Despite a surprisingly common misconception, yoga is not just something that people for for relaxation.
In fact, it’s quite the opposite really. While some people find yoga relaxing, a lot of people use it as a means of exercising.
It’s actually a great way to build and to tone your muscles. There is several different types of yoga and a wide variety of poses, all of which are beneficial for different things.
If you want to build up your core, yoga is a great way to go about that. Pilates is another method which you may prefer, but yoga is more popular and more practiced.
Here’s five yoga poses that will help you in getting that rock solid core:
- Boat Pose
To achieve this pose, your want to start sitting up straight with your feet flat on the ground at first. Extend your arms, palms facing upwards so that they’re next to your knees.
Slowly lean back so that your torso is at a forty-five degree angle and then lift your feet off the floor and extend your legs upwards.
Your body should know be in a kind of V shape. Hold this for about ten breaths. Initially this may be too difficult so just hold it for as long as you can.
Eventually with practice you should be able to build up to the ten breath method. The pose will force you to pull in your abdominal muscles to keep your legs extended.
Keep your hip flexors and your hamstrings as relaxed as possible so that your core is doing all of the work.
2 Dolphin Plank
Planking became a little bit of a joke online in the last few years. But it’s actually one of the best core exercises out there.
If you do it right that is, a lot of those videos you’ve seen online of people planking for extended periods of time have been possible because of bad form.
A dolphin plank is a slight variation on it, but it’s just as effective an exercise for your core and while it’s difficult to maintain it’s not difficult to master.
Start on your hands and knees and then place your forearms and palms flat on the mat. Your elbows and shoulder should be vertical.
Extend your legs back and keep your pelvis in line with your shoulders. Dig your toes into the ground and lift your head back so you’re looking straight ahead.
Hold this for as long as you can. You have to keep your core engaged to hold this pose. Not only will it help sculpt your waistline, but it will also help your posture too.
- Crow Pose
You might have a tough time with this one at first but once you get the hang of it it will be one of the most effective poses for working your core.
You should probably hold off on attempting this pose until a few weeks after you’ve started using yoga for your core because you will need a strong core to pull it off.
Start on your hands and knees and then bring your legs forward until they’re close to your arms. Engage your abs and your shoulders, and then lit your feet off the ground.
Bend your knees as much as you can and if possible you can even rest them on the back of your upper arms.
Ideally you should hold this for about five breaths but at first just hold it for as long as you feel like you can.
- Side Plank
I don’t really know why this one has plank in the name, because it really doesn’t resemble any of the other planking exercises that we do.
It does work a lot of the same muscles though. It’s a great workout for your obliques and it will also give some definition to your lower abs.
Start with your feet together as you can see in the picture above with one hand flat on the ground and your arm extended.
You’ll start to feel this in your abs from the first second you engage the pose so you have to hold this for a few breaths.
If you want to give a bit of an extra work to your abs and obliques, you could add in some scooping, which is essentially reaching down with your other underneath your torso.
You have to allow your body to rotate as you do this and it can be tricky to keep your balance, but like anything else you can get there with practice.
5. Warrior 3
If you do any kind of research on the benefits of yoga, you will see these warrior poses mentioned constantly.
This is because you can get an awful lot of the good of yoga just out of doing the standard warrior poses and your core strength is something you can tackle with warrior 3.
The goal of warrior 3 isn’t necessarily to exclusively work your abs, it’s actually more of a balance exercise, but you will have to engage your abs to hold it.
Start by standing up straight with your feet together. Raise your arms above your head and place your hands together.
Bend your torso forward at the hips with your hands pointing straight head and your back as straight as possible.
Slowly begin to raise one leg up behind you until it’s fully extended and then hold this pose for five to ten breaths.
You don’t have to do all of these poses every single time you use yoga to work your abs, in fact that won’t be possible.
But mastering some of them will allow the others to come to you much more easily and then eventually you can do all of them together as a full core workout.
Before you know it, you’ll have abs of steel.