In my last article, I discussed the foundational Yoga Tune Up spinal bracing technique known as tubular core. Now that you know how this concept influences your body, it’s time to serenade the spine and awaken the Tubular Core orchestra or, the or-CORE-estra. Before we begin, shift your perspective to that of “every pose is an assessment”. Turn on your inner ear and listen to what your tissues are telling you…who’s participating, who’s not?
How to activate tubular core for beginners:
- Inhale into the abdomen and inflate all abdominal contents as if it were an inner tube.
- Retain the inhale and hold the breath.
- While maintaining the held breath simultaneously draw the puffed belly inner tube towards the spine from all conceivable angles. It’s as though you are bracing for impact to the gut without exhaling.
- Quickly palpate your Tubular Core. The entire core including the sides of the waist, lower back and intercostals should all be firm.
- Repeat steps 1-5 until the core’s orchestra is all in the same key during step 4.
- Then put your core’s orchestra to the test, attempting to recreate the sensation of Tubular Core without holding the breath.
If you’re looking to challenge and add precision to the activation of your Tubular Core, initiate using an abdominal thoracic breath (as demonstrated in the video below) in step 1, then proceed through step 7. In this variation, step 3 may feel as though you are attempting to cough without actually coughing.
Now that you have a harmonious or-CORE-estra, you are ready to take your abdominal work, inversions and heavy lifting to the next level. You will also detect traces of Tubular Core activation during daily respiration, elimination and (should you have to) expulsion of abdominal contents. It may even appear during everyday tasks from dressing to dishes. With proper awareness you will be amazed at how often your Tubular Core can be utilized throughout the day to help improve core-dination, posture and strength.
Interested in learning more? Check out the Coregeous DVD!
Thank you for including this video on the “Abdominal/Thoracic Breathing” or “Tubular Core”. I work with younger students and work to incorporate this awareness of breath in my teaching however I am still searching for other imagery that might help my students to visualize while working with this breath technique. Thank you for the reminder that “ever pose is an assessment”. These words are a wonderful reminder to check in!
While I find the activation of tubular core somewhat intuitive, I have a hard time finding the right words to describe the action to others. I like the visual of a cylinder of strength supporting and stabilizing the spine. The more I practice it and teach it, the better I hope to become at finding my own unique language to teach and apply tubular core in my every day life. I really appreciate the videos to back up the article, thank you!
The more I read about Tubular core and the different cues the more I can visualize this tube inside my own body. I really appreciate the step by step instructions to teach this to beginners too and your fun play on words, harmonious or-CORE-estra. Thank you.
Thank you Baylea this article clearly demonstrates how to activate the Tubular Core which provides stability for many daily activities…
Thank you for this recap again on how to access the tubular core. I appreciate the cue on breath retention: to pull the puffed belly inner tube towards the spine from all conceivable angles.
Great description of tubular core, including how to take it to the next step. I love the “cough without coughing” cue in particular!
Thanks for this article! I love learning about breathing. I’m still a little unclear on Step 4, the “palpate” the core, and also step 6, but still really interesting!
It seems that introducing tubular core supine gives feedback that tadasana would be unable to do
Love this breath technique. I have been using it in my down-regulation portion of my classes. Students have commented that it really helps them relieve anxieties but also gives their busy minds something to focus on so they aren’t being pulled away from their practice with to-do lists etc- especially at the end! Thank you.
As I’m currently doing a back care training as well as the YTU training, I find it very interesting to add this component to the overall back care practice. A healthy back hygiene doesn’t only involved bone alignment (posture), but also requires the participation of stabilizing muscles.
I absolutely love Tubular Core. It’s an amazingly effective way to explain how to brace the core with the tactical feedback of palpating so students will know for sure if their core is engaged. Thanks!
Thanks for this article! I am currently taking the YTU Level 1 course and have just learned about the tubular core! It feels so strong compared to what I was doing before, I can’t wait to try various exercises using this new method! I’m excited to see how my practice changes!
I find tubular core really helpful when doing asanas. Its not pulling navel to spine as what is usually told in yoga classes. Great way to stabilise the spine and also protect it.
Great steps! Will have to try this out. The awareness required to activate your tubular core reminds me a bit of nauli kriya, which I’ve also been trying to incorporate into my practice in order to improve my core activation while attempting inversions and arm balances. But of course, the improved posture and healthier spine alignment are also great perks.
Tubular core changed my practice. The “cough without coughing” cue is key! As a person with hyperlordosis, I am constantly having to remind myself not to hinge but to recruit my entire spine in any backbending posture. Tubular core has replaced my previous mental cue to “stop flaring the ribs and soften them down” because it effectively does that and more!
“every pose is an assessment”. Something to definitely ponder. Thanks
Thanks for the step by step instructions, it doesn’t have to be complicated just smooth and easy and so relaxing.
Thanks for this instructions.
it’s incedibile to feel how the tubulor core practice help my posture be strong and my spine be solid and strong , and also help me to align the rib cage on the pelvis .
Nice walk through tubular core. Thank you :).
I just learned about tubular core today, and it’s really making me rethink of how I breathe. To engage the core is not the common cue I hear and often even say myself in class, “Bring your navel to your spine.” The syncing and engagement of the abdominal and thoracic area is quite challenging. I have the reprogram my mind and body to breathe in such a way to activate tubular core.
Tubular core is so much easier to understand than engagement of the bandhas! This explanation of engagement is exactly what I have been looking for to help simplify cuing. Thank you!!!
