Build Serious Core Strength With These 7 Yoga Poses

When it comes to core strength, there are many ways that you can target and tone your abs. But few practices really strengthen your entire abdominal region like yoga. There are really so many yoga poses for core strength in the yogic repertoire.

In fact, there are hardly any yoga poses that don’t target the core. Because yoga works so heavily with balance, static holds, and transitions, just about every yogic flow utilizes both the deep and superficial muscles of your center.

But, of course, certain poses target your core more effectively than others. So, we’ve rounded up a few of our favorite yoga poses for core strength for you to build a solid core.

Ready to jump right into a core practice? Take this 20-Minute Vinyasa Yoga Class for Core Strength (Free Class)

Practice These 7 Yoga Poses for Core Strength:

These seven postures are all excellent for specifically strengthening your core, including your rectus abdominis, obliques, transverse abdominis, deep hip flexors, and lower back muscles.

1. Three-Legged Down Dog (Eka Pada Adho Mukha Svanasana)

Three Legged DownDog

This variation of Downward Facing Dog strengthens your lower back and glutes as you raise your leg and effectively targets your entire core as it works to stabilize your body in the balance.

Let’s try it:

  • Start in your neutral Downward Facing Dog
  • Bring your feet to touch and pour your weight into your left leg
  • Cinch in around your whole waistline as if tightening a corset around your abdomen
  • Hug your navel in toward your spine and up toward your rib cage
  • Keep the activation in your core as you sweep your right leg up toward the sky
  • Square your hips toward the floor by pointing both frontal hip points toward the mat
  • Spiral your right thigh bone inward to point your right toes toward the floor
  • Kick up and back with your right foot and use the strength of your core to elevate your leg a little higher
  • Hold for a few deep breaths before switching sides

Curious About Your Alignment In Down Dog? Watch This Yoga Pose Tutorial (Video)

2. Tree Pose (Vrksasana)


This traditional yoga pose is great for strengthening your core because of the element of balance. Balance utilizes all of your core musculature to stabilize your body in the shape.

Let’s try it:

  • Start standing in Mountain Pose with your hands at your heart
  • Focus your eyes onto one, non-moving point in front of you and keep your gaze locked
  • Shift your weight into your left leg and rise to the ball of your right foot
  • ”Corset” your waistline and draw your navel in and up
  • When you feel stable, lift your right foot off the floor and open your hip to turn your toes to point toward the right side of your mat
  • Bend your right knee and either release the ball of your foot to the floor and your heel into your left ankle, or place your whole right foot on your left calf, or place your whole right foot on your inner left thigh
  • Wherever you choose to place your foot, actively press your foot against your leg and use the same amount of energy to press your leg against your foot
  • You can keep your hands as they are or stretch them up overhead, all while maintaining stability in your core
  • Hold for a few deep breaths before switching sides



3. Bicycle Abs Twist

bicycle abs twist

This yoga pose for core strength is borrowed from the Pilates tradition, which is known for its killer core-strengthening practices. The twisting in this pose strongly strengthens your obliques.

Let’s try it:

  • Start laying down on your back
  • Bend your knees and draw them toward your chest to stack them directly over your hips with your shins parallel to the floor
  • Interlace your fingers behind your head and draw your elbows out wide
  • As you inhale, lift your head and chest up off the floor, maintaining length in the back of your neck
  • As you exhale, twist your torso toward the left to bring your right elbow and your left knee to touch
  • Simultaneously, extend your right leg out long to hover just above the floor
  • Inhale here and exhale to twist in the opposite direction as you reach your left leg long and draw your right knee back to tap your left elbow
  • Continue to flow back and forth from side to side for a few deep breaths

Want more like this? Practice these 10 Mat Pilates Exercises to Build Serious Core Strength

4. Low Push-Up (Chaturanga Dandasana)


The ultimate yoga pose for core strength, Chaturanga takes Plank and kicks it up a notch to make your core work even harder to stabilize in the low push-up position.

Let’s try it:

  • Start in Plank Pose with your core strongly activated
  • Inhale and lean your weight forward to move your shoulders past the creases of your wrists and roll to the tips of your toes
  • Exhale and bend your elbows straight toward the back of your mat to lower into a push-up position
  • Lower to a point where you still feel strong enough to press back up to Plank without arching your back
  • Hold for a moment in the low push-up position, and when you’re ready, press the floor away to rise back up to Plank
  • Repeat a few times


5. Crow Pose (Bakasana)


Crow Pose is one of the best yoga poses for core strength. This arm balance recruits all of the muscles of your core to stabilize your balance on your arms.

