I Speak Yoga: Navel to Spine


#CuetheCues Series

Navel to Spine is our next #CueTheCues phrase we are poking around trying to understand. You’re likely to hear this cue during poses in which core engagement is particularly important.

Here’s one way to understand it:

Sit up tall and inhale. Exhale completely but don’t inhale another breath. Instead, while holding your breath, use your abdominal muscles to pull your belly in. Retain your exhalation for as long as you can so you can feel where your navel is in relationship to your spine. Inhale when you need to and return to your natural breath pattern. You just practiced one of the most powerful locks, or bandhas, in hatha yoga. It is called uddiyana bandha.

Josh Lynn of Yoga4Equality and got to chat a little about this cue recently and filmed it along with some breathwork to help you retain the concept of this abdominal engaging and strengthening cue.

Navel to spine is a yoga cue that is important for your spine’s integrity and for strengthening the girdle of muscles around it that offer your back support in yoga classrooms and in general with posture and life.

Sometimes even if the cues you hear from a teacher make sense, you will encounter moments during classes when the teacher’s instructions don’t immediately resonate with you. This is true for all of us.  When this happens, feel into where you are in your practice and consider whether or not you need the particular cue. If it serves you, take it! But if the extra instruction feels like “noise,” listen to it for a moment and then let it go.

Thank you for following along with this series of #CuetheCues. To be part of this series, reach out: debby@yogogirls.com. I’d love to work with you.


Josh Lynn, 500 RYT: Josh finished Massage Therapy training in 2010. After some travel and personal growth, he landed back in his hometown of St. Louis where he finished my first 200 hour Yoga Teacher Training in March of 2012 through WE Yoga. Josh then expanded his education through a 300 hour Yoga Teacher Training in March of 2017 at Sampoorna Yoga in Goa, India. He teaches regularly at Pura Vegan Yoga and Yoga Six.

Thank you Pura Vegan Yoga + Cafe for allowing us to film in your beautiful yoga studio.

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