Featured in: Fitness & Weight Management  |  May 29, 2020

10 Yoga Poses for Your Core

By Sandra Winters

Core exercises and yoga are both great parts of an overall fitness plan. Now we have combined them: If you want a strong core, you must try these yoga poses. Namaste!

1. Boat Pose

Boat strengthens not only  the core but also the hip flexors and the muscles around the spine. In addition, this pose stretches your hamstrings and aids balance. When performing this pose, beginners can then extend their arms and gently hold onto their knees, while intermediate yogis can maintain their knee bend and reach their hands towards their feet. If you are an expert, you can straighten your legs to eye level and make a V-shape with your body. People of all skill levels can perform Boat in a way that is most comfortable for them.

2. Cat Pose

Cat flexes your abdominal muscles while also massaging your spine and abdominal organs. Not only does the cat pose allow you to stretch your body, but it is an excellent way to relax; the gentle inhaling and exhaling process can help you unwind and free your mind.

3. Chair Pose

Chair, which is similar to a squat, is a pose for intermediate and advanced yogis. In addition to the squatting position, individuals performing this pose also stretch their arms above their heads. This position puts more stress on the core, forcing the the core muscles to get stronger. If you are a beginner yogi, try holding this position for a few seconds. More advanced yogis can hold this position for several breaths, or even perform reps.

4. Camel Pose

If you love to bike, your body may experience tight hips and a sore back; doing Camel can help (as well as tightening your core). It can also open your chest and may even help you feel a little brighter as well. When doing this pose, hold for 30 to 60 seconds. You may want to assume Child’s Pose after this to transition.

5. Crane Pose

Crane is another challenging pose: It requires significant strength and balance. If you are capable of assuming this pose, you can build strength in your arms and your abs. Crane can be held for as long as the individual feels comfortable.

6. Dolphin Plank Pose

The dolphin plank is a combination of the Dolphin and Plank poses. Combining them is a great way to work on your abdominal strength, while improving posture and stretching the hamstrings. This pose should be held for five breaths. Repeat this 10 times, or more or less depending on your skill level.

7. Plank Pose

Plank can be performed by individuals of all skill levels. For those who are just starting out in yoga, you may only be able to hold this pose for a few seconds. Those who are more advanced can hold this pose for many breaths and can also use Plank to transition into other advanced yoga poses. This pose focuses on core strength, but it can also help with calf and arm strength.

8. Scale Pose

Intermediate to advanced yogis can use Scale to improve core strength and tone the entire body. This pose should include the changing of crossed legs. Hold this pose for 10 to 15 seconds, or less if you are not comfortable.

9. Triangle Pose

Triangle is suitable for anyone who wants to strengthen their core or improve their running abilities—it helps your lower body work in sync. It also opens up your chest and shoulders and works the side body. Yogis can increase or decrease the difficulty of this pose by placing their free hand on the floor, their shin or a block. Placing the free hand on a block is the easiest position, while placing the hand on the floor is the most difficult. Hold for five breaths, come up, and then repeat on the other side.

10. Upward Facing Dog Pose

Upward Facing Dog can help not only the core but the chest, shoulders and buttocks as well. A pose for yogis of all skill levels, Up Dog can be performed by itself as a way to relax and stretch, or part of a combination of yoga poses designed to build muscle. Individuals can hold this pose for as long as they want depending on their comfort level.

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