What is the use of core tone? The simplest answer is stamina. While building muscle tone in order to be athletic and do fancy yoga tricks is all well and good, we really need core muscle tone to sit or stand correctly for long periods of time.
At the moment I am in New Hampshire at one of my favorite places on earth, World Fellowship Center, where I am teaching for a couple of weeks (And offering a Psoas Release Party! on July 13th) and my kids are running around all day and night with fifty other kids.
I am writing in the yoga room which is not well equipped for sitting. I have been working while sitting on a stool and doing what it takes to sit up well with a natural curve in my lower spine. That is where the core tone comes in.
When I teach yoga classes we always start with sitting. I have students sit up tall trying to find a curve in the low spine with a balanced trunk on top of the pelvis.
And then I wait.
There is an ideal resting length for every muscle and if we have that ideal resting length we could sit up in the same position for long periods of time. If we lack balanced core tone maintenance of that position, whatever it is, will not last long.
As I sit patiently watching the students in front of me, some will be able to sit until I tell them to move while I will see others at first struggle to keep an upright posture, and then ultimately, lose the ability to stay where they are and most often they round the lower back into a C-curve.
Basically, I teach and say the same things over and over again. I like to put people into fairly simple positions that are easy to start but not necessarily easy to hold. That’s when things get interesting. When our musculature is balanced we develop the strength and stamina to hold our bodies in a position for as long as we’d like.
There is a great deal of benefit to creating this type of an environment in the body but the main one refers back to my main theme in yoga and in life: Aging Gracefully.