What Is Core Yoga?

Core Yoga is an intense style of yoga that focuses on building strength in the core muscles. As well as strengthening the core, this style of yoga is also great for bringing awareness into your body and improving your mental wellbeing.

During a core yoga class, you’ll use a blend of flowing with your breath and holding poses for extended periods to fire up the muscles in your core.

This article covers the benefits of core yoga, what it is, and when and how to practice it. We also share a few of our favorite poses and online classes to help you start today!

Core Yoga Definition

Core Yoga is a style of yoga that uses a sequence of poses to create strength and stability in your center.

The focus of a core yoga class is more on the workout than the spiritual side of yoga. However, you’ll be pushed to your limits and challenged to persevere in a way that can lead to wonderful progress in your self-development journey. While working on your core (and possibly practicing some of your least favorite poses), your mind will be challenged, and you’ll likely see yourself in a new light.

Whether you love your body during a core yoga class or can’t wait for the 5-second countdown in boat pose to be over, you’ll be grateful that you spent the time on your mat.

Core Yoga is great if you’re looking for a fast-paced and exciting workout to build your core muscles that leave you aching. It’s one of the very best combinations of yoga and exercise. Plus, online classes tend to be fairly short – so the pain will be over before you know it!

Benefits of Core Yoga

As with any yoga practice, there are some general and some more specific benefits to practicing core yoga. Here are just a few of the benefits that you may experience.

Stronger core

Perhaps the most obvious benefit of core yoga is getting a stronger core. This is great for the overall health of your body and your performance in other athletic activities. All forms of exercise rely on your core, and core yoga can help you achieve your goals faster.

Better posture

A stronger core means better posture. This also means that you’re less likely to slouch and create back pain and other issues with your spine in the future.

Improved breathing

Strengthening your abdominal muscles will mean that you can breathe more effectively – taking deep belly breaths as opposed to breathing into your upper chest.

Lower risk of injury

A strong core keeps your body stable and will help to prevent injury.

Less back pain

Having a strong core allows you to use your muscles for force instead of relying on your spine. It can also reduce back pain by helping you to avoid sprains, twists, and awkward movements.

Improved digestion

A strong core will strengthen your bowel movements and prevent issues such as bloating.

When to Practice Core Yoga

Core Yoga is ideal if you’re looking to strengthen your body in another form of sport, reduce or avoid pain in your spine, and improve your body’s overall strength. Although poses can be challenging at first, they’re fairly easy to follow, and you’re sure to notice results quickly!

Core Yoga Poses

Core yoga poses include:

Boat pose

Start in a seated position on your mat with your knees bent and the soles of your feet on the ground. On an inhale, lift your shins so that they’re parallel with the ground as you lean your torso backward – as though trying to create a ‘V’ shape at your hips. Stay open through the chest and keep your spine in a straight line. Lift your arms next to your calves and push your shoulders back. Engage your core and stay here for 2-3 breaths.

Exit the pose by coming to a cross-legged position or bringing your body to lay on the floor.

Side plank

Start on your hands and knees with your wrists underneath your shoulders and knees below your hips. Step your feet back into plank pose. Engage your core and when you’re ready, roll onto the outside edge of your right foot – stacking your feet – and bring your left hand to your left hip. Push your hips towards the sky and stay strong through your right arm.

To make this pose more accessible, come down onto your right elbow and right knee – keep your left leg straight.

Exit the pose by bringing your hips to the ground or coming back into plank pose before switching to the other side.

Bridge pose

Start by laying on your back on your mat with your knees bent and feet about one palm print away from your glutes. Lay your hands at your side with your palms facing down. Take an inhale. On an exhale, engage your core and lift your hips to the sky as you open through the chest. Keep your hands by your sides or interlace your fingers on the ground beneath your lower back.

Exit the pose slowly and with control, coming back to the ground.

Bird dog pose

Start on your hands and knees with your wrists directly below your shoulders and knees below your hips. Engage the core, then reach forwards with your right arm and backward with your left leg. Reach through your fingers and point your toes to stretch but stay strong in your core.

Exit the pose by bringing your hand and knee back to the ground before repeating it on the other side.

How to Practice Core Yoga

Before you head to a studio, why not get started with a couple of the poses that we outlined above or follow a YouTube video? We’ve shared a few of our favorites in the next section.

Alternatively, you might like to locate your nearest core yoga class for the immersive experience of in-person yoga!

Start Core Yoga at Home

If you can’t make it to a yoga studio or want to try core yoga at home, check out these follow-along videos.

12 Minute Core Conditioning | Yoga with Adriene

15 Mins Abs + Yoga – Slow and Controlled Core Workout

30 Minute Core Yoga Class

Core Yoga FAQs

What Yoga Poses Strengthen Your Core?

Any pose that requires you to engage your core will strengthen your core muscles – and you might be surprised to hear that this includes the majority of yoga poses! Although some poses may not feel like they’re ‘targeting’ your core, you can be sure that you’re using your core to support your body.

Poses targeting the core specifically include boat pose, plank pose, bird dog, chaturanga, locust pose, bow pose, and camel pose.

What Are the Benefits of Core Yoga?

Core yoga has many benefits, including a healthier spine, a stronger overall body, and a greater mind-body connection. You’ll also benefit from better posture, improved digestion, and a lower risk of injury.

How Often Should You Complete Core Workouts?

If you have no pain or injury, you can practice core workouts every day! Short core workouts are really easy to fit into your day and will lead to huge benefits for your body.

Important: Check with your doctor before trying core yoga for the first time if you have any type of injury, illness, or pain. Core Yoga is not suitable during pregnancy.

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