Yoga Poses for a Strong Core
Want a strong, toned core? Our latest blog has you sorted with a bunch of different yoga poses that specifically target the middle area.
We all want a powerful core!
Toned middle-areas aside, there are a lot of reasons to strengthen this important part of the body.
When your core is strong, your whole body is more capable and fluid. A strong core helps protect your inner organs, prevent injury and stop back pain. It also results in a better posture – when you’re steady through your centre, you’re able to stand straight and tall. No more hunching!
Luckily, there are a lot of yoga poses that work the core and strengthen it over time. I’ve put together 5 of my favourites. Try to incorporate them into your next practice!
Locust Pose (Salabhasana)
Locust pose opens the spine and strengthens the muscles in the back. Your abdominal muscles must be engaged to ensure your chest and thighs come fully off the floor.
Lie on your stomach and place your hands by your shoulders with your elbows bent. Point your toes, squeeze your glutes and lift your chest then thighs off the mat. When you feel comfortable and strong, bring your hands behind you and interlock the fingers to maximise the pose. As you inhale, try to lift a little higher. As you exhale, let your chest and thighs drop naturally. Hold the position for 10 full breaths.
Triangle Pose (Utthita Trikonasana)
Triangle pose is a common one. As well as strengthening the abdominal muscles and obliques, it activates most of the body and stretches the legs.
Standing in the centre of the mat, place your hands on your hips and move your feet about a metre apart. Turn your left toes to the front of the mat and your right to the side, keeping the heel of your left foot in line with the middle of your back foot. Stretch your arms to the sides and move your upper body over the left foot, extending your left hand down the left ankle and the right hand to the roof. Keep the legs straight and hold for 10 counts before straightening and swapping sides. You can hold a light weight above the head while in triangle pose to work the core even more.
One-legged Downward Facing Dog (Eka Pada Adho Mukha Svanasana)
A variation of downward facing dog, the one-legged dog is a great core and upper body strengthener. It also works the shoulders, improves balance and encourages circulation.
Move into downward facing dog and lift your left leg towards the roof. Press your right heel into the mat and keep your palms flat. Make sure your hips and shoulders are aligned. Take 4 deep breaths before lowering the left foot and returning to downward dog. Take 2 more breaths here, then move into one-legged dog on the other side.
Boat Pose (Navasana)
Boat Pose is a real burner, activating every muscle in your core. If this is an area you really want to strengthen and tone, you should be incorporating boat pose into every practice.
Sit firmly on your bottom, bend the knees and lean back slightly as you place your feet on the mat. Engage your lower abdominal muscles and raise your legs so that your calves are parallel to the mat. Lift your chest and reach the arms out until they are also parallel to the mat. For more of a challenge, straighten the legs and lean back another few inches until you feel your core really begin to burn. Hold here for 8 more breaths, then release down and repeat twice more.
Upward Facing Dog (Urdhva Mukha Svanasana)
This pose is used in most practices, and is great for opening the chest, strengthening the spine and arms, and working the core.
Lie face-down on the mat with your legs together and hands by your chest. Bend the elbows, push down with the palms and tops of the feet, and raise your chest towards the roof. Squeeze the shoulders together and activate the glutes until your thighs lift off the mat and your arms are straight. Hold for 8 breaths.