Working with tubular core stabilization has saved my hyper mobile low back and has made me exponentially stronger.
I love tubular core because not only are we engaging our abdominals, but our serratus also, which is in demand to also stabilize our back body (scapula).
Thank you for the clear concise instructions and the reminder to engage the tubular core on and off the mat. “Learning to engage the entirety of the tubular core is ideal for maximizing spinal stability.” We so often forget that the core includes the sides and back body from the throat to the pelvic floor.
Thanks for the clear instructions. I also appreciated the reminder to activate the tubular core in everyday activities.
Thanks for this instructions. I´m still trying to figure out how to tubulor core, with pilates and yoga background it doesn´t seem to come as natural, but I´m working on it. It will be interesting no notice how it affect my spine.
Thank you, very clear and useful instructions to teach tubular core to beginners. This is a great reference to come back to, especially since I am just about to finish the YTU level 1 TT
Actually, tubular core is my HAHA moment of the training until now! I mean I never thought about gaining my back or my side. I was just working with my abs! It’s a whole different world to discover to understand how the tubular core is strong and also how it helps in every poses or different situations. Thanks for sharing the breathing exercice.
I have some problem doing that on a inhale, I feel that I can’t breath anymore… Maybe I am just so use to do it on the exhale. Practice, practice, practice 🙂
Using this breath exercise totally helps me “find my core” when I’m doing yoga and in my daily activities. In fact, it completely redefined what I consider the core to be. I remember when I first started doing yoga, an instructor would tell me to “engage my core” and I thought that meant “contract your rectus abdominis,” even though I didn’t know the name of that muscle at the time. Learning about the tubular core added so much strength and power to the cue. I look forward to leading my students to their core for more stability and strength.
Great instructions for engaging Tubular Core! I have been practicing engaging it in daily activities, such as when I am out for a walk with my dog, or as you said, standing in the kitchen. I find when I engage my core, my mobility is more fluid, I gain greater range of motion. I am always making an effort to improve my posture, and Tubular Core has helped tremendously.
Thank you for giving clear step by step instructions….very helpful as a reference .
This is a great step by step, thank you for the clear concise instructions.
Thank you for this clear explanation and concise step-by-step guide to tubular core. I will definitely incorporate this technique once I start teaching.
Thanks for the explanation on core engagement. I will be practising this daily and plan to incorporate these lessons once I start teaching.
Thank you for this clear and concise step-by-step guide to tubular core. This is a great reference to come back to and keep practicing as well as for teaching.
Thanks for the tips in this article! Our breath is our connection to life, and when this connection is unrestricted and strong, we are stronger, physically and mentally. This article reminds me that one can offer students a core strength yoga class that balances traditional fitness notions of abdominal strength with a strong focus on developing a strong and steady breath.
I have been repeating the tubular core steps the past few days and I did notice the change standing in the kitchen or watching outside through a window. This is such an important practice! How come our bodies forget about simple and natural things like breathing.
After my YTU Level 1 Training it is nice to read and watch this important breathe technique again.
Thank you for this tubular core intro. It will be helpful in all my Yoga Tune Up level 1 trainings!
Cette technique de respiration combinée à l’engagement du corset tubulaire est très efficace avant de commencer des entraînements questionner de réveiller les muscles posturaux et assurer la stabilisation de la colonne avant l’effort. Une belle habitude à intégrée dans notre quotidien. Merci pour cet article et ce vidéo explicatif!
Une pratique qui parrait simple, mais qui a tellement de bénéfices! Je compte bien l’enseigner lors de mes premiers cours!
So simple but so useful! I definitely need to practice to breathe at the same time! Pretty challenging!
Thanks for excellent cue’s for such an important part of Yoga Tune Up
Great article and instructions on how to activate tubular core. On a daily basis I practice this in order to develop awareness on my breath and become more present through this. I also realize that I improve my posture at the same time. Using tubular core is a great way to assess my body.
Such an easy pose and so important. Whenever I want my clients to practice something easy to create a habit, I tell them to use a red light as a trigger. Whenever they come to a red light while driving, they have to remember to breather or squeeze or whatever needs to be done. Tubular core is an easy one to add to this.
Thanks for the thorough explanation of tubular core. I find this technique really useful in every day life. For example, I even engage the tubular core when I am pulling open a door or when I brake at a stop light. It helps keep my spine supported and makes me feel more stable.
“Every pose is an assessment” is a great cue to help students take the pressure off performing and having to do it right. Thank you, I’ll be using that in classes, along with cueing tubular core more regularly.
Great post. I enjoyed your clear and easy to follow instructions and appreciated that you included examples of how this shows up in daily life. Thanks!
Great Blog! Tubular Core is challenging enough, but with the addition of thoracic breathing it becomes more so. I feel very much like I am bracing myself against an impact. 🙂
Very well written and easy to follow directions. I like how you brought it back to everyday life, a strong core is important for all activities we do.
I used this method of teaching tubular core engagement with my son’s baseball team. They loved it! simple practical and oh so good for them to learn this as teens and pre teens! In follow up sessions, I just have to place my hands on my core as I start the warm up and they all stand just a bit taller and I can see the concentration on their faces. Magical~
This is fun to do and then re-feel the muscle memory throughout the day. The abdominal thoracic breath with tubular core is a challenge! I am excited to continue to help my posture be strong and happy by using tubular core more in my life.