Yoga Poses for a Strong Core
When asking for requests from my students in a Vinyasa class, there is usually at least one person who will ask for core work. Who doesn’t want a strong core to look and feel good? While most active Yoga Pose involve core or better known as Uddiyana Bandha engagement, I have a few key pose in my back pocket if people request focus on their abdominals in class. Check out these Yoga Poses selected to fire up your core in a Vinyasa Flow class!
Setup From Downward Facing Dog, shift the body weight forward so the shoulders stack on top of the wrists. Keep the hips inline with the torso creating a horizontal line or a plank. Draw the pubic bone to the navel finding a neutral pelvis. Press firmly through the balls of the feet engaging in the legs. Reach the crown of the head forward keeping the back of the neck long. Stay here for 5-10 breaths. Modifications If this is too challenging or if you feel pain in your low back lower the knees to the floor. Keep the body weight forward so the hips are past the knees. If you have a wrist injury or feel pain lower on to forearms for forearm plank. Variations For more intensity try extending one arm forward and/or the opposite leg off the floor behind you. Try side plank (vashistasana) rolling to the outer edge of one foot stacking the legs and planking on the same hand as bottom foot, extend the opposite arm straight up in to the air. Explore forearm plank pose as well.
Boat Pose (navasana)
Setup Sit tall on your sitz bones and bend your knees taking a hold of behind your thighs. Lift your Legs into the air on a diagonal plane and extend the arms straight out in front of you creating a V shape in the body. Reach out through the crown of the head and keep the chest lifted. Draw the navel in toward the spine and upward. Stay for 5 breaths and repeat 3-5 times. Modifications If the low back rounds or if this is too challenging try these steps to build the strength required. 1.Keep the feet flat on the floor and bring the fingertips behind your hips. 2.Take a hold of behind your thighs and lift the feet off the floor. Keep the shins parallel to the ceiling. 3. Keep the knees bent and try to extend the arms staying high on the sitz bones. Variations To increase intensity lower the legs and torso hovering about a foot off the floor to half boat pose or ardha navasana stay here for a few breaths or go back and forth on the cue of the breath between full and half boat pose to build some heat. Add a twist by brining the hands into prayer at the center of the chest and twist the prayer to the right then back to center and twist the left alternating from side to side.
Warrior III (Virabhadrasana III)
Setup Set Up From High Lunge or Crescent Lunge, press off the back foot to lift the back leg off the floor while leaning the torso forward and parallel to the floor. Extend the arms forward. Flex the back foot and reach out through the heel and through the crown of the head. Modifications Place Hands on to a block for support for the back or if the hamstrings are tight. Place hands on hips to keep the hips level and parallel to the ground. Variations There are different options for the arms either extend them to the sides, to the back, in prayer or reverse prayer.