Your core muscles provide the support your body needs while getting in shape and gaining strength. Without strong abdominal muscles, you are at risk of injuring your lower back while performing heavy lifting moves. You also need a strong core while performing high intensity movements during your exercise routine. You can slow down and strengthen your abdomen by performing four key yoga moves several times a week. Although you will move through the poses at a controlled pace, you will notice your heart rate move into range from the challenge.
The goal of the boat pose is to create a solid V shape with your body while sitting centered on your rump. Your V may initially look a lot like a U as you begin to train your stomach muscles. As you gain strength, you’ll be able to pull your torso and legs together at a steeper angle. If you previously suffered a tailbone injury, cushion your behind with a thick yoga pad to take the pressure of that area.
The third iteration of the warrior pose demands flexibility and balance to improve your core strength. To create the warrior III, stand on one leg while creating a straight horizontal line with your arms and other leg. Tighten up your glutes and core to stay balanced. As your abdominal muscles grow, you will find it easier and easier to hold this pose. At first, just focus on creating the right form with your body and holding for several seconds. Steadily increase the hold time until you can remain in this position indefinitely.
As with most balance-demanding yoga moves, the tree pose directly targets the core muscles. To form this pose, stand on one leg and clasp your hands together with arms stretched above your head. Use your other leg for support by pressing the bottom of your foot to your thigh. Although this pose looks simple, it actually demands a lot of strength to properly execute. You can adjust the height of the non-support leg to acheive balance until your core muscles do the work for you.
The scale pose also looks quite simple, but demands really strong core muscles to hold. You will begin in the lotus pose with your arms pressed, palm down, on the ground next to your hips. Lift your entire body with your core, using your arms for support. Hold this position for as long as possible before coming back down to the floor gently. Repeat as many times as possible.
Activating Your Core
As you perform each of the movement above, focus on properly activating your core muscles. You do not want to suck in your stomach and tighten them that way. Instead, you need to bear down, as if getting ready to lift or sneeze, and keep your muscles tight throughout the movement. You should feel your muscles tighten all the way across your abdomen from your bellybutton to your flanks. Remember to continue breathing throughout the exercise to remain in control of your movements and intensity.