In a few days, I will complete a year of my postpartum fitness journey. It has been both challenging and rewarding as I worked towards gaining back my pre-pregnancy strength and learn new yoga asanas too. You can read about my progress here – 9 months postpartum update. In the last few months, I can feel myself growing stronger than before as I could finally hold a few advanced yoga arm balancing poses. In this post, I will share some of my favorite yoga poses for a strong core.
This is me – holding Eight Angle Pose or Astavakrasana, after almost 4 years of practicing.
Tips for Beginners
Learn to do Planks – It is extremely important that you learn to do Planks correctly to prevent injuries. It may look like a simple move but there’s a lot going on when you hold a plank position. This excellent video shows how not to do a plank. Learning the correct posture and breathing is essential to prevent any long term injuries.
Start slow – In the beginning, depending on your fitness level, you may struggle to hold a plank position and could stay only for a few breaths. The important thing is to consistently do the exercise and build your strength. Start slow, give yourself time to grow stronger.
Please consult a doctor or physician before starting any new exercise or if you have a history of a medical condition, surgery or injuries. A note for women who have recently given birth – please check for diastasis recti (abdominal gap) before doing any core building workout as it may cause more damage than good.
Here are 5 of my favorite yoga poses for a strong core. The best thing about these exercises is they can be done anywhere anytime, even while playing with the baby. 🙂
Phalakasana or Full planks
Full Planks are a great starting point for beginners and an excellent exercise to build strength in arms and upper body. When working out at home, practice in front of a mirror or take videos to make sure that you are holding the posture correctly. Start with 10 secs and then gradually increase the count.
Vasisthasana or Side Plank Pose
Side plank is an excellent core strengthening exercise that will also make your obliques stronger.
As a beginner, practice the pose with the support of the wall or do a modified pose with one knee on the floor. Once you gain the strength to balance the full pose, try holding it for 10 breaths and gradually increase the count.
Side Plank Variations
Once you become comfortable in doing side planks, challenge yourself to hold them on one leg.
Have a look at these three fun variations of side planks that will help you to strengthen your arms, hands, wrists, core, and obliques.
A fun and challenging way to do planks is by combining the variations together and trying to hold them for as long as you can. Here’s a video of 5-minute planks (speed 4x) that includes full planks, elbow planks and side planks.
Navasana or Boat Pose
Start with Ardha Navasana or half boat pose with folded knees. If you find this hard to balance, try placing blankets or blocks underneath your feet. Try to become comfortable in the position. Keep your back straight, head high and breathe naturally.
Once you start becoming comfortable in half boat pose, extend your leg and hold as long as possible.
One of the variations that I am currently working on is to balance the pose by holding the toes.
This pose would require a bit of hip flexibility. I have found it an excellent core strengthening pose and include it in my practice. Here’s an article by Kathryn Budig that includes preparatory poses.
I hope you found this post useful. Let me know in the comment section about your favorite core strengthening move.
Stay strong and humble.
Related Post – Easy tips to learn Yoga at home
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