One of the hardest areas to work out would be our core muscles. If you’re looking to improve these particular muscles in terms of strength and appearance, you’d have to be consistent in your exercises.
Building your core strength is not just about getting the six-pack abs– our core muscles include more than that.
The question though, is Yoga good for building core strength?
The thing is, a lot of workouts work in this area without us realizing it. Since it essentially connects our upper and lower bodies, we work on this area more often than we think.
Poses in yoga that requires you to tuck in your tailbone and flex the spine will also ask you to engage your abdominal muscles in the process. This ultimately helps in improving your posture and balance as you get better at engaging your core more.
In this article we’ll show you how you can work on your core strength with several yoga poses, and get to answering your question, is Yoga good for building core strength, so let’s take a look.
We’ll start with the classic cat-cow pose to warm up your abdominal muscles.
- Start by being on all fours. Your hands, knees, and spine should be in a neutral position.
- Make sure that your knees are directly below your hips and your wrists are under your shoulders, all aligned and perpendicular to the floor.
- Once you’ve settled, start dropping your belly and lifting your tailbone up.
- Lift your head but keep your gaze centered.
- Take a deep breath.
- As you exhale, slowly round your spine towards the ceiling.
- Lower your head and shift your gaze towards your navel.
- Extend your arms and keep your should blade apart.
- Do this for 2-3 cycles.
If you want to stretch out your spine and work on your core more, you may proceed with the modified cat stretch position.
- From your last pose in cat-cow, come on to your fingertips. Make sure that they’re touching the mat now.
- Move your hips back and round your spine towards the ceiling.
- Lower your head and lift your lower belly as high as you can.
- Extend your arms as you slowly push your hips back.
- Hold this position for a few seconds.
- To get off the position, simply go back to the neutral position. Palms flat on the ground.
The next position is the Dolphin Pose. This is similar to the downward-facing dog position, but instead of using your hands, you’ll be using your elbows. The dolphin pose is not only helpful in engaging your core, but it also strengthens your biceps.
- Once you’re ready, go on your knees again and lay your elbows on the mat—knees directly under your hips and elbows below your shoulders.
- Interlace your fingers.
- Take a few deep breaths.
- Tuck your toes and as you exhale, slowly stretch out your legs. Move your knees and hips away from the mat.
- Keep your head down and gaze towards your toes or knees.
- If you’re a beginner, you may keep your knees bent to avoid straining your hamstrings.
- Stay in the position for a few breaths.
- Then, slowly lower your knees and go back to the seated position.
This pose is also a classic pose for core muscles not only in yoga but in other exercises as well. It can be a killer pose that really tests your core stability and arm strength.
- From the seated position, go on all fours again—hands underneath your shoulders.
- Slowly extend your legs back until your toes touch the ground.
- Ensure that your body is in a straight line. Do not lift your back too much nor drop your body too low.
- Roll your shoulders and tuck your belly button in. Keep your spine long.
- You may slightly lower your gaze. Avoid lifting your head too high.
- Hold for a couple of seconds.
- Then, slowly come down into the forearm plank. Make sure that your elbows are still shoulder-width apart.
- Interlace your fingers.
- Stay in the position for a few deep breaths.
- Then, get off by dropping your knees and slowly coming into a child’s pose. You may stay in the position until you’ve regained your breathing.
Side Plank Pose
The side plank pose is a famous pose in yoga catered to working on your core and obliques. This is a very helpful exercise if you don’t want to strain your back as much, as you mainly utilize your obliques for this.
- Move to a plank position with your palms facing down, arms extended, and toes tucked in. Do not drop your shoulders.
- After this, move your left from the mat and drop your right hand for support. If you’re a beginner, you may bring your left leg up and set it in front of your right foot to keep you balanced.
- Slowly extend your left hand up. Shift your gaze towards your left palm.
- Lift your hips and tuck in your belly button. Engage your glute muscles as you hold on to the position.
- Stay for 4-5 breaths.
- Then, gently come down to a child’s pose before proceeding to the other side.
Knee Hover Pose
The knee hover pose is known to activate the upper and lower body and core muscles. It aims to strengthen your core and maintain good alignment.
- Coming from the child’s pose, slowly go back on all fours.
- Start with a tabletop position. Your arms are flat on the mat, right below your shoulders.
- Your knees should be bent and placed under your hips. Ensure that your toes are tucked under.
- Take slow deep breaths.
- Then, lift your knees up. Make sure they’re at least 2 inches off the mat.
- Pull the lower belly in. Keep your spine neutral.
- Your gaze should be on the mat.
- Hold the position for a couple of breaths.
- As you exhale, go into a downward-facing dog position to prepare for the next sequence.
Downward Dog Split Pose
This pose is a variation and slightly more complex version of the downward dog position. This helps stretch out your back and also work on your abdominal muscles. Balance is a key element in the position.
