A strong proponent of practicing sustainably, Amy Ippoliti’s “Yoga For The Long Haul” workshop at Yoga Journal LIVE San Diego was full of tips for turning yoga into a lifelong endeavor. Her key to avoiding asana burnout? “Instead of chasing the big, fancy pose, focus on moving in a way that feels functional.” The trick, she says, is learning to engage the deep stabilizers while finding ways to give the major movement muscles a break.
To quote your yoga teacher, the transverse abdominus (or TVA) handles the action of “cinching in the waist” and is often nicknamed the “corset muscle.” The TVA tenses the abdominal wall and provides significant stabilization for both the pelvic and thoracic regions. If you think that sounds like a big deal, check this out: Without the spinal stability generated by the TVA, the nervous system cannot properly recruit muscles in the limbs, therefore rendering functional movement literally impossible.
Do it: This fantastic exercise, which Ippoliti calls “the TVA squeeze,” targets the deep abdominal muscle effectively. Lay on your back, knees bent to 90 degrees and feet on the floor. Find the front hip points, then move the fingertips 1 inch toward the navel and another inch down toward the groin. Cough and feel the abdominal wall contract: This is the action of the TVA. Maintain the engagement to a manageable degree (as in, no gripping or clenching elsewhere), and take turns carefully picking up each foot. When this feels easy, take it up a notch: Stack the knees above the hips, shins parallel to the floor. Cough to find and maintain a light squeeze on the TVA, and take turns tapping each foot to the ground, knees still bent to 90 degrees.
This content was originally published here.