Did you know having a strong, toned core had another purpose besides ensuring you look great in 2 piece workout outfits? That’s right. A strong core serves as a steady foundation for your body. According to SHAPE, your core is actually the basic support for your entire body. This means to get out of bed, walk down the street, or balance on one foot, you need a strong core. In addition, the stronger your core, the stronger your body. That means any yoga practice should include core work, because without a strong core, holding some yoga poses become impossible. Thankfully, we have you covered in that department with the following yoga poses designed to boost your core:
This somewhat challenging pose strengthens both your abs and your hip flexors. Here’s how to do the boat pose:
- Sit on the floor with your legs straight in front of your body.
- Place your hands on the floor, pressing your hands downward behind your hips.
- Keep fingers pointed toward feet.
- Lift through your sternum and lean back, slightly. (don’t round your back)
- Sit on the tripod of your sitting bones.
- Bend your knees and lift your feet from the floor, angling your thighs between 45 and 50 degrees from the floor.
- As you get stronger, you can straighten your knees and raise the tips of your toes.
- Move your arms up until they are parallel to the floor alongside your legs.
- Make sure your shoulder blades are stretched out and not hunched.
- Keep the belly area firm and relatively flat.
- Hold the pose for between 10 and 20 seconds until you are able to hold it for the optimal time of a minute.
Named before it looks like the natural stretching of a cat, this gentle pose is ideal for both yoga beginners as well as experts of the practice. Here’s how to do the cat pose:
- Begin in tabletop position on your hands and knees.
- Make sure your knees are lined up below your hips and your elbow and wrists are in line with your shoulders.
- Place head in a neutral position, with eyes on the floor.
- Exhale and round your spine upwards towards the ceiling, keeping knees and shoulders in the previous position.
- Relax your head, allowing it to move towards the floor. Don’t force it, though, if your chin hits your chest, you’ve gone too far.
- Inhale and come back to the natural position.
Cat pose is often used in conjunction with cow pose which prompts you to round your spine towards the floor in the opposite direction as the cat pose after coming back to your neutral tabletop pose. Many yogis enjoy moving through these two poses in time with their breathing for a nice, relaxing stretch to warm up their muscles before their practice. It also serves the practical purpose of building your core.
These two yoga poses are wonderful ways to build strength in your core. Other core building poses include the plank pose, side plank, lunge and many others. Remember, building your core is about more than looking great in workout clothes for women. You need a strong core for every facet of your yoga practice, so keep up the good work!
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