of high blood pressure and heart disease.
  • Compress the abdominal and pelvic organs against the spine and pelvic bowl, providing a "rinse and soak" circulatory stimulus that may assist with digestion and elimination.
Potential contraindications: variations are recommended for those with:
  • Back or neck pain
  • Discomfort bearing weight through the wrists, elbows, or shoulders
  • Difficulty tolerating knees contacting the floor
  • Hernia, a split in the rectus abdominus muscles
  • Current abdominal pain
  • Advanced pregnancy
  • Painful hemorhoids
  • Uncontrolled high blood pressure