Take your core strength and stability to the next level with 13 of my favorite yoga poses.

It’s pretty universally accepted that yoga has many benefits for your body. Increasing core strength is one of them. And it’s a benefit that definitely should not be overlooked. The key to core strength though is to remember that your core encompasses so much more than just your rectus abdominus (your six-pack muscles). You also have your internal and external obliques, transversus abdominis, erector spinae, glutes (gluteus maximus, minimus, and medius), and many more. So, let’s work on every last one of those muscles to get you the strongest, most functional core we possibly can.

And without further ado, I present the 13 yoga poses you need to incorporate into your practice:

To strengthen:

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Boat Pose—Navasana
Boat Pose is a great exercise since it uses so many of your core muscles. Start by holding Navasana for 3 breath cycles and build from there. As you hold this pose, focus on keeping your back flat.

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Knee to Elbow—Plank Pose Variation
To increase the intensity of this pose, try to maintain contact with your knee and elbow, or even take your knee all the way to your chin if flexibility allows.

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Knee to Cross Elbow—Plank Pose Variation
This pose is similar to knee to elbow, but now you’re going to focus on the obliques a little more. Try this pose back to back in a sequence with knee to elbow.

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Side Plank—Vasisthasana
As you take side plank pose, be sure to lift through your hips. To increase the level of difficulty in this pose, lift both your top hand and leg up and away from your body.

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Crow Pose—Bakasana
Arm balances require a lot more than just balance and arm strength. They are actually working your core more than anything else. Find that balance point and hold for 3–5 breath cycles.

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Side Crow Pose—Parsva Bakasana
An easier modification of this pose is to keep your knees bent, but find the position that works best for you. Take deep breaths and keep your fingers spread to assist with your balance.

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Bird Dog Plank—Plank Pose Variation
Take your plank pose to a new level with a variation that’s a challenge to even the most balanced individuals. Keep your hips level and reach your fingertips as far from your toes as possible.

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Elephant Trunk Pose—Eka Hasta Bhujasana
Try this pose first with blocks under each hand and then graduate to hands on the floor. This works not only your lower abs, but your hip flexors as well for a great strengthening routine.

To stabilize:

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Warrior 3—Virabhadrasana III
Try to keep your hips square to the floor, and keep your knee soft on your stabilizing leg as you lengthen your body. Focus on your breathing as you hold this pose.

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Reverse Plank—Purvottanasana
Stabilize your spine and protect your lower back as you work on this pose in your practice. In a reverse plank position, keep your gaze looking up at the ceiling, and lift your hips high.

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Headstand—Sirsasana
Lift slowly from tripod to a headstand and engage your core to straighten your legs in a controlled manner.

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Bridge Pose—Setu Bandha Sarvangasana
This is another great lower back strengthener to help stabilize your whole core and spine. Work on lifting your hips high and rolling up onto your shoulder blades.

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Bow Pose—Dhanurasana
Bow pose is another pose that works your back. Not only does it strengthen the small muscles that surround your spine (erector spinae), but it also improves your lower back mobility.

Enjoy your practice.

Namaste.

Becca Capell
iFit Head Trainer