26 Nov 15 Minutes Is All You Need To Core Heaven
What’s your first reaction when your yoga teacher calls out navasana (boat pose)? Yeah, just after that sweaty flow. Really? Yep, that’s the one. Let’s face it, you’re in one of two camps: you eye-roll and cry inside or you love it. We get it, it can be tough. And, for some of us humans, it’s not really fun either. However, a strong core is crucial not only for your yoga practice but for everyday life. Our core consists of our diaphragm, deep abdominal muscles, and pelvic floor, and is perhaps the most important part of our bodies when it comes to movement. Simply put, it controls everything we do. Let us show you a 5-minute core workout to build that strong centre.
A strong core is important
The infamous six-pack is not all there is to a strong core. Your deeper core muscles are the ones that you want to make strong. The core muscles are called our “core” because they’re at the centre of every movement we make. The quality of our core determines our stability, posture, and our ability to safely move our bodies. A strong core protects your lumbar spine and maintaining spinal stability in order to protect your nerves, discs, joints, and connective tissue. Especially in dynamic movements such as vinyasa yoga or running. #corepower
Without a good functioning core, our body is at more risk for injury and our body doesn’t move as effectively, no matter what we do — whether that’s walking, running, lifting or carrying. A weak core can often lead to lower back pain, which a lot of us experience at some point in our lives.
5 Minutes in core heaven
Below are 5 poses that you can do right now to generate a strong core. You hold each pose for 1 minute. Of course, you can start with only 30 seconds, then repeat them. Slowly increasing the holding time until you reach 60 seconds. You can take rest in between as much as you need. Customise it to your needs, but make sure that you hold the poses 1 minute each. Seems like a piece of cake, no? Let’s get started.
All you need is a mat and you are all set to go:
1. High Plank Pose
You might already have a love-or-hate relationship with this one, especially after your hundredth sun salutation. But it’s not to be missed, so let’s do this. Come into a high plank position. Making sure that your spine is neutral and your shoulders are stacked over your wrists. You don’t want your butt sticking up in the air. You want to maintain a straight line from head to heel. Keep your gaze diagonal in front of you, so you have a nice long neck. Now isometrically draw your hands towards your feet and feet towards your hands. See how your middle part, your core, activates. Now stay with your breath (because breathing)…
And hold for 60 seconds.
2. Side plank
Another familiar pose from your yoga class. Vasisthasana – the beloved side plank. Maybe ranking in popularity just after navasana. From your high plank, walk your feet together and let your heels drop to one side, so your feet are stacked on top of each other. Rotate your body and re-centre your weight while reaching one arm up to the sky. Now all you need is lift your hips up to the sky. Don’t let them sag!
Try to keep a straight line from crown to heels. Driving with your heels to the back, imagine you are standing firmly on the ground. If you feel unstable with straight legs lifted off the ground, you can modify by dropping your bottom knee onto the ground. Then slowly work your way to straight legs.
Feeling super strong today? Maybe float your top leg up to the sky.
Hold for 30 seconds on each side.
3, Navasana pose
And here it is. The infamous but so effective boat pose. Raise your legs up to a 45-degree angle, your arms by your side. Then curl up as you would in a crunch and hold. Perhaps even bring a smile. Just think of how boat pose in a yoga class will become a breeze for you over the next few weeks. You got this, yogi!
You can slowly straighten your knees, raising the tips of your toes slightly above the level of your eyes. If this isn’t possible, remain with your knees bent, perhaps lifting the shins parallel to the floor. You also modify with your arms holding the back of your thighs or behind you, working your way up to strong from here.
Ensure that you sit up really tall, lengthen your spine. Make sure you aren’t tensing your neck or shoulders. Keep your shoulders away from your ears.
And again, don’t stop your breath.
Hold for 60 seconds or two sets of 30 seconds.
Tiny pauses in-between also optional.
From your boat pose, bring your legs to tabletop (shins parallel to the floor) and put your hands behind your head. Make sure your elbows are beside your head and not facing forward. Keeping your lower back pressed to the ground, curl your body up into a crunch and then lower yourself back down. Do this as many times as you can in a minute without sacrificing your form. You can speed the crunches up or slow them down as you wish. The intention is more important than speed, and you don’t want to strain your neck.
Now crunch away for 1 minute.
Again pauses in-between sets are optional.
5. Dead bug
Ok, here is another one that you most likely have come across in your yoga practice, maybe not by this name though.
Start by lying flat on your back and bringing legs to a tabletop position with arms straight up to the ceiling. Relax your neck. Now start to lower your right arm and left leg simultaneously. Opposite arm and the opposite leg at the same time until they’re a few inches above the ground. From here, you have the option to return your arm and leg to your starting position, switching which arm and leg you lower. You can continue alternating for a minute. Or if you fancy you can do a static hold on one side for 30 seconds and switch. The choice is all yours.
And there are several ways to modify this challenging pose. The first is to keep your arms held in place and just alternate lowering each leg from a tabletop. Alternatively, you can place your legs in tabletop, crunch up, keeping your arms straight, similar to what you’d do in boat pose, and lower one leg at a time. So many options with this one.
1 minute in dead bug it is.
All you need is core power
Here you have it, 5 poses that will give you a strong core. You can go through these 5 daily or a few times a week, so you are steadily building up to a strong core. And yes, if you have skipped your core exercises in the past, you will be sore. But it will all be worth it in the end. We all now know that a strong core is vital for safe and stable yoga practice. You will feel stronger in everything you do. Plus who doesn’t love a little ab toning for the upcoming summer?
Ready to step out of your comfort zone and get your super being powered up? Join Sol in his strong Super being Super core sequence. This core sequence starts slow and builds into an intense and fiery inner core workout. Sol will get you working your midsection and sweaty in no time. Roll out your mat, and before long you’ll be getting revitalised from head to toe! Nothing can stop you now. 20 tiger curls in a row, bring it on!
Let’s turn up the inner fire, yogis!
Written by MindBodyGreen