Ever let your imagination run completely wild?
You know, and think about things you should NEVER be thinking about.
Now. Don’t lie to me.
It’s my ultimate secret weapon to developing a yoga practice that makes peoples eyes bulge and jaws drop.
I do it all the time.
If you only knew what was going on in this little brain of mine……
But no. I can’t tell you.
Because you’ll think I’m a lunatic.
And click the little red “X” in the corner of your browser without scrolling even another pixel.
I don’t want that.
I want you to listen.
How Success REALLY Works
I envision success in my head LONG before it happens.
Today, I’m confident that what I see in my head, comes true.
It has to.
I have my own crystal ball between my ears.
Tell Me What You See and I’ll Tell You What You Know
Back when I first started practicing yoga, all I could ever think about was how clumsy, stiff, and insecure I felt.
And how I didn’t belong in a yoga class.
Plus, all I did was flail around on my mat.
One day I started imagining myself doing cool tricks like handstands and dancer poses.
Then lo-and-behold, these things started happening to me.
But it’s not that simple.
Your Wild Imagination Sliced Up Like a Pizza
That’s right. A pizza.
Your wildest dreams ARE the pizza.
To manufacture a dream into reality, you have to cut it up. Into bite-sized pieces.
How to Create the Reality of Your Dreams
See what I did there?
Truth is, most people can’t think of anything other than cheese or pepperoni (ironic that we’ll be doing core exercises by the end of this!).
And that’s a problem.
When you have dreams that are WORTH bringing to reality, you’ll bring them to life.
How about a pizza with sausage and black licorice?
Could you fathom a pizza with sausage, EDIBLE FLOWERS, and black licorice?
I’ve actually had that. It’s phenomenal. (I’m a foodie, and currently indulging my brain)
An Exercise in Making Dreams Come True
Like smearing mustard on a piece of cheesecake.
Before you bash it or write it off, try it.
It’s quite tasty, actually.
And if you wrote that off, you’re probably the type of person who doesn’t believe you could EVER do a handstand or put your leg behind your head.
Because you’ve been trained to feel bad about thinking thoughts you “SHOULD NEVER” be thinking.
Now back to that slice of cheesecake.
I plant that little thought in your head.
And because it’s so unique and exciting, you’ll go try it.
Dream ————> Reality
Moral of the Story:
Don’t be embarrassed or ashamed of your creativity. It’s a beautiful thing. Indulge a bit. It’s good for you.
That said, let’s talk about the current state of your yoga practice.
Because after all, that’s what I’m best at. Although I could cook you a pretty damn good meal.Cooks read recipes. Chefs MAKE recipes. Click To Tweet
Cooks Read Recipes. Chefs MAKE Recipes.
See the difference?
If you feel like you’re stuck in your (yoga + handstands + arm balances)practice.
You need to get creative!
Stop doing the same boring core exercises that don’t work.
Do this instead:
“The Pizza Visualization Technique”
- Take the last 5 core exercises you’ve done.
- Think about some unorthodox way you could change each exercise (like arm position, leg position, direction, movement, ect. ect.) just like you were putting different toppings on a pizza.
- Then try it. Slight variety makes them super effective again.
- Every time you finish your core exercises, modify them in your head again and write them down!
- Use Evernote. Make a notebook inside called “My Creative Core Exercises” and inside that notebook make a note called “My First 7 Days of Creative Core Exercises”.
- Do this for a week straight and you’ll have so many core exercises you won’t know what to do with them.
- Then share your note with me, I’ll personally leave you a comment inside your notebook if you do!
Not only will this method train your core to be strong, it’ll train your brain to be creative!
And who knows how that’ll effect the rest of your life?
Disclaimer: I’m not responsible for what happens with your new found creativity beyond strengthening your core. 😉
Hey! Because I care about YOU!
I’ve even made a “starter set” to get you going.
Here’s 9 unusual core exercises to help make that bizarre (handstands + arm balances)dream come alive.
1. Get A Block And Do This Version Of Plank
As a reader of this blog, you know yoga poses are useless if you’re not engaging your muscles properly.
Nailing the feel is more important than nailing the shape. Remember?
You know this if you’ve utilized one of my free sequences.
This is what your average(clueless) yoga practitioner feels in plank:
- Their wrists hurt
- The weight of the body rests in the shoulders
- The elbows hyperextend
- The lower back collapses
- Their kneecaps sag down toward the floor
- The legs are spread apart
This is troubling.
If you feel these things, stop being clueless.
I’m going to help.
Let’s turbo charge your plank!
- Take a block and stick it between your legs
- A cork or foam block will do
- Now squeeze with your legs vigorously
- Your core will engage big time
- Hold for 1 minute and build endurance from there
This is what you WILL feel if your Plank is turbo charged:
- Your hands press your entire body away from the floor
- Your forearms squeeze together
- Shoulders are relaxed and your neck is long
- You should feel light
- Your TvA should be engaged along with the rest of your core
- Your inner thighs squeeze and roll up toward the ceiling
- Kneecaps lift up but don’t hyperextend
- Balls of your feet dig into the ground
2. Work on Cross Diagonal Balance
Part of having a strong core means not wobbling.
