Yoga is well-known as an all-rounded workout routine, not only does it help you increase your flexibility and mobility, but it’s also a great lengthening and toning workout for muscle conditioning. Sometimes we simple don’t have the time to head to a gym and workout for hours on end every single day, and we still want to have those nice toned abdominal muscles! Yoga workouts at home are the easiest option for busy people like us and spare 15 minutes a few times a week is more than enough to see result! Let’s grab a yoga matt and start with these 8 best yoga poses to help build your core muscles.
The boat pose is a core and hip flexor strengthening exercise that required you to balance on the tripod of your sitting bones and tailbone. This exercises is great for core muscle stability and improving your overall balance. First, sit on the floor with your legs in front and start to bend your knees slowly, lift your feet of the floor in a well controlled and balanced movement. Extend your arms forward and parallel to each other. If you are more advanced with your balance attempt to straighten your legs slowly while holding your core muscles tight.
Down-dog pose allows you to strengthen your core muscles, as well as those in your arms and legs while allowing you to open your shoulders for a deep stretch. This is a great pose for those who have tight leg muscles as it lengthens and strengthens at the same time. Firstly, come onto the floor on your hands and knees, slowly curl your toes and lift your knees away from the floor, your knees can be bent if you are feeling tight. Make sure your feet are hips width apart and your hands are shoulder width apart. Continue to press your hands actively into the floor ands keep legs straight for a more advanced pose.
Down-dog knee to nose
Similar to a regular plank, this dolphin plank movement works smaller muscle groups within your body that helps to increase your balance and core strength. Start from your hands and knees and make sure that your body is well aligned with your elbow in line with your shoulders and feet close together. Lift the back of your skull just enough to maintain the natural curve of your neck, and lengthen out through the crown of your head. If you are feeling unstable, doing this position on your knees instead of toes is an easier variation to help your core muscles get started.
Dolphin plank oblique variation
This is another variation of the dolphin plank that not only targets core muscles but also your obliques. Beginning this pose in your dolphin plank position and twist from side to side while keeping both forearms on the floor. Firstly, come to the outer side of your left foot, stacking your feet and legs in the middle of your mat in line with the space between your arms, and repeat this same movement the right side. Be sure to keep your core muscles tight to avoid lower back injuring.
Up-dog pose challenges your abdominal muscles in a way that not only required core strength but also flexibility. Start with lying on the floor flat on your stomach, stretch your legs back inline with the body and spread your bent elbow on the floor next to your chest. Press your elbow on the matt and slowly lift your torso and thighs up, away from the floor. Make sure to keep your core muscles tight and legs firm. If your are more advance you can approach this pose on your palms with a straight arm, and release back into your down-dog position, repeat as many times as your body allows.
Warrior pose III
Warrior III is a great stability and core muscle strengthening workout. Beginning with a stand in mountain pose, and slowly move down into a low lunge. Begin to lift your back foot up and away from the floor, and simultaneously lifting your torso up and straight with your arms extending in front and parallel to each other. Your body should be straight and tight looking like a T shape, and if you are feeling unstable you can attempt this movement with your hands leaning against the wall or a chair.
This fallen triangle pose challenges both your core muscles and obliques, and it is optional if you wish to add in a leg lift if you are looking for more of a core muscle challenge. Start in your down-dog position and lift one arm up towards the sky, and keeping that arm in a straight line with the one that you are pressing against the floor. Move the inner foot under your body and place it away from your torso, keep the outer leg strong and grounded to keep your balance and use your core muscles to slowly lift that inner leg upwards, if you are feeling unstable revert back to the grounded position without the leg lift.