#YogaEveryDamnDay – Day 19: Double Feature Friday + Why Ab Strength Matters

#YogaEveryDamnDay – Day 19: Double Feature Friday + Why Ab Strength Matters

I have a love/hate relationship with overnight rainstorms. While there are fewer soundtracks that lull me to sleep more soundly, it’s so hard (#TWSS) to get up in the morning after it pours the night before. My husband and I both took our sweet time waking up this AM, which only left me with under an hour to get a full yoga workout in. I wanted to focus on ab strength today so I had to double up…but I still got them done in less than 45 minutes.

That’s right – two workouts in under 45 minutes.

Before we get into the sorcery involved with that goal, let’s chat about ab work – or, shall we say, some misconceptions about ab work. Many think that the only people who should be concerned about having abs are either athletes or supermodels. The truth is twofold:  we ALL need strong abs and strong abs are not always visible. Your abs support you throughout your day: sitting, standing, bending, walking, and stretching all require abdominal strength. And newsflash: having a six-pack isn’t required to have strong abs. If you need that body aesthetic in your life, go for it! Just understand that ab strength is way more important that what your belly looks like with your shirt off.

When it comes to yoga, ab work is important to my practice for three key reasons:

  • Increased Back Support – A strong core equals a strong back, something that has become a bigger necessity for me as I get older. My lower back likes to give me moments of debilitating pain (and let’s not get me started on my sensitive QL muscles!). I’ve found that I have far fewer of episodes of lower back pain when my core is strong.
  • Better Alignment – The stronger my core is, the better my posture is. In yoga, that equates to my poses showing longer length and deeper twists, giving me more confidence in my practice.
  • Deeper Breathing – In yoga, I try to make my deep breath work for me. This means filling the belly with as much air as I can, and conversely using my abs to expel every gust of air out on my exhalations. Stronger abs also keep me aware of my core’s role in yogic breathing.

Now, on to today’s practices:

The Instructor: Move With Nicole
The Practice: Yoga/Pilates Fusion Workout (25 mins)

When you search ‘yoga Pilates’ in YouTube, Move with Nicole by far garners the most returns. Her delivery is soothing and her workouts are challenging, but I’m not sure I would call her method a fusion of yoga and Pilates. There’s some Pilates-adjacent legwork towards the middle of the workout but everything else is pure power yoga. In 25 minutes, I got a great flow in and produced a slightly drippy yoga sweat. The abdominal fun shows up during the last 5 minutes of the workout with a boat series that will wake your belly right up. I’ll check out more of her videos but if you’re looking for Pilates, look elsewhere.

The Instructor: Bright + Salted Yoga with Arianna Elizabeth
The Practice: AM Flow (>20 mins)

It should be clear at this point in the blog series that Arianna Elizabeth is a favorite of mine. Her latest flow series was perfect after my sweat fest with Nicole. This quickie 15-minute yoga flow is perfect when you are pressed for time in the morning but want to rev up some heat in your body. Intermediates will enjoy this one but you beginners can modify as needed (i.e. get on one knee during the side planks). And yes, there’s more ab work here as well. Yummy! Arianna’s fantastic at the mini-yoga flows. I hope she continues making more of these.

See you on the mat tomorrow!
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