What Is Core Strength Vinyasa Yoga?

Core Strength Vinyasa Yoga is a more dynamic style of yoga with an emphasis on poses that target and activate the core muscles.

Let’s look at what Core Strength Vinyasa yoga is, its many benefits, how to practice this style of yoga (with follow-along videos), and more!

Core Strength Vinyasa Yoga Definition

Core Strength Vinyasa Yoga, sometimes shortened to CSV, is a modern style of yoga, established in 2006 by Sadie Nardini. As the name indicates, the purpose of this practice is to strengthen and condition the core. This, in turn, supports the vital systems in the body, such as the spinal column, internal organs, and sense of balance.

A modern yoga style, Core Strength Vinyasa draws inspiration from many traditional branches of yoga. It incorporates the traditional yogic philosophy outlined in The Yoga Sutras and the physical and meditative aspects of Kundalini, Iyengar, and Sivananda Yoga. This style of yoga takes advantage of the Vinyasa movement, using mindful transitions and breath synchronization to strengthen the body.

One of the integral ideas of Core Strength Vinyasa Yoga is a movement referred to as “wave”. It signifies the softening and gradual transition.

Benefits of Core Strength Vinyasa Yoga

Benefits of Core Strength Vinyasa Yoga include:

  • Core strength. Unlike other types of yoga practice, Core Strength Vinyasa builds the real core strength, engaging muscle tissue deep inside the body. Furthermore, CSV yoga acknowledges that the “core” comprises many components and goes way beyond the six-pack.
  • Confidence. Practicing Core Strength Vinyasa yoga is incredibly empowering! This practice brews the internal feeling that you are physically and mentally strong and capable of anything! This is particularly useful for people with body image issues, including eating disorders and body dysmorphia related to gender identity. Of course, it’s also beneficial for those who are shy or insecure.
  • Mindfulness. Sure, other types of yoga cultivate mindfulness, but CSV does it uniquely by harnessing an intense connection between the body and mind. Additionally, this style doesn’t view transitions as a “break” between poses. Instead, transitional movement bears as much focus as the static poses, which means the mind is engaged the entire time.
  • Inclusivity. Core Strength Vinyasa Yoga is more accessible to practitioners of different backgrounds thanks to its unique approach. By relaxing the musculature before entering the pose, you enable the body to create beautiful shapes you may have previously found inaccessible. This practice also promotes individual refinement, encouraging practitioners to adjust the poses to suit their body shape and level of experience. This is especially useful for people who struggle with mobility issues, joint inflammation, peculiar bone structure, or those who reside in a larger body.
  • Contemporary. Although CVS is inspired by many concepts of traditional yoga practice, it also keeps the practice fresh and modern. It is less formal, which can be a selling point for those who want to benefit from yoga’s physical and mindful aspects without getting involved with its spiritual nature. This also affects the relationship between the teacher and their students – it is less hierarchical and more personal.

Core Strength Vinyasa Yoga Poses

Core Strength Vinyasa Yoga poses include:

Fists of Fire

This is a variation on the yogic Lunge, emphasizing core conditioning. The legs remain in a soft, floating position instead of the traditional “stiff” alignment. The name of the pose refers to the arm and hand position. The hands are formed into fists and held on either side of the hips as the elbows pull back. There is a dynamic transition between High Lunge and Fists of Fire guaranteed to make the entire body sweat.

Chair Pose

A pose that perfectly fits CSV’s narrative. It establishes a grounding connection through the feet, powers the lower body, aligns the pelvis and lower back, and targets deep core muscles.

Eight-Angle Pose

A fun arm balance that activates core muscles. If you’ve had trouble introducing arm balances into your practice, you may want to try Core Strength Vinyasa. It emphasizes moving with ease and self-love, which can be more effective than strict repetition.

Lord of the Dance

Another example of a standing posture utilized in Core Strength Vinyasa. CSV’s unique approach can be particularly helpful in mastering standing balances.

How to Practice Core Strength Vinyasa Yoga

Although there is a definite overlap between Core Strength Vinyasa and other styles of yoga, what makes it stand out is the approach to the practice. Each pose is entered through a “wave-like” movement with relaxed muscles, which allows the body to settle into the pose. It also makes it more attractive and accessible to practitioners who struggle with the alignment and flexibility required by the traditional yoga styles.

The structure of Core Strength Vinyasa revolves around a 7-step framework, which is invoked for every new pose. If you go to your first Core Strength Vinyasa class, don’t be surprised to hear the following cues:

  • Neutralize. This is a cue to soften and relax the body. To try and rid the body of any tension that may be there. This step is necessary for creating less resistance in the body as you enter the asana.
  • Grounding wave. As the name indicated, this step urges the practitioner to create a grounding connection, a firm base. In standing poses, the knees are unlocked, and the foot arches are engaged. In seated poses, you may harness connection through shins, ankles, or the seat.
  • Y wave. When this cue is spoken, it signals to use the grounding connection you’ve just established to direct more force into the lower body.
  • Psoas wave. At this point, the pelvis is aligned and “lifted”. This allows the practitioner to avoid compression of the lower back and engage pelvic muscles and some core muscles. The deep core muscles located near the spine engaged in this process are responsible for the elevation in standing poses. As the pelvis is tilted, it stretches the longest muscle in the body – the psoas.
  • Lumbar wave. The next step is to release the sacrum, almost moving in the opposite direction to the psoas wave. This wave activates the back core muscles that support the lower spine.
  • Axial wave. With this cue, the limbs are extended softly away from the body. The effect of this wave depends on the pose it is applied to. The teacher may provide further insight into how you can apply this extension to specific poses.
  • Refine. The final step speaks for itself. At this point, the practitioner makes any additional adjustments they may consider necessary. The “refinement” can mean different things to different people. This wave is specifically designed for the practitioner to make the pose make sense in their body.

Start Core Strength Vinyasa Yoga at Home

If you don’t have access to a studio with Core Strength Vinyasa classes or would rather try it at home, check out these follow-along videos. Bear in mind that you need special equipment for this type of yoga.

Compassion Yoga – Core Strength Vinyasa – Yoga With Adriene

Core Strength Vinyasa Flow with Patrick Beach

Core Strength Vinyasa Yoga Introduction with Sadie Nardini

Asana Soul – CSV Fun and Fierce Flow Yoga

Core Strength Vinyasa Yoga FAQs

What Level of Experience Do You Need to Attend Core Strength Vinyasa Yoga Class?

In short, CSV practice is open to all levels, even including practitioners with chronic conditions or special circumstances. However, you should be prepared to enter this practice with an open mind. Even if you have some yoga experience, you may find Core Strength Vinyasa affecting you in a completely new way. Because the framework of this practice emphasizes static postures and transitions, you may find that Core Strength Vinyasa is more tiring than your usual practice.

Is Core Strength Vinyasa an Evidence-Based Style of Yoga?

The thing that makes CSV yoga a unique practice is its scientific approach to movement. Sadie Nardini, the founder of Core Strength Vinyasa, is a self-professed anatomy nerd. This is reflected in this style of yoga – it acknowledges and respects individual strengths and limitations while cultivating an effective practice that makes you work twice as hard. Don’t be discouraged. Hard work is not defined by your current skill level. Instead, the practice is adapted to each practitioner to make it challenging enough for them.

Important: Check with your doctor before trying Core Strength Vinyasa Yoga for the first time if you have any injury, illness, pain, or are pregnant.

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