The benefits of yoga are touted far and wide these days. Yoga is credited with the slim, toned bodies of many celebrities and influencers both in the entertainment news and on social media. You may have started a yoga practice in pursuit of the long and lean muscles that you’ve seen displayed by yoga’s many devotees. What you may not know is that you can use your yoga practice to build significant levels of core strength. It’s not just about your looks. Certain yoga poses pack a big punch when it comes to strength gains in your abs, back and glutes. Try out these impactful poses to see lots of progress in your core strength in short order:
Boat pose is an excellent way to build core strength quickly because it involves using many of your abdominal muscles together to stabilize your body. To perform a boat pose, you will begin in a seated position with your legs bent and the soles of your feet resting on the floor. From this sitting position, slowly lean back and straighten your arms out in front of you. Gradually straighten your legs as well until your body creates a “V” shape with both your torso and your legs coming up from the ground at 45 degree angles. This pose is a tough one, so start by holding it for a few breaths and work up to longer durations.
Plank pose is an intense way to strengthen your core muscles, particularly your abdominal and your gluteal muscles. To get into plank pose, start on all fours. Spread your fingertips wide and contract your abdominal muscles as you step your feet back in order to straighten your legs. You will end in a position similar to the top of the “push up” position. As you hold your plank, make sure to look out just a bit in front of your hands in order to keep your neck straight and avoid holding tension there. In order to protect your back and your abdominal muscles from too much strain, it is also helpful to contract your glutes while you hold your plank pose as well.
Downward Facing Dog Pose
For those who are familiar with downward facing dog pose, it may seem surprising to you that this pose can work your core muscles. However, downward facing dog pose requires you to firm your abdominal muscles against gravity in order to remain in position and will definitely leave you “feeling the burn.” To perform downward facing dog, begin on all fours. Place your hands just a bit in front of your shoulders and spread your fingertips wide. Next, straighten your legs as you move your hips toward the roof. Your body will form an upside down “v” shape as you complete this pose. Since you are working against gravity here, you may need to work your way up to holding the pose for 5-10 breaths.