Yoga is an excellent option for increasing your back and core strength. Core strengthening poses can improve posture, relieve back pain, and tone your torso. Here are six poses you can perform to improve core strength:
1. Chair Pose
The chair pose is ideal for beginners as it helps build core stability. Core stability is necessary for you to move on to challenging poses. Here’s how to do the chair pose:
- Start in a standing position.
- Inhale and extend your arms outwards into the air.
- Imagine there’s a chair behind you, and lower into a squatting position.
- Keep your feet firmly on the ground.
- Move your hands into a prayer position close to your chest.
- Hold the position for several breaths.
You can make the pose more challenging by rotating your torso slightly to the left and right. When you do, hold the twist for a few seconds before returning to the neutral chair pose.
2. Eagle Pose
This core strengthening pose engages deeper core muscles like the transversus abdominis. For this pose:
- Get into the chair pose and shift your weight to your left leg.
- Lift the right foot from the floor and wrap it around the left leg.
- Hook your right toes to your left calf for support.
- Wrap your right arm around the left and hold your palms together.
- Balance in this position for several breaths.
- Do these same steps for the other side.
You can intensify the pose by bringing your elbows to your knees and returning to the eagle pose as you inhale and exhale.
The plank pose strengthens the abdominal muscles, making it easier to power and balance the body during other activities. For this pose:
- Get on the floor with your toes and forearms planted on the floor.
- Keep your elbows directly under your shoulders.
- Keep your forearms facing forward.
- Engage your abdominal muscles by inhaling deeply to move your navel towards your spine.
- Keep your entire body straight, from your neck to your toes.
- Hold the position for several seconds.
You can perform a plank on your arms instead of your forearms if you find this more effective. Experts can lift their legs or arms while in the plank position to enhance effectiveness.
4. Side Plank
The side plank pose can strengthen the abdominal muscle and internal obliques. For this pose:
- Get into the plank position.
- Shift your weight onto your left arm and roll your body onto the outside of the left foot.
- Lay your right foot on your left one, and keep both straight. You can place the right foot behind your left if holding them on top of each other is too challenging.
- Lift your right arm and hold your gaze up.
- Hold the position for a few breaths, return to the neutral plank pose, and repeat the pose on your right side.
5. Boat Pose
This is a stationery pose that can improve core stability. To perform the boat pose:
- Sit on your mat with your legs extended in front of you.
- Lengthen your spine by sitting up and leaning back slowly.
- Continue leaning back until you can comfortably lift your feet from the floor.
- Hold the pose while taking deep breaths. Make sure you engage your abdominal muscles when exhaling.
You can hold on to your knees if you have difficulty maintaining the pose. Holding your knees can improve your stability and make it easier to keep your spine lengthened.
6. Reed Pose
You can perform this standing pose if you don’t want to get on the mat. For this pose:
- Set your feet about hip distance apart while keeping your toes pointed forward.
- Lift your arms into the air and interlace your fingers.
- Inhale as you reach your arms toward the ceiling.
- Exhale as you lean laterally toward your left side.
- Go back to the neutral position and lean toward your right side.
- Repeat this process several times on each side.
This pose works the sides of your body and strengthens the obliques.
Perform These Core Strengthening Poses
Core strengthening yoga poses are great for building abdominal muscles. They can improve your posture and spinal alignment, which can help alleviate back pain in the long run. These poses also require focus and concentration, making them ideal for calming the mind and reducing stress levels.