The 7-Minute, Plank-Centric Yoga Flow Will Fire up Every Part of Your Core
Welcome to Trainer of the Month Club, our brand-new fitness series, where we tap the coolest, most in-the-know fitness leaders to create a month-long fitness challenge. On Mondays, we have our “sweat drops” where you’ll get access to the week’s workout that you can follow along at home. This week, Val Verdier is teaching us a yoga sequence that's all about the core.
When I think of yoga, I tend to think of it as an all-over workout—rather than a butt-sculpting, arm toning, or leg strengthening exercise specifically. Yoga pro Val Verdier, who's our Trainer of the Month this August, has proved me wrong.
This week? Verdier, a long-time yogi and director of teaching at Modo Yoga, is taking us through a core-activating yoga flow, and while it obviously works your entire body from head to toe, it gives your abs and obliques a little extra kick. "This is a little core sequence—it's more about isolating the muscles so you can really feel engaged throughout the whole practice," she says. "We're not going to focus on repetition and all the sit-ups, but we're going to engage [the core] the whole time and get the body moving." You'll definitely feel your abs quaking by the time you hit savasana.
Try this 7-minute yoga for core-focused flow, courtesy of Verdier
1. Bridge pose: Lie down onto your back, feet hip-distance apart and arms by your side. Reach for your heels to make sure they're aligned with your knees. Warm up the spine by inhaling into bridge, lifting your pelvis up. Exhale and bring it back down. Do this for a few breaths to get into your rhythm.
2. C-Curve: Slide your legs closer together, bring your hands to the top of your thighs, tailbone toward your heels. Lift your head off the floor, making sure your lower back is printed onto the floor. If you're comfortable, lift your toes, or your shins, pressing your hands onto your thighs while finding that C-curve of the body. Exhale, come down. If you're stable, extend your arms towards the front, tucking your tailbone to your heels. Keep your hands on your quads to help lift your legs. You can extend your legs all the way if you want for an advanced pose. Repeat about four times before exhaling and bringing your body down.
3. Plank: Cross your legs and swing yourself up into tabletop on your mat, then bring yourself into plank pose. Find your hands underneath your shoulders and legs extended out into one even line. Lift your belly in, extending your tailbone to your heels. Squeeze the inner thighs.
4. Downward facing dog: Move into downward facing dog. Lift your right leg high, breathing in and bringing your knee to your nose. Then, step your foot to the top of the mat.
5. High crescent lunge: Press onto your back heel, bending your right knee. Inhale and lift your arms up.
6. Warrior II: Exhale into warrior II, looking over your front hand.
7. Exalted warrior: Slide your left hand down onto your thigh, reaching your right arm back.
8. Plank: Windmill your hands down onto the mat into plank. Hover your right leg a little bit off of the floor with the same engagement, pressing onto your hands.
9. Downward facing dog: Bring your foot down and press back into downward facing dog.
10. Flow: Inhale, reach your left leg high. Bring your knee to your nose and step your foot to the top of the mat.
11. High crescent lunge: Ground onto your front foot, inhale and lift your arms up.
12. Warrior II: Exhale into warrior II, adjust your footing and arms and looking over your front hand.
13. Exalted warrior: Bring your right hand down to your leg, and send the left hand up into the air. Stretch the side of your obliques. Windmill your hands onto the mat.
14. Plank: Step both feet back into plank pose. Lift the left leg slightly up, while the weight of the body doesn't change. Tap the foot back down and press into downward dog.
15. Downward facing dog: Stay for the breath out. Lift your right leg up on your breath in and step it to the top of the mat.
16. High crescent lunge: Bend onto the right knee, bringing both arms up into crescent lunge.
17. Warrior II: Open your legs and arms out into warrior II.
18. Exalted warrior: Bring your left hand onto your thigh, reach your right arm back into exalted warrior.
19. Side plank—left: Move down to a plank, leave your left hand down and turn onto the outside of the left foot. Extend your right leg back, leaving your right hand down to let you stabilize. Once you're comfortable, press on your left hand and left foot, lifting the side of your body into a side plank.
20. Cobra: Exhale and bring your hand down to the floor. Bend your knees, bend your elbows, and keep your belly engaged as you come down to the ground. Lift your chest up into cobra.
21. Downward facing dog: Move back into downward facing dog. Exhale, bringing your left leg high, then move it forward to the top of the mat.
22. High crescent lunge: Inhale, bringing your arms up into crescent lunge.
23. Warrior II: Open up into warrior II.
24. Exalted warrior: Move your right hand onto your thigh, and inhale. Windmill both hands down. take your time to set it up. make sure your hand is happy and your shoulder. Turn onto the outside of the foot, slide your leg back
25. Side plank—right: Take your time to set this up: Make sure your hand is happy underneath your shoulder, and turn onto the outside of the foot, sliding your leg back. If you have a shoulder injury, you can tap the bottom knee on the floor but still wake up the side of the body as you lift up. If you want more out of this modification, you can lift the top leg. Then, bring your left hand down.
26. Plank: Engage your belly and your legs in plank pose. Then, bend your knees, and come onto your forearms.
27. Forearm plank: You can keep your knees on the mat, or you can lift them so that your legs are straight back into a full forearm plank. Find your breath and breathe for 10 seconds. Bring your knees down.
28. Child's pose: Lean back into child's pose. Let it be.
Also helpful: these cooling yoga poses that'll chill you out in this summer heat. And this is how to do yoga nidra for better sleep.
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