Building a strong core is more than simply about flattening your tummy or getting six-pack abs. The core is at the heart of several activities you perform during the day, whether it’s sitting at your desk job, going for a walk/run, or doing grueling workouts in the gym. Good core strength helps maintain right posture, improve your performance in workouts, relieve back related issues, enhance balance, and much more.
If you’re ready to work on making your core muscles stronger, then yoga is an excellent option to go with. In terms of difficulty level, the yoga poses for core vary from easy to much advanced. So, it doesn’t matter if you’re a newbie or a pro, you’re sure to find a yoga asana that challenges your core. Shared below are 4 poses in yoga that are great for core strengthening.
1. Plank Pose
A classic pose in yoga, planks should be practiced to develop strength in abdominal muscles, spinal muscles, as well as in the upper body that includes chest, shoulders, and arms. If you’ve performed Surya Namaskar or Sun Salutations before, then chances are that you’ve come across the plank pose already.
There are a couple of variations and modifications of the plank pose for you to work with. You could do plank pose on your hands or on your forearms. You can rest your knees on the floor if the full plank pose isn’t suitable for you. Side plank and reverse or upward plank are also great poses for building stamina, alignment, and of course strength.
Whichever plank pose you choose to perform, hold it for a couple of seconds to challenge and develop your endurance.
2. Warrior III Pose
This standing balancing posture requires utmost engagement of the physical muscles and mental focus. Several muscles groups are recruited in Warrior III pose, these include abs, calf muscles, glutes, hamstrings, back muscles, shoulders, and ankles. Not to mention, holding the pose steadily requires immense balance, razor-sharp focus, and seamless coordination between different muscles.
The pose can be viewed as an intermediate level pose. If you’re a beginner in yoga, then it’ll require some practice before you can perform the pose with ease without falling out of it now and then! Once you do master this dynamic pose, though, you’ll love how invigorating it feels. To help with the balance part, you could take gentle support of a chair or a wall, just until you get it right on your own.
3. Locust Pose
Locust is another intermediate level posture that’s great for abdominal muscles as well as the whole back body. It improves your back’s strength and mobility. The considerable use of legs and glutes means that these muscles become stronger too. As you lift and open up your shoulders and chest in this asana, your posture becomes better.
The pose also enables stimulation of organs in the abdomen, which can be useful in alleviating certain digestion related issues, like flatulence and indigestion. If your aim is to get into more intense backbend poses like wheel pose or bow pose, then consistent practice of the locust pose would help you prepare for the same. So, in addition to toning your core muscles, this backbending pose does several other good things for your body too.
4. Dolphin Pose
Want to build some serious strength in your core as well as upper body? Then get to work with dolphin pose. Your upper back as well as shoulders and arms are challenged a great deal in this pose, which helps increase strength in these areas. The posture provides a good stretch in the calf and hamstring muscles, thus promoting more flexibility in them. And of course, there’s the significant core engagement, which means it’s a great opportunity for you to boost your core strength. The calming effects of dolphin pose make it all the more enjoyable and beneficial for you.
If you have problems with your wrist when doing downward facing dog pose, then you could consider trying dolphin pose as an alternative.
When you do this inversion pose properly, it alone can feel difficult enough. But, if you want, you can also practice dolphin pose to prepare for attempting more difficult inversion poses like headstand.