Most of the yoga poses found in my weekly articles, require and build abdominal strength and stability, they will condition the abdominal area for better movement, stability, strength and balance.
While the abdominal wall itself wraps around and houses all the abdominal organs, yoga postures can also add support to the entire abdominal area and help improve digestion and the process of elimination.
Having a strong core area can also help to improve your posture and help reduce any lower back problems while strengthening and conditioning the pelvic floor area, thus having great benefits for those of us whose bellies have been through birth a couple of times.
In terms of appearance, the main muscle, the rectus abdominis, may steal the show, but in fact it is the least important abdominal muscle to condition. It’s the less-powerful and less-visible muscles located deeper in the abdomen that are likely to ensure more overall health in the middle area.
The transversus abdominis, which wraps around much of the lower torso, can offer support for the internal organs and stabilize the torso, while the obliques also provides support as well as helping you bend sideways and rotate.
Plank pose is a great exercise for building abdominal strength and stability. A word of warning: practice it on an empty stomach!
This article is not a recommendation for your own practice but serves as interesting reading for anyone thinking of going to a yoga class. As with any form of physical exercise, please consult your family doctor beforehand.
Lee Kennedy qualified with The BKS Iyengar Yoga Association UK, the YTTC and Ana Forrest of Forrest Yoga. She specialises in pregnancy-related yoga and also studied with Janet Balaskas, founder of the Active Birth Foundation, UK. Visit Yogadara.com or call 0863906343 for more information.