Plus, having a strong core means you’re in full control of your body.
[Fair warning: this is hard] Try to consciously engage your obliques in this exercise.
Do this exercise:
- Start in plank
- Make sure you’re engaging your core properly first :::SHAKES FIST:::
- Now lift your right foot and left hand off the ground
- Try not to wobble when you do this
- Keep your core engaged
- Squeeze your left hip in
- Rotate your right hip down
- Repeat on the opposite side
3. Now Play With Your Lifted Leg
Comfortable with cross diagonal balance?
- Lift your right foot and left hand off the ground
- Stabilize yourself and don’t allow the right side of your torso to rotate up
- On your next exhale try and bring your right knee toward your right tricep muscle and tap it
- Do this without rotating your core
- Repeat it 5-6 times then do the other side
4. Try This Super Funky Block/Plank/Boat/Navasana Exercise
This is my favorite core exercise of all time.
And full disclosure, it’s way harder than it looks, but super fun to try!
Here’s how to do it:
- I recommend a cork block for this
- You can use a foam block but you’re its REALLY hard to balance
- You can set the block up any you want: flat, horizontal, or vertical
- Lay yourself down on top of the block somewhere around your sacrum
- That’s what you’re going to balance on 🙂
- It looks like Savasana on a block
Make sure you feel this:
- First you’re probably going to shake, don’t be alarmed
- Squeeze your thighs together
- Flex and point your feet at the same time
- Don’t scrunch your shoulders
- Relax your neck
- The secret to balance is going with the flow
- Don’t try to over control yourself
- Your core will be SUPER ENGAGED
Awesome right? Take a picture of yourself doing this and leave it in the comment section below!
5. Lotus Side Plank
This one is hard for different reasons:
Primarily having the flexibility to do lotus (not just sitting but on it’s side).
Here’s how to do it:
- First get yourself into a lotus
- Put your hands on the ground and come up onto your knees
- Shift onto one knee
- Then bring your forearm to the ground
- You can rotate your forearm to the side to help balance if you want
- Use your core to prevent your kneecap from jamming into the ground
6. Blanket Slides
Now this might be the first time you use a blanket for something other than Savasana.
Don’t let the blanket fool you, it’s challenging. 🙂
- Start in Downward Dog with your feet on the blanket
- Inhale slide yourself back to plank
- Exhale slide yourself back to dog or even further if you can (to your wrists, this trains a press handstand)
A daydream worthy sidenote:
This is a really powerful exercise.
If you want to learn the Press Handstand this is a must-do prep exercise.
First, you’ll want to learn to slide the blanket all the way up to the back of your wrists.
Eventually, you’ll be able to lift your feet right off the floor from there. Imagine that!
7. Blanket Jump Throughs
This is a continuation of blanket slides.
Instead of trying to lift your hips up as high as possible, do this:
- Start in plank
- Bend your knees into your chest
- Once your knees are drawn in as much as possible, drop your hips and slide your feet though
Now go back:
- Start with the legs straight
- Pull the hips as far back as possible
- Now bend your knees back into your chest
- Slide the feet back behind you to plank
8. Navasana Stand-ups
Do you know traditional boat pose?
Let’s do a quick setup for Navasana first:
- Sit on the ground
- Extend your legs out in front of you
- If it’s too much bend the knees, that’s ok
- Get your toes inline with your eyeballs
- Squeeze your legs together and roll your thighs in just a tad
- This is will encourage proper TVA engagement and thus proper core engagement
- Keep the shoulders relaxed
Now for Navasana Stand-Ups:
Essentially, what you do is attempt to go from Navasana to Chair Pose.
This takes a boatload(get it?) of core strength to be able to execute this movement.
However, it’s worth it 10x over.
The motion is similar to learning handstand. How might you ask?
When you kick up to handstand, you engage your core muscles first then jump, not the other way around. Jumping then trying to engage produces out-of-control jumps.
In Navasana Stand-Ups, you have to engage first otherwise you won’t get up.
If it’s too much for you to start, trying doing it from a cross leg seated position. It’s slightly easier.
9. V-Rocks (aka. straddle rocks)
- Start from a wide leg forward fold (Upa Vista Konasana)
- Keep the leg position and rock back to Plow Pose
- Now rock forward with your hands between your legs and try to lift yourself off the ground into a straddle press
It’s Time to do Your Homework!
In the comments below, share:
- The most creative core exercise you came up with in your Evernote Notebook. Also share you’re notebook with me and I’ll leave you a personal comment inside!
- And/or the most unusual (but yummy!) pizza you’ve ever had and where you had it. (I could end up publishing my next post from there)
- Other questions you have, I want(+happy) to help!