Building the core: Week 2

By now I know you’ve become lovingly familiar with last week’s core builders: Tent, Stone Table and Red Sea.

Right? 🙂

This week we’re going to flip over and approach the mat in from a different perspective, focusing deep on abdominal work in particular with the complimentary positions to last week’s work: Harp, Ark, and Alpha.

The practice of core work fits best after a few minutes of mild stretching of the major muscle groups when the muscles are warm. Be sure to stretch the hamstrings and quads in particular before working this sequence in an upright and balanced position. Two good DoxaSoma positions for this would be:

Knowledge-

From a prone position, grasp your right foot with your right hand and press hips into mat for the stretch. Other hand is placed under the forehead. Switch sides. You may use a strap or towel to reach the ankle or foot if needed.

From a prone position, grasp your right foot with your right hand and press hips into mat for the stretch. Other hand is placed under the forehead. Switch sides. You may use a strap or towel to reach the ankle or foot if needed.

Wisdom-

Begin upright, lifted at the heart and begin to walk the hands forward while keeping a flat lower back.

Begin upright, lifted at the heart and begin to walk the hands forward while keeping a flat lower back.

When you've gone as far as you can with a flat lower back contract at abs and fold at the waist, forehead toward knees.

When you’ve gone as far as you can with a flat lower back contract at abs and fold at the waist, forehead toward knees.

As always, begin first by taking each of the positions on their own, understanding how the movement feels in your body, how the positions change with time and corrected form. Each of these have a modified, back lying counterpart so if you already know you have issues with your neck or lower back then PLEASE begin in back lying position rather than balancing.

Back lying versions of Harp and Ark begin here with the lower and mid back resting on the mat.

Back lying versions of Harp and Ark begin here with the lower and mid back resting on the mat.

You are STILL WORKING in back lying position. Strength is built over time with discernment and attention! When you are able, begin this sequence of movement in a balanced position, keeping heart lifted and abs contracted and working.

Lift at the heart, drawing arms to either side of the legs. Keep head in a  neutral position.

Lift at the heart, drawing arms to either side of the legs. Keep head in a neutral position.

From Ark, return to a seated position, straighten legs and bring arms behind the body, hands facing toward you and lift. Open up at the heart.

From Ark, return to a seated position, straighten legs and bring arms behind the body, hands facing toward you and lift. Open up at the heart.

Return to a seated position, draw knees into chest and grasp ankles gently as you straighten the legs.

Return to a seated position, draw knees into chest and grasp ankles gently as you straighten the legs.

Release to seated again and straighten legs. Bring arms behind the body, open at the heart and lift into Alpha again.

Release to seated again and straighten legs. Bring arms behind the body, open at the heart and lift into Alpha again.

Remember in each of these positions to keep your breathing even and deep. Hold each position for a count of three good breaths, paying attention to how the breathing changes the position. Begin with cycling through the movements, three breaths each position for a total of at least 3-5 cycles. Work toward fluid movement and increasing the length of time you hold each position with good form, increasing the number of cycles of movement as you progress. When you find your form is slipping and you are not able to correct then you’ve found a good place to stop and rest, regroup and stretch again if you’d like.

By the last cycle, see if you can shift your focus a bit from simply abdominal work into the focus of the verses that inform these positions.

“Awake, my soul! Awake, harp and lyre! I will awaken the dawn.” Psalm 57:8

“I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty.” Rev. 1:8

“Arise O Lord, and come to your resting place, you and the ark of your might.” Psalm 132:7-8

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