How-to Build Core Strength to Withstand Long Travel Nurse Shifts on Your Feet
Let’s talk core strength! Just about all yoga postures, from standing poses to twists to inversions to balancing poses, require and build abdominal strength and stability. Yoga conditions the abdominal region for movement and stability as well as balance and strength. Because your abdominal muscles support the proper curves of the spine, a strong core can both improve posture and reduce back pain.
Three Yoga Poses that Build Core Strength (and How-to Do Them):
1. Table Top with Arm + Leg Extension
Balancing table top pose is a beginning yoga exercise that pairs movement with stretching, to help warm and strengthen the body. When you practice this, gently flow between poses to help balance each side of the body. It builds abdominal and lower back strength. It also warms the body and brings flexibility to the spine, shoulders and hips, while gently stretching the torso. Because of the balance challenge, this pose also improves focus, coordination and overall physical equilibrium. Remember to keep the hips and shoulders squared toward the mat as you extend the opposite arm and leg!
2. Plank Pose + Variations
Plank is a foundational yoga pose. It teaches you to hold yourself together, like a sturdy wooden plank. It gives you the power you need for complex poses and the grace to glide with ease through transitions between poses. Plank will build your abdominal strength. You might even find yourself shaking as you practice it! It also strengthens your arms and keeps your wrists supple and healthy. If you practice this pose, over time, your upper back and neck posture will improve and you’ll create support for your lower back as you learn to engage your abdominals. To modify plank pose, soften down to the knees for better support. To increase the intensity, tap your knee to the elbow or guide it to your nose – creating a rounded spine (as shown in the pictures).
3. Boat Pose
Boat pose is a compact pose that requires you to draw everything toward your center line. The abdomen moves toward the spine, the spine moves forward to support the front of the trunk, the shoulder blades move down and in toward the chest, while the chest spreads and the arms and legs stay firm. The integration of all of your body parts will leave you feeling strong and supple as well as mentally and emotionally steady. You can modify this pose by resting the hands on the mat for more stability. Remember to keep your spine long!
This yoga tip is brought to you by Kathryn McCann of Hang Zen Yogis.