Yoga Core Workout

Yoga Core Workout

A strong core is an important factor in moving well and remaining injury free. It is usually compensations for the core that cause the rest of your body to move dysfunctionally. Below are a series of five yoga poses to strengthen your core for optimal support to your system.

What is your “core”?

People often think of the abdominals as “the core”, but it is actually the front, back, and sides of your torso that make up your core musculature. All three hundred and sixty degrees of your trunk work synchronistically to create balance and support for your entire body. If you work only one or two parts, poor movement patterns will most likely follow. Follow the asanas (poses) below to work the full possibility and range of your core!


Cow/Cat Poses: You can flow between these two poses, moving mindfully to feel engagement and awareness.

·       Cow Pose: This pose helps to mobilize the spine and build stability in spinal extension.

◦      How To:

▪      Start on your hands and knees.

▪      Stack your shoulders, elbows, and wrists on top of one another. Align your hips over your knees.

▪      Lower your stomach towards the ground and broaden across your chest.

▪      Sift your shoulder blades down your back while you press your heart forward and up.

▪      Glide your inner and outer shoulder blades back and feel for a toned sensation in your upper back.

▪      Wrap your abdominals around your spine. If this means you have to lengthen your tailbone back rather than up for core engagement, do that.

▪      Roll your inner thighs subtly back and breathe.

·       Cat Pose: This pose helps to create an awareness of deep abdominal engagement and helps to mobilize the spine.

◦      How To:

▪      Start on your hands and knees.

▪      Stack your shoulders over your wrists and your hips over your knees.

▪      Hug your abdominals in and up while you curve your spine towards the sky.

▪      Press into your fingers, soften your elbows, and puff the back of your heart up.

▪      Continue the curve down your spine by drawing your abdominals in tight.

▪      Curve your tailbone toward the earth.

▪      Breathe wide into your ribs and full into your upper back.

Forearm plank pose (Kumbhakasana Variation): This pose builds strength throughout your entire body and this variation offers more support for your shoulders.

·       How To:

◦      Start in a plank pose and then lower to your forearms.

◦      Stack your shoulders over your elbows, rotate your wrists outward in front of your elbows, spread your fingers wide, and press into each finger evenly.

◦      Walk your feet up to hip width distance apart and roll your heels on top of the balls of your feet. Always an option to drop to your knees.

◦      Press your forearms into the ground and encourage a hug inward sensation of your elbows.

◦      Puff your heart up and then reach it forward.

◦      Pin your front ribs in toward your back ribs.

◦      Firm the top of your thighs up.

◦      Lengthen the crown of your head forward and reach back through your heels.

Side Plank Pose (Vasisthasana): Side body focus with whole body engagement.

·       How To:

◦      Start in plank pose.

◦      Align your shoulders over your wrists and walk your feet together to touch.

◦      Shift your weight over to your left arm, roll onto the outer edge of your left foot, and reach your right arm upward. Option to place your bottom knee on the ground: place your top foot in front of your bottom foot, or keep your feet stacked and flex your toes back for stability.

◦      Fan your left hand open and press each knuckle and all finger tips into the earth.

◦      Microbend your elbow to call on your muscles for support.

◦      Brace your belly in by saying “HA!”

◦      Lift your bottom hip so you feel it and your left side obliques fire up.

◦      Firm your inner thighs toward one another to help your transverse abdominus (deepest ab layer) ignite.

◦      Reach your top arm up to feel a lift skyward.

◦      Switch sides.

Locust Pose with cactus arm variation (Salabhasana): Backline of the body engagement.

·       How To:

◦      Lay on your belly (prone).

◦      Goal post your arms by aligning your elbows out to the side of your shoulders and bring your wrists in front of your elbows.

◦      Draw your legs together or separate them for less heat.

◦      Lift your head, chest, arms, and legs up.

◦      Draw your shoulder blades towards one another on your back.

◦      Spiral your belly in to your spine.

◦      Lengthen your tailbone towards your heels.

◦      Squeeze your inner thighs in and roll them slightly upwards.

◦      Reach your toes back and up.

◦      Lengthen the back of your neck with the curve of your spine.

◦      Reach the crown of your head forward and up.

Boat Pose (Navasana): Works the front line of your core while using the back line to stabilize.

·       How To:

◦      Sit up with your knees bent and your feet on the ground.

◦      Place your hands behind your thighs and sit back on your sits bones.

◦      Tone your abdominals in and up.

◦      Elevate your heart toward the ceiling to lengthen your spine and support it.

◦      Lift your shins parallel to the ground.

◦      Reach your arms forward as long as you can maintain the lift in your chest and length in your spine.

At True Motion, we practice these exact poses in our weekly classes, which are a great way to maintain strength and flexibility. If you are a beginner in the world of yoga or returning to activity following an injury and need one on one support, email me at to schedule a personal session of yoga therapy.


– Laurel Van Den Cline, Yoga Therapist at True Motio

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