Yoga is an excellent mind and body practice that has been around since the dawn of civilization. Its central goal is to unite the individual mind with the universal consciousness of the world around it.
When you begin to practice yoga, you will notice many areas of your life improve including your quality of sleep, your ability to balance, and you will see an increase in your strength. But if you really want to see immense physical improvements, then you will need to work on yoga for core techniques.
At the essence, that means engaging uddiuana bandha, or pulling your navel to your spine. But there are also several poses that work particularly hard on the core.
This article takes a look at how the principle of uddiuana bandha can be used to strengthen your core muscles so that you can expand your practice and gives you several poses to go along with it.
Yoga for Core: How to Engage Uddiyana Bandha
Yoga is first and foremost a practice used to control the flow of energy in your body. In order to do this, there are three essential body locks used. A body lock is when you pull your muscles into a certain position.
For the abdominal lock, you use uddiyana bandha techniques. When done properly, this will tone and massage your abdominal muscles and organs and help you to develop deep interior muscle tissue that supports your spine.
To begin, start in a standing position with your feet as wide as your yoga mat. Then bend your needs a little bit and place your palms on your thighs above your knees with your arms straight.
Next, engage the lock by drawing your pelvic floor while you exhale your breath. When your lungs are fully empty, take a false inhale by drawing your abdomen upwards and not breathing in.
If you’ve never done this before, then you may feel very odd. But over time, you will begin to see your core strength increase and it will become easier to do the following poses.
1. Boat Pose
Boat pose is a great challenging abdominal strengthening exercise. It will also help you strengthen your hip flexors. The position is a seated one where you lift your legs and lean backward until your body is a ‘V’ shape on the ground. You will be balanced on your sit bones and tailbone.
Then you will extend your arms as if you are trying to touch your toes. If this is too difficult, then you should use your arms for additional support by holding the back of your thighs. Try to hold the position for one minute.
2. Dolphin Plank Pose
Dolphin plank pose is just one of many variations of the plank pose. It’s a nice choice for those who have difficulty with their wrists since the plank is taken on the forearms, rather than the hands.
Start with your hands the width of the mat distance apart. Extend your legs behind you so that your body is suspended with your tailbone tucked in.
You should feel the pose in your lower abdominal muscles. Try to stay in this position for one minute.
3. Side Plank Pose
Once you have completed your standard or dolphin plank pose, you can transition into a side plank by shifting your weight to either your right or left hand.
Next, you will need to rotate your legs so that the side of one of your feet is the only thing touching the mat. Then, stack the other leg and foot on top as you lift your arm to the sky.
Your body should look like the letter ‘T’ turned on its side. Try to hold his pose for one minute before moving to the other side of the body.
If you want an extra challenge, you can do another plank in the middle in between switching sides.
4. Chair Pose
Chair pose is great because it stretches out the back while improving the core muscles. It also will work your arm muscles and is considered to be a heart-strengthening exercise.
Start by standing in place and raising your arms high up into the air. Face your palms inward towards each other, or join them at the palms if you like.
Then bend your knees as you exhale until you get as close as you can to make your thighs parallel to the floor. Your knees should project over your feet and your torso will begin to lean in as you continue the stretch.
5. Bird Dog Crunches
Crunches are a great way to build your core strength, but doing them flat on the ground isn’t very good for your back. That’s where bird dog crunches come in.
Start by getting on all fours into tabletop position. Then, as you inhale, begin to extend one of your arms forward and the opposite leg backward.
For example, if you start with the left arm, then you will extend your right leg at the same time.
Then bring the leg and arm back in to meet under your body on your exhale. On the next inhale, you will re-extend the leg and arm. Try to do this for one minute before starting on the other leg and arm.
For More Health and Fitness Advice
Yoga is a spiritual mind-body practice that can be used to improve your overall lifestyle. But as we showed in this post, it’s also a healthy way to tone your abdominal muscles and get back in shape.
The yoga for core poses in this post will help you strengthen your body and feel more confident. For more helpful articles, check out our other fitness blog posts today.