Yoga to Strengthen the Core Muscles

strong absWe know that core exercises are important in promoting a well-rounded health and fitness plan. The main benefits to strengthening core muscles include abdominal muscle tone, increasing your balance and stability and improving performance in all physical activities. Core exercises do not require any specialized equipment. Yoga teacher training helps explain that yoga poses from the easiest to most challenging can help increase core strength and stability.

Upward Facing Dog

The Upward facing dog pose is a beginner’s pose that will help stimulate, stretch and even strengthen the core area. This includes the spine, abdomen and even abdomen organs. To begin this pose lie on the floor with your legs stretched back and the top of your feet resting against the floor. Bend your elbows with your palms on the floor next to your waist. Straighten your arms and push your torso into the air as you inhale deeply. Press your tailbone toward the floor while firming the buttocks while lifting the pubis up toward your navel. Remain in this pose for 30 seconds with deep breathing.

Crescent Moon

strong absThe Crescent Moon pose is also a beginner’s pose. It will focus on stretching and strengthening your core muscle and oblique area while helping your posture and balance. Begin the pose by standing straight with both hands overhead and interlacing your fingers. Point your index fingers up while you are pressing firmly with both feet into the floor while reaching the crown up and relaxing your shoulders. Yoga teachers will remind you that you also need to pay attention to your breathing. While you exhale press your right hip out to the side and arch your body to the left. Hold and take several breaths before switching sides.

Balancing Table

This pose is also for beginners and you need more strength than some of the other core poses. To begin this pose you should be on your hands and knees with your torso parallel to the floor. Slowly inhale and extend the right leg parallel to the floor and reach your toes to the back of the room. Keeping your head in a neutral spine position, inhale and then extend your left arm parallel to the floor while reaching to the front of the room. Hold this position for several breaths while exhaling then back into table pose and repeat with other side.

Dolphin Plank

This one is a more intermediate yoga position guided by a yoga teacher. This pose will stretch out your body and even relieve some stress. You begin this pose with your forearms and feet both on the floor and your buttocks in the air. Slowly walk your feet backward, positioning your shoulders above your elbows and having your torso parallel and straight parallel to the floor. Spread your shoulder blades out from your spine and your collarbones out from your sternum while you press your front thighs toward the ceiling and your tailbone toward the floor. Keep your core tight and hold the pose for up to 60 seconds before releasing into a neutral position on the floor.

Pendant Pose

This pose focuses on strengthening your abdominal muscles as well as your hip flexors which are both key areas of your core. Begin the pose by kneeling on your yoga mat and sitting back onto your heels. Place both hands on each side of you, fingers facing the front of you. Your hands should be lined up parallel with your shins, arms out straight and your palms pressing into the mat. As you press harder round your upper back and start to pull your knees off the ground toward your chest. Then you can slowly lift your feet off the mat as well with ankles crossed.

Boat Pose

This is also a core strengthener because your muscles are engage to help maintain the hip flexion. To begin this pose (Navasana) you should be sitting on the floor with both legs straight out in front. Put your hand flat on the floor behind you and a little away from your hips with fingers pointing towards you. Slowly lean back on your arms and lift your legs so that your knees are bent and your lower legs are parallel to the floor. Keep your back straight, legs straight and place your arms along the sides of your body. You should be in a “V” position.

Yoga teacher training provides the knowledge about exercises that strengthen your core muscles around your pelvis and spine. Many yoga poses use the core muscles and engage them in order to hold your body in the positions required. Properly training these muscles will help prevent injuries, improve your posture and make your body more efficient.

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