Core focused sequences are often a favorite among yoga students because of the universal desire to have a flat and toned tummy. But strengthening the core has many health benefits too. The core is a central part in our body that helps to stabilize us and keep us balanced in our yoga practice. The teaching cue, ‘activate the core’ is used in virtually every balance pose. Keeping the core strong is also a good way to improve your yoga practice because it will help with your alignment and prevent injuries to your lower back. Strengthening the core also helps us in poses such as Chatarunga because it takes pressure off our shoulders and wrists.
Yoga Poses For Core Strength
Read on to learn 5 yoga poses for core strength you can incorporate into your practice today!
1. Balancing Table
Balancing Table is a great core and balancing pose. Repeat up to 20 times for each side to activate your core.
To begin, start in a table top position. Engage the core to keep you balanced. Extend your left leg back, flexing the toes down. At the same time, extend the right arm forward. Keep a straight line through the arm, spine, and back extended leg. Hold for a breath before switching to the opposite leg and arm.
Boat is another good core focused pose that also helps us to improve our balance. Try to challenge yourself by holding this pose for longer periods of time – anywhere between 20 to 40 seconds or longer depending on your strength level.
Begin in a seated position with your knees bent in front of you. Engage your core muscles and begin to tilt back slightly. Grab on to the backs of your thighs and begin to lift the legs up so that the shins become close to being parallel to the mat. For beginners, keep your hands on the back of your thighs or on the mat behind you. To advance the pose, you can try to bring your arms directly in front of you so that they are parallel to the mat.
3. Side Plank
Side Plank helps us to strengthen our side obliques, another important part of our core. Try to stay in Side Plank for 20 seconds on each side or longer.
Begin in plank pose. Lift your left arm up towards the sky. Stack the feet or place the left foot directly in front of the right foot. If this is too much for you, come down on the right knee. Stack the shoulders and keep the neck in line with your head. Engage the core muscles and pull your obliques up towards the sky. Hold and switch sides.
Dolphin helps to strengthen our core and also our upper backs. Aim to hold this pose for 30 seconds or longer. Repeat several times.
Begin in a table top position. Lower your forearms to the mat so that they become flat and parallel to each other. Option to bring palms face down on the mat or clasp them together. Engage the core and the quads. Tuck the toes and begin to peel the hips up towards the ceiling, reaching up through the tailbone. Straighten the legs and press the heels towards the ground. Keep the spine long and broaden across the shoulder blades.
Plank isn’t known as a yoga pose but it is the beginning of the common Chaturanga pose. It is a great way to strengthen not only the core, but also our legs, upper back, and shoulders. Challenge yourself to stay in Plank for 30 seconds to a full minute at a time.
Start in a table top position with shoulders directly over the wrists. Extend your legs out straight so that you come up on the balls of your feet. Engage the quads and core muscles. Option to come down onto your forearms, if this is too much for your wrists. Keep the neck soft and the spine elongated.