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Yoga for Core Strength: 5 Easy Yoga Poses for Beginners
Yoga can be a great way to strengthen and tone the muscles of the core. Developing core strength is essential for maintaining a healthy body and equally necessary for maintaining a satisfying yoga practice.
Below are five of our favorite yoga poses that are suitable for beginners and for developing core strength. Make sure to listen to your body and rest if you feel you are surpassing your capacity for the day. You can always pause the video and start over again if you need to.
Yoga for Beginners – Pose #1: Strengthen Your Core with Bird Dog
Bird Dog is a superb pose for strengthening the abdominal and back muscles as well as the shoulders. If your wrists are sensitive or start to ache, try making fists with your hands, or place your hands on yoga blocks, a folded blanket, or a few books for support. Be sure to continue breathing as you hold this pose, and don’t be surprised if you start to shake! It's a deceptively easy pose, but very challenging to hold!
Yoga for Beginners – Pose #2: Build Up to Chaturanga Dandasana
Chaturanga Dandasana is one of yoga’s more challenging yoga poses and shows up very frequently in Vinyasa style yoga classes. These variations make Chaturanga more accessible while also building upper body strength. Regrettably, these variations are often absent in today’s yoga classes.
Fortunately, in this video below, Kate Heffernan instructs several variations of Chaturanga that are perfect for those working on developing upper body and core strength. It’s essential to start with a more accessible version of the pose to build your strength and to maintain correct alignment. Stick with a level you feel confident with until you are strong enough to try a more challenging version.
It’s easy to get this pose’s alignment wrong, especially in the shoulders, which can lead to injuries if the poor form reinforces over time. Kate Heffernan expertly breaks down the basics of Chaturanga below and shows you how to keep your shoulders in healthy alignment and injury-free.
Yoga for Beginners – Pose #3: Improve Posture and Core Strength with Cobra Pose
Cobra Pose is such a simple, yet powerful yoga pose that strengthens the entire back body, abdominal muscles, legs, and more. Cobra Pose is a great pose to counteract the tendency to hunch or slump forward. This pose strengthens the muscles along the spine that help us stand upright while opening and lifting the chest. You can practice Cobra Pose on its own every day, or in this series of poses to keep your posture and your core healthy and strong.
Yoga for Beginners – Pose #4: Power up with Forearm Plank
Forearm Plank is a powerful pose that strengthens the shoulders and core muscles. It is not everyone’s favorite yoga pose, but it is beneficial for strengthening. We love it because it doesn’t require placing much weight directly on your wrists, so it’s suitable for those who struggle with wrist issues.
In the video below, Kate Heffernan teaches a version of Forearm Plank that utilizes a strap and a block. You can substitute any belt/strap that will not come undone, and a book if you don’t have these props at home.
Yoga for Beginners – Pose #5: Flow from Downward Facing Dog to Plank Pose
This flow from Downward Facing Dog to Plank Pose is a classic yoga core strengthening series of poses that effectively engages the entire core system. These poses strengthen the shoulders and wrists as well.
If you have sensitive wrists, or these poses bother you, try placing the heels of your hands up on to the edge of a folded blanket. Doing so will decrease the angle of flexion in your wrist joint and therefore reduce the amount of pressure on this often-sensitive joint.
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