Let’s try it:

  • Start in a Standing Forward Fold with your feet together
  • Bend your knees until you can plant your palms on the floor, roughly shoulder-width apart
  • Spread your fingers wide, root into the perimeter of your palms, and grip at the mat with your fingertips
  • Rise to the balls of your feet and open your knees out wide
  • Slide your knees as far up the outsides of your arms as your can reach (ideally reaching up toward your armpits)
  • Squeeze your thighs firmly in against your arms and press your arms back out against your legs
  • Press firmly against the floor to round your back deeply and scoop your navel in and up
  • Lean your weight forward and bend your elbows straight toward the back of your mat in a Chaturanga shape
  • Keep squeezing your legs against your arms and lean forward until you reach the magic “tipping point” when your legs become light and naturally lift from the floor
  • Squeeze your heels in toward your seat and hold for a few deep breaths



6. Boat Pose (Paripurna Navasana)


As one of the most classic yoga poses for core strength, Boat Pose strengthens your hip flexors and low back muscles while utilizing your transverse abdominis to stabilize your center.

Let’s try it:

  • Start seated with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor in front of you
  • Take hold behind your knees, root your sit bones into the floor, and elongate your spine
  • ”Corset” your waistline and scoop your belly in and up
  • Lean your torso back slightly so you can lift your feet off the floor and draw your shins parallel to the mat
  • Squeeze your legs toward each other and activate your feet
  • Option to stay as you are or release your grip behind your knees and stretch your arms forward in front of you
  • Option to stay as you are or stretch your legs straight to reach your feet toward the sky
  • If you’d like to add even more core strengthening, you can reach your arms up overhead to frame your face
  • Hold whichever option you prefer for a few deep breaths

Stop Doing Ineffective Sit-Ups! Use These 7 Yoga Poses to Strengthen and Tone All Parts of Your Core

7. Headstand (Salamba Sirsasana)


Another one of the most classical yoga poses for core strength, Headstand requires your center to stabilize your whole body upside down.

Let’s try it:

  • Start on all fours with your shoulders stacked over your wrists and your hips stacked over your knees
  • Release your forearms to the floor and interlace your fingers
  • Root your forearms firmly into the mat and release the crown of your head between your forearms
  • Lengthen the back of your neck and maintain this length throughout the pose
  • Activate your core strongly by cinching in around your entire waistline and scooping your navel in and up
  • Option to stay as you are or tuck your toes and lift your knees off the mat
  • Option to tiptoe your feet in closer toward your arms, striving to stack your hips over your shoulders
  • Option to hug one knee toward your chest and then release your leg back down and switch to hug the opposite knee in toward your chest
  • If you feel stable, hug one knee into your chest and then – without jumping at all – lean your weight forward so that your other leg becomes light and naturally lifts from the floor. Immediately hug it into your chest
  • Either stay in this compact, egg-like shape with both knees hugging into your chest or utilize the strength of your core to float your legs toward the sky
  • Root your weight into your forearms, cinch your waistline, and squeeze your legs toward each other. Send energy up through your toes
  • Hold at whatever stage suits you for a few deep breaths


Use Yoga Poses for Core Strength to Effectively Target Your Abdominal Region

Core strength is not only crucial for athleticism and good looks, it’s also imperative for daily life. You want a strong core when you bend over to pick something up. You want a strong core when you lift your heavy groceries. And you even want a strong core to support you when you walk!

Core strength is much more than just a fad; it’s essential for healthy living. So practice these seven yoga poses for core strength or whatever practices you like to strengthen your abdominal region.

However you do it, just be sure not to neglect your core – because a strong core is truly a pillar of overall physical health.

Craving more? Here are 7 Barre Exercises to Rock Your Core

Get Started on Your Core Strength Now!

Practice Core Control with Reace Daniel on YA Classes!

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With Reace Daniel

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Leah Sugerman

Leah Sugerman is a yoga teacher, writer, and passionate world traveler. An eternally grateful student, she has trained in countless traditions of the practice and teaches a fusion of the styles she has studied with a strong emphasis on breath, alignment, and anatomical integrity. Leah teaches workshops, retreats, and trainings both internationally and online.

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