5 Asana For Toning Your Core
5 Asana For Toning Your Core
The muscles of your core provide the foundation for all major movement within your body. Whether you are bending down to pick up your bag, going for a jog, doing yoga on your mat, or simply standing in line, your core is working to provide you with the movement, strength and stability required to do so.
Working to strengthen your core muscles, achieves more than just a toned looking stomach. It also enables you greater strength, movement while helping protect you from injury or back pain.
This is why working to strengthen and tone your core is an important consideration for any balanced yoga practice. Because having a toned core will not only help you look and feel your best, it will also give you the strength and stability you need so that you can move through life with confidence.
When we are talking about strengthening our ‘core’, we don't just mean toning our abdominal muscles. Your core muscles are those that are attached to the spine, and these are along the front, back and sides of your torso, including muscles in your pelvis and shoulders. Click here to have a closer look at the many different muscles your core is comprised of.
Here are 5 yoga asana that works to tone all the different muscles that make up your core, from the abs to the obliques, to the muscles of your back and hips.
Plank Pose (Kumbhakasana)
- Starting in downwards facing dog, inhale as you draw your torso forward and over your hands so that your arms remain straight and become perpendicular to the floor.
- Spread your fingers wide, and push down through your hands, engaging your core and stretching from the top of your head down to your heels.
- Make sure the hips don't raise or drop so that your legs, torso, neck and head form a straight line.
- Breathing into this position.
This asana uses body weight resistance to build strength in the whole body, especially your core. It focuses on the muscles of the abdomen, lower back, chest and glutes.
Side Plank Pose (Vasisthasana)
- Starting from plank pose, engaging through your core as you roll both of your heels over to the right so that you are resting on the sides of your feet, then stack your left foot on top of your right.
- Push down through your right arm, engaging through your core as you raise your left arm up towards the ceiling.
- Keep your core switched on as you work to keep your hips lifted and if comfortable, turn to gaze at your left thumb as you breathe in this position.
This asana works through your whole body, with specific strengthening and toning benefit to the muscles of your shoulders, chest, abs, obliques, hips and glutes.
- From the plank pose, slowly bend your elbows, lowering your chest closer to your matt as you come into chaturanga, keeping your elbows tucked in close to your body and your legs, torso, neck and head aligned.
- Keeping this alignment in your body, exhale as you bend your right knee out to the side drawing it out and up towards your right elbow, before inhaling as you slowly return your foot back to the starting position.
- Repeat this on the left side.
This asana is fantastic, not only toning the abdominals and obliques but also to help cultivate overall core stability.
The Locust Pose (Shalabasana)
- Begin in advasana (reverse corpse pose), lying on your belly with your arms stretched alongside your body. The tops of your feet and your forehead are resting on your mat.
- Inhale as you raise your head and look forward, at the same time engage the muscles of your legs (predominantly your inner thighs) and your arms, raising them up off the mat.
- Lift through your chest, as you open your shoulders, pushing your arms back towards your feet.
- Hold this position for the count of 2-6 breaths.
This asana works to strengthen the muscles of your back whilst stretching out the muscles of your chest. It also works to tone your shoulders and glutes, making this an excellent core-focused asana to include in your yoga practice.
Boat Pose (Navasana)
- Begin in a seated position with your knees bent and your feet together and flat on the floor.
- Engage through your core, rolling your shoulders back, as you raise your arms so that your hands are alongside your knees.
- From here, keep your core engages as you lift your heels off the ground, leaning back as you straighten your legs as much as is comfortable.
- Your arms remain straight, stretched out towards the outside of each knee, forming a ‘v’ shape between your torso and thighs.
- Hold this position for 2-6 breaths.
This asana strengthens your spine and hip flexors whilst toning and strengthening your abdominal muscles.
About the Author:
Hannah is an Australian born writer who specializes in Fitness, Nutrition, & Spirituality. She holds a degree in social science, a diploma in Health Science and a diploma in Yogic Studies and Teaching. Hannah is certified yoga instructor and personal trainer with over 10 years experience .