Guest Post: My Yoga “Conversion”

hunter wave

Today I welcome Hunter Clarke-Fields as a guest blogger for on balance.  Hunter is a yogi and yoga instructor and mom of young daughters.  Read on for Hunter’s story:

I’ve been teaching yoga for over eight years and practicing for eighteen. During those years, yoga and meditation have allowed me to transform my body and create incredible physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being. I’ve been inspired, challenged and soothed by a wonderful variety of fellow teachers. It was a first for me, however, when I felt a truth so indisputably in my body that I had to change the way I practiced and taught yoga the very next day.

My personal practice had been growing stronger with floating practice and handstands. But until the Core Strength Vinyasa workshop, I didn’t realize how much physical tension I was creating in my body. To my surprise and elation, I left that practice without any shoulder tension. None. Zero. Zip! I felt blissfully free and empowered. This feeling of ease opened my eyes up to the way my more traditional practice – which was supposed to release stress in the body –  had been actually been creating my shoulder and back tension.

How does CSV do this? To put it simply, instead of using the arms to linearly reach into the full expression of the pose right away (for instance, cartwheeling the arms up to Warrior two), one moves into each pose by activating the inner core line of muscles first, leading the way from the inside first, rather than the outer body. This strengthens the core and releases the tension in superficial outer body muscles. It is something to be experienced.

So here are the top 3 reasons for my conversion to Core Strength Vinyasa:

1. Better Physiologically. This is a practice that will support ones body for years to come. Rather than pushing the body’s limits – going deeper and deeper and moving acrobatically in ways that may not be beneficial for the body, CSV supports and strengthens the muscles around the spine. The movements of CSV are based on the most advanced anatomical knowledge, and leave one stronger from the inside-out, without the shoulder and back tension buildup of traditional practice.

2. More Efficient. Using the belly bonfire breath to activate the core throughout the practice allows one to work more efficiently (burn calories, strengthen, become more flexible) so that you get more benefit out of less time. This is essential for this mama because it allows me to get in a practice for the half hour while my daughters play for a while in the living room!

3. More Powerful and Organic. More than just a focus on the abdominals, CSV allows one to develop the deep core muscles such as the psoas and the muscles around the lower back with integrity. I’ve found that even while the former tension in my shoulders and back has subsided, I am actually stronger and more stable in my handstands and every other pose. Also, waving forward to plank and letting go of the rigid linearity strengthens the body in an organic, nourishing fashion. CSV develops ones perfect balance between Sthira-Sukha, or strength and ease, for optimal mobility, power and comfort for years to come.

About Hunter:

Yoga teacher and Artist, I have been practicing yoga since 1995. In 2005 I trained to become a registered yoga instructor, and yoga has been transforming my life ever since.

I teach people from around the world to become stronger, more energized, and empowered through yoga, so they can live a joyful, grounded life – body, mind, and spirit. My vision is for every person to discover the joy of living with strength, power, and peace. I help students develop a habit of self-care, practicing an anatomically sound, invigorating practice, as well as mindfulness meditations. Sign up for my blog posts and exclusive videos at hunteryoga.com, and you can find Hunter on facebook.

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