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Practice These 5 Yoga Poses To Build Serious Core Strength

Amanda Christian
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The benefits of core strength cannot be understated! Not only does your core support your posture and protect your back, it also provides overall strength and stability throughout your body. In this article, we’ll explore five yoga poses for core strength.

While many people think a strong core is all about that visible six-pack, there’s actually a lot more going on. The powerful, but less visible, transversus abdominis muscle wraps around your torso and supports your organs, while also providing stabilization as you bend and twist.

That means you can confidently go for a hike and catch yourself when you trip (speaking from personal experience on this one), or just have more endurance for your favorite yoga pose.

Here Are 5 Yoga Poses For Core Strength

Just about all yoga poses require, and build, core strength from the inside out. Add the five poses below to your normal yoga practice for an extra challenge!
Remember: bring awareness to the breath and try to maintain even inhales and exhales while you’re practicing. These poses are listed from easiest to hardest, so I would recommend practicing them in order!

1. Cosmic Egg Pose

Yes, that’s really the name! This is a great pose to warm up and bring your awareness to your core strength. It might look easy, but focus on steady breathing and this will quickly become a challenge.
How To Do It:

  • Start seated and bring your knees together, hugging them into your chest
  • Wrap your arms around your legs to hold
  • Lift your feet off the ground as you lean back slightly to find balance
  • Engage the lower abdominal muscles to avoid rounding your back
  • Roll your shoulders back and draw the shoulder blades down while keeping your gaze forward
  • Hold for 10 breaths, or until you can no longer maintain proper form

Variation: To make this more challenging, bring your arms out to the sides parallel with the floor.

2. Boat Pose (Navasana)

This pose is a classic yoga pose for core strength! It strengthens both the abdominal muscles and the hip flexors.
The hip flexors are a group of muscles in the front of the hip that have attachments on the lumbar spine, femur, and pelvis. Strengthening the hip flexors can help stabilize the spine and contribute to overall core strength.
How To Do It:

  • Start in a seated position and draw your knee towards your chest
  • Hug belly button to spine to activate your core strength, and lift your feet off the ground
  • Balance on your tailbone
  • Straighten the legs, point through the toes, and press the big toes together
  • Avoid rounding the back
  • The arms are straight and parallel with the floor
  • Hold for 10 breaths or until you can no longer maintain proper form

Variations: To make this easier, bend the knees so shins are parallel to the mat. To make this harder, bring the arms up overhead with the biceps right by the ears, and hold a yoga block in between the hands.

3. Plank Pose

Plank is my favorite core strength exercise! This pose is strengthening and toning your entire body, specifically your abdominals, your back, and your shoulders.
How To Do It:

  • Start in a tabletop position with your hands directly under your shoulders and your knees on the ground under your hips
  • “Starfish” your hands to spread your fingers as wide as possible
  • Protract the shoulders by pressing your hands into the mat and spreading the shoulder blades away from one another
  • Tuck your toes and lift your knees off the ground as you step the feet back to create one straight, powerful line from your shoulders to your heels
  • Be conscious of the hips and don’t let them sag too low or lift too high, your body should create a nice diagonal line
  • Hold for 10 breaths or until you can no longer maintain proper form

Variations: To make this more challenging, add Mountain Climbers. Inhale as you bring your right knee towards your right elbow, exhale to send it back. Alternate sides with your breath.


4. Forearm Plank

Similar to Plank Pose above, but a little more challenging! This is a great pose for building up your endurance and strengthening the lower back, which I believe is crucial in any core strength program.
How To Do It:

  • Start on your knees with your forearms on the mat, fingertips spread wide and engaged with the mat
  • Make sure your shoulders are stacked over the elbows
  • Press the forearms into the mat and draw the shoulder blades away from each other
  • Tuck the toes, lift the knees, and straighten the legs back
  • Be conscious of the hips and don’t let them sag too low
  • Drop to your knees if you have any back pain
  • Hold for 10 breaths or until you can no longer maintain proper form

Variations: To make this more challenging, hover one foot off the mat, foot flexed with toes facing down, and hold. Alternate feet.

5. Fallen Triangle With Leg Lift

Talk about strength and stability! Get ready for your obliques to fire up with this one! If you’re in need of a challenge, add this pose to your practice regularly.
How To Do It:

  • Start in Downward Facing Dog
  • Crunch your right knee in towards your chest
  • Pivot towards your left, and bring your left heel to the mat while simultaneously lifting your left arm straight up towards the sky
  • Keep your core strong to avoid the temptation to let the hips sag or the butt to stick out
  • The shoulders should be stacked over the right wrist
  • Straighten the right leg, and keep the right foot on the mat, or lift it up for more intensity
  • Hold for 5-10 breaths on each side, or until you can no longer maintain proper form


Enjoy Your Strong Core!

I’ve personally found the process of building core strength to be a very rewarding one because the benefits go beyond the physical. Yes, you get stronger and hold poses for longer, but you also build up your mental stamina, which I’ve found to be the most powerful benefit.
Holding a challenging pose longer than you thought, or trying to positively talk yourself through the last 10 seconds – this is where the real change happens.
I hope you find space in your practice to try these yoga poses for core strength! With consistent practice over time, the effects of strong abdominal muscles will be felt throughout the body and mind.

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Amanda Christian

Amanda is a registered yoga teacher with a passion for wandering in the forest, teaching outdoor yoga, and drawing mandalas. She lives for campfire conversations and dark starry skies. Over on her website, she has free yoga classes, hiking guides and tips for getting creative! Follow her adventures on Instagram and YouTube @amandaoutside.


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