Top 5 Yoga Poses to Strengthen your Core

I’ve been doing a lot of yoga lately.  It’s almost Spring Break and bathing suit season!  Time to kick up your workouts a notch and concentrate on the areas that give you the most problems.  Here are the Top 5 yoga poses to get your core ready for the summertime.

 

Boat Pose – From a seated position, bring the legs straight up to a 45 degree angle. The torso will naturally fall back, but do not let the spine collapse. Make a “V” shape with the body. Bring the arms out straight in line with the shoulders. Balance on the sit bones.

– Beginners: Bend the knees if necessary, bringing the calves parallel the the floor. This is Half Boat Pose (click the photo to see this variation).

– Advanced: To increase core strength, release from the pose bringing the legs and torso simultaneously towards the floor and hold just before you touch the floor. Come back up into the pose like a sit-up. Repeat this several times.


Dolphin Plank Pose – Start on your hands and knees.  Slowly lower your elbows to the ground, one by one.  Then step back with your feet until your body is in a straight line and your heels are over your toes.  Hold your body in a straight line being careful that your back does not arch.  Contract your abdominals.  Hold the post while breathing normally for five breaths. Rest and repeat up to 10 times.

Advanced: Hold for up to five minutes.

 

Warrior 3 Pose – From Warrior I, bring the hands onto your hips. Bring your weight forward into your front foot as you gently kick up your back leg. At the same time, bring the torso forward until it is parallel to the floor. Flex the raised foot and keep the muscles of the raised leg actively engaged. Bring the arms back along your sides, outstretched directly in front of you or stretched out on each side of you.  Repeat on the other side.

 

Triangle Pose – From Warrior 2, exhale and push your hips back to the back of the room. Bend from the hip joint, not the waist, while strengthening the back leg and firmly plant your heel to the ground. Rotate your body depending on what leg is back (right leg is back, turn torso to the right.) Rest your descending arm to your shin, ankle, or the floor, whichever is possible without distorting your torso. Lift the other arm straight up towards the ceiling; making sure your arm is in line with your shoulder. Open up your chest to the ceiling and look up to your thumb. Hold this pose for 30 seconds to one minute, and don’t forget to breathe! – Photo from fitsugar.com.

 

If you are feeling really ambitious…

Crow Pose – From Downward Dog, step or hop your feet forward and come into a Wide Squat. With hands spread wide, straighten your legs slightly and place your knees as high up onto your triceps as possible. Shift your weight forward into your hands, leaning the weight of your knees into the backs of your arms. Inhale to lift your feet off the floor.  Hold for 5 breaths. – Photo from fitsugar.com

 

– Jen

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