- Come into the downward-facing dog position.
- Try to pedal your legs for a few seconds to stretch out and prepare for the pose.
- Then, settle in the position. Make sure that your hips are lifted, and your navel is tucked in.
- Keep your gaze towards your knees or toes. Take a few deep breaths.
- Then, as you inhale, slowly lift your right leg.
- Keep your hips square and level.
- Press both palms and left foot on the mat.
- For an added variation, go into a high plank. Then slowly bring your right knee towards your nose.
- Then, go back to your three-legged downward-facing dog pose. Continue alternating between the poses for a few seconds.
- Do not forget to control your breathing.
- After 3-5 sets, repeat on the other leg.
- Go back to the seated position once done.
Warrior I Pose
Another classic pose taught in almost every beginner class is the Warrior I pose. It is known for targeting lower body and core muscles.
- Coming from the downward-facing dog pose, place your right foot forward, and drop your left heel on the floor.
- Remember to keep your left leg stretched behind you.
- Bend your knee above your right ankle so your shin can form a straight line.
- Take deep breaths.
- As you inhale, raise your arms to the ceiling. You may put your hands together or keep them shoulder-width apart.
- Tilt your head upwards. Keep your gaze towards your hands.
- Your chest should remain open up as you stretch your arms overhead. Lift through your core muscles.
- Do not forget to breathe deeply and slowly. Do this for 30 seconds.
- Switch to the left leg after. Repeat the same process.
- Come into a mountain pose after. Regain control of your breathing.
The pyramid pose is a standing position that targets your hamstrings, legs, as well as your core.
- To start, move your left leg back, at least two feet away.
- Straighten both legs and square your hips. You may put your hands on your hips to ensure they’re leveled.
- Then, just like in the Warrior pose, reach your arms to the ceiling.
- Start to lift your chest. Shift your gaze up as you do this, but don’t tilt your head too much.
- As you exhale, hinge your body forward from the hips while keeping your back flat.
- Ideally, you should be able to touch the ground as you come down, but if not, you may just place your hands on the front thigh.
- In the same way, if you can’t keep your legs straight, having them slightly bent is also acceptable.
- Don’t forget to breathe in and out.
- At this point, you should begin to feel a stretch in your lower body, particularly your hamstrings.
- Stay in this position for a few more seconds. Feel free to go into a child’s pose after.
One of the major core exercises in yoga is the boat pose. This ultimately focuses on activating your abdominal muscles and increasing your core strength. As you get deeper in the position, you’ll definitely feel the burn in your mid-body. That’s why this can also be seen in other practices outside of yoga.
- From the child’s pose, go back to the center of your mat.
- Keep your knees bent and feet together.
- Roll back your shoulders and lean back slightly. You may keep your hands behind your knees for support.
- As you inhale, lift your feet slowly off the mat. Make sure that your upper body position is stable.
- Take a couple of breaths.
- As you inhale, lift your legs all the way up. Your shin should be the same height as your knees.
- Then, once you’re settled in the position, you may extend your arms in front of you. If you feel unstable, just place them behind your knees again.
- Keep your gaze straight and focus on your breathing as you hold the position.
- Stay there for a couple of breaths. If you’re feeling more stable, you may even extend your legs fully.
- Then, slowly release and come back to your original position.
The last pose in the sequence is the cobra pose. This targets your abdominal region and also works on lengthening the spine and adjusting the shoulders. This will also help you release any tension in your neck and back areas.
- To start, lie on the floor and keep your head down. Make sure that your legs are stretched behind you, and your arms on your side pressed onto the mat.
- Then, slowly lift your upper body. Rest your palm on the floor as you push your body up.
- Keep your head neutral and your gaze towards the front.
- Be mindful of your breathing. Take slow and deep breaths.
- Hold the position for a couple of seconds.
- Then, slowly come down again to the mat.
- Repeat this process a few times until satisfied.
Now that you’re done with the flow, you may go back to the child’s pose and stay there for as long as you want. Release any remaining tension in your mind and body.
Pat yourself in the back for a job well done!
So, Is Yoga Good for Building Core Strength?
The short answer is yes!
Yoga is a good workout that engages and activates all parts of your body, especially your core, which is responsible for good balance.
Yoga helps make us more aware of our mind and body connection which ultimately contributes to a better understanding of our physical self. This of course goes for Aerial Yoga as well, which we write extensively about throughout our blog, as manufacturing the best aerial yoga equipment is our specialty.
With continuous practice, you’ll see how your body is able to sustain different poses and adjust better to them. Your movements will be more fluid, and transitions will be easier for you.
In the end, if you do at least one of the poses every day without fail, it would be impossible not to see a difference in your body.
As you progress through these, you’ll definitely feel your core get a lot stronger and more secure. You just have to be persistent and patient to see the best results possible.