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7 Yoga Poses for a Stronger Core
Start on hands and knees. Step feet back so they're hip-width apart, keeping toes tucked and shoulders and wrists in line. Tuck chin slightly, keeping spine in line with body. Engage navel to spine and energetically reach back through heels while pushing through crown of head. Do not lock elbows. Reach right arm straight forward in line with ear. Engage your core. Aim to breathe here for 1 minute, but if your hips start to slouch, come out of the pose. Rest in child's pose, and then repeat on the other side.
From plank pose, lift your right foot about a foot or so off the ground so that your right leg is in line with your spine. Stay here for 5 deep breaths, and then repeat on the left side.
Side Plank Hugs
From plank pose, transfer weight onto left hand and outer edge of left foot and reach right arm toward the ceiling. Stack right foot on top of left and press hips away from the ground for extra arm benefit. Take a big inhale here in side plank, and on your exhale, reach your right arm underneath your left ribcage, contracting through your left obliques. On your next inhale lift back to side plank. Do 5 to 10 reps and then repeat on the right side.
Down Dog Knee to Nose Reps
Begin in downward dog. Lift your right leg high to downward dog split. Round your right knee to your nose, drawing your navel toward your spine. On your inhale, come back to downward dog split, and on your exhale, tap your knee to your nose while you contract your navel to your spine. Do this at least 5 times quickly, and then repeat on the other side.
One-Legged Dolphin Push-Ups
From all fours, place forearms on the ground shoulder-distance apart, tuck toes, and lift hips into dolphin. Take a breath here, then lengthen right leg high to a dolphin split. Start to reach chin toward thumbs on an inhale, coming almost to a forearm plank. Use your core as you exhale to lift back to one-legged dolphin, raising hips back toward the ceiling. Do 10 reps. Rest in child's pose for 3 breaths, then repeat with left leg high.
Begin seated on your mat with your knees bent in front of you and your feet flat on the ground. Reach your arms forward so that your hands brush the sides of your knees, palms face up. Lean back until your torso is at a 45-degree angle to the floor. Slowly lift your feet off of the ground as you straighten your legs, forming a "V" with body. Open your chest and engage your abdominal muscles to hold the position. Breathe here for at least 10 deep breaths.
Squat on the balls of the feet with knees together and fingertips on the ground for balance. Twist to right, hooking left elbow outside of right thigh. Breathe here for a few deep breaths to get comfortable, then place hands shoulder-distance apart on the ground, press into fingertips, and start bending elbows (both energetically reaching toward your midline and not winging out) to tip forward, looking a bit forward, not down. Eventually, feet will tip off the ground—don't force it, it will come! Breathe here for 5 deep breaths, then repeat on the other side.