The core body contains great POWER. It’s important to build core strength to protect your back, improve alignment in all postures, move more fluidly on and off the mat, and cultivate awareness of how your torso and limbs work together to keep the body in balance.
Power up your practice and build core strength with these 6 yoga poses:
- Three-Legged Downward-Facing Dog. From Down Dog, keep your hips high as you draw your right knee into your rib cage. Draw your front body toward your back body while pressing your palms and all ten fingers into the floor and pushing your hips up away from shoulders. Hold for three breaths. Feel the engagement of your core and maintain as you slowly extend your right leg up and back. Repeat on left side.
- Dolphin Plank. From hands and knees, place your forearms and palms on the floor. Check that your elbows are shoulder-width apart. Step your feet back, curl your toes under and firm your thighs while keeping your legs and pelvis in line with your shoulders. Draw your front ribs and lower belly inward toward your spine. Extend your tailbone toward your heels and reach through your heels. Lengthen all four sides of your neck evenly and lengthen out through the crown of your head. Hold pose for 5 breaths.
- Knee to Elbow Plank. From Plank Pose, bring your right knee to your outer upper arm, hugging your knee toward your midline. Hold. Draw your front body toward your back body as you press back through your left heel. Hug your arms in toward one another, keeping them straight and strong. Lengthen out through your crown. Hold for 3 breaths. Return to plank and repeat on the left side.
- Boat Pose. Sit on your bottom with knees bent in front of you. Place your hands on the back of your thighs, lift through your sternum, and lean back slightly. Do not round your back. Continue to lengthen your spine, and lift your feet off the floor so your knees bend at a 90 degrees angle and your shins are parallel to the floor. If possible, slowly straighten your legs and raise your toes to the level of your eyes. Your lower belly should be firm and flat but not hard. Lower your chin slightly toward your chest. Hold for 5 breaths.
- Reclining Cow Face Pose. Lie on your back, bend your knees, align your knees over your hips and cross your right leg over your left. Widen the distance between your heels and hold at your ankles or calves. Draw your knees toward your chest as you draw your lower belly in toward your spine. Stay for 5 breaths.
- Crow Pose. From a squat position, or malasana, place your hands flat on your mat about shoulder-width apart with your fingers spread wide. Round your back as you lift your hips up toward the sky. Lift your heels off of the floor so just the balls of your feet are down. Place your knees onto the backs of your triceps and begin to shift your weight into your fingers. Pick one foot at a time off the floor. Bend your elbows for balance and shift forward aligning your elbows over your wrists. Draw your navel in toward your spine and round your back to stabilize and lift.
Sonia Roberts is a certified yoga teacher with over ten years of teaching experience. She has a passion for helping others reach their full potential. Her classes are challenging, nurturing and integrate mindful movement. Practice with her at YogaWorks, Walnut Creek. Learn more about Sonia at www.soniaroberts.com, Sonia Roberts Yoga on Facebook and Instagram @soniarobertsyogamagic