YOGA FOR CORE STRENGTH
This sequence is made up of poses that will improve your corestrength and help flatten your abs. While doing yoga is not the best way to geta six-pack, you can expect to significantly tone and strengthen your belly.Strengthening your core can also help relieve back pain and improve yourposture (nothing makes your belly look bigger than slouching!). Many of theposes recommended below are balances, which are a great way to work the core.
10 YOGA Pose FOR CORE STRENGTH
CAT & COW POSES
1. Let’s get started by coming onto all fours with your kneesunderneath your hips and your wrists underneath your shoulders.
2. Do a few Cat-Cow Stretches to warm up, arching yourback on your inhalations and rounding your spine on yourexhalations. Remember to keep your belly hugging in throughout bothmotions.
HAND & KNEEBALANCE
1. Return to your hands and knees with your spine in a neutralposition.
2. Lift your right leg and straighten it, holdingit parallel to the floor. Flex your right foot strongly.
3. When you feel stable, raise your left arm, also parallelto the floor.
Stay in Hands and Knees Balance for 5 breaths.
Repeat with the left leg and right arm raised.
Challenge Variation: If you needan extra challenge, bend the right knee and reach around your back withyour left arm to hold your right ankle.
1. Come back onto all fours. Curl your toes under and draw yourhips back as you straighten your legs into Downward Facing Dog. Keepyour belly hugging in towards your spine.
2. On an inhale, raise your right leg until it is roughlyparallel to the floor, coming to a Down Dog Split. It’s OK to lift yourleg higher if you can do so while keeping your hips squared towards thefloor.
Hold for 5 breaths.
Repeat with the left leg lifted.
Challenge Variation: Slowly take your extended legin three big clockwise circles. Follow up with three big counter-clockwisecircles.
1. Come forward into Plank Pose.
2. Remember that the distance between your hands and your feetshould be the same in Plank as in Down Dog. Pay attention to the position ofyour hips. You don’t want your butt to stick up or sag down.
Hold 3-5 breaths.
Challenge Variation: When you come forward fromyour Down Dog Split, keep your leg raised off the floor. Returnto Down Dog Split, switch legs and then do Plank again.
SIDE PLANK –VASISHTASANA
1. From Plank, shift your weight onto your right arm as you rollonto the outside of your right foot.
2. Keep both of your legs straight as you stack your leftfoot on top of the right. You can also stagger the feet one behind the other ifthat’s a better fit.
3. Lift your left arm up towards the ceiling andyour gaze to the left fingertips, coming into Side Plank.
After 3-5 breaths, roll back to the center and do the otherside, resting in Downward Facing Dog between the two sides if you like.
Challenge Variation: Lift your left foot,hovering it above the right.
1. Come back to Downward Facing Dog and rest forfive breaths.
2. Bring your right foot forward next to your right hand.
3. Bend your right knee and align it over your right ankle sothat your right thigh is parallel to the floor.
4. Raise both arms up towards the ceiling, coming into a HighLunge.
Stay for 5 breaths.
Beginners’ Variation: Place your hands onyour hips.
Challenge Variation: On an inhale, straighten theright leg. Exhale and bend the right knee back over the ankle. Continue forfive breath cycles.
HALF-MOON POSE –ARDHACHANDRASANA
1. From High Lunge, bring the left hand to your waist.
2. Place your right fingertips 12-18 inches in front of yourright foot and straighten your right leg as you lift your left legparallel to the mat, coming into Ardha Chandrasana.
Hold 3-5 breaths.
Beginners’ Variation: Take a block underyour right hand if necessary.
Challenge Variation: Bend your left knee and reachyour left hand around to grab your left ankle. This variation is called SugarcanePose.
CHAIR POSE –UTKATASANA
1. From Ardha Chandrasana, drop the left foot down next to yourright foot.
2. Bring both arms up and bend your knees, coming into ChairPose.
Hold 5 breaths.
EAGLE POSE –GARUDASANA
1. From Chair pose, shift your weight into your right leg.
2. Lift the left foot off the floor, then wrap the left legaround the right. Hook your left toes on your right calf, if possible.
3. Take your arms out to the sides and wrap the left arm overthe right, bringing the palms together.
Balance in Eagle Pose for 3-5 breaths.
4. Unwrap your arms and legs, bring your palms to the floor andhop or step back to Downward Dog.
Rest here five breaths before repeating the previous fourposes on the left side.
Challenge Variation: On each exhale, bring yourelbows to your knees. On each inhale, return to your starting position.
BOAT POSE –NAVASANA
1. Come to sit on your mat.
2. Bring the legs straight up to a 45-degree angle, cominginto Boat Pose. The torso will naturally fall back, but do not let thespine collapse.
3. Make a “V” shape with the body.
4. Bring the arms out straight in line with the shoulders.
Beginners’ Variation: Bend your knees, bringingyour shins parallel to the floor. This is called Half Boat. If this is tough tomaintain, you can hold on to the backs of your thighs.
Challenge Variation: Once you have established thepose, release the legs and torso simultaneously down towards the floor andhover there. Come back up into the pose like a sit-up. Do this as many times asyou can.
Come to lie on the back for a well-deserved rest!