Yes, yoga is one of the most beneficial workouts of all time for the body and the mind, thanks to its ability to help you find your center. Like, literally. With the right yoga moves, you'll know exactly where your center is, because it will be on fire. And that's never been more evident than in our latest episode of Good Moves, which features a core-focused yoga workout with Andrea Russell, a New York City-based yoga instructor.
"A lot of students think of the core as six-pack muscles in the front of their body, but actually you can think of it as a barrel that connects the lower body and the upper body," she says. That means your back muscles and your obliques are included and they can help with everything from bettering your posture to making it easier to move throughout the world each day. To strengthen your core, watch the video above or keep scrolling for Russel's 11-minute core-centric yoga flow.
Try this yoga for core workout for yourself
1. Cat cow: From quadruped position, flow through a few cycles of cat cow. Drop the belly, lifting your tailbone and your head up for cow. Exhale, rounding the spine while gazing towards the navel, spreading through the shoulder blades for cat. Breathe in as you look up and exhale as you round down.
2. Modified cat stretch: From cat, lift your hands onto your fingertips and spread your hips back. Lift the lower belly, pulling the navel towards the spine. Shift your hips a few inches back for a deeper stretch.
3. Knee hover: Back in quadruped position, bring your knees just two inches off of the ground and hold. Pull the lower belly in and be sure to breathe.
4. Downward facing dog: Send your thigh bones back and move your hands two inches forward, coming into downward dog. Peddle out the feet and press your hips up and back. Reach your right leg into the air into a downward dog split.
5. Knee to opposite elbow: Exhale and take your right knee to the opposite elbow, pausing. Then move your knee to the right tricep and hold. Lift your hip and breathe. Exhale with your knee back to the left elbow, then move back into downward dog split on the right. Bend the knee and open up your hip. Straighten, then take your right foot next to your right thumb.
6. Warrior I: Ground your back heel down, breathe, and rise up into warrior I. Your palms can be together or shoulder distance apart. Ground through the heel and lift your torso, activating through the core. Breathe as you hold your right knee over the right ankle.
7. Pyramid: Heel-toe your back foot in an inch or two, square your hips, and lift through your knee caps. From the hips, lift up, then exhale and hinge forward. Ideally, your legs are straight, but if there's a baby bend that's fine. You can use blocks for your hands. Look forward as you inhale, lengthening through the spine, and exhale to fold deeper. You have the option to walk the hands forward.
8. Plank: Bend in the right knee as you lift up, stepping back into a plank pose with your big toes touching, shoulders over wrists, core engaged.
9. Side plank variation—left: Lower the left knee down, ground through the back heel, and lift the right arm up in a side plank. Hold and breathe.
10. Side plank crunch—left: Take your right hand behind your head, find balance by grounding through the edge of the right foot. Take your right knee to the outside of the elbow. Inhale to reach long. Exhale, taking your elbow to the right side of the knee, stabilizing through your left shoulder. Then flow back into your plank, and then downward facing dog.
Repeat the sequence on your opposite side.
1. Flow: Exhale, going all the way down to your belly. Point your toes, taking your elbows back. Inhale into low cobra. Exhale, tuck your toes, press your hips back. Lift your knees into downward facing dog.
2. High lunge—right: Your right leg lifts, inhale, exhale and step your right foot next to your right thumb into a low lunge. Inhale and rise into high lunge.
3. High lunge with twist: Bring your hands together, exhale as you twist to the right. When you hook your left elbow onto the right thigh, really lift up and out of the shoulder blade. Use your core to help you twist. Move back into plank.
4. Side plank—left: With your big toes touching, spin to your left outer foot and reach your right arm straight up into a side plank. Lift out of your left outer hip. Exhale, lower down, and flow.
Repeat the sequence on your opposite side, then flow through this finisher round.
1. Child's pose: Take a few breaths in child's pose. Walk your hands back and roll yourself up.
2. Boat pose: Move to the middle of your mat. With your feet together, grab behind your knees and roll your shoulders back. Lift your shins to the same height as your knees. Option to raise your arms if you feel stable. Lift through the chest and hold. Then cross your shins and float down back onto the ground.
3. Seat press: Pressing through the palms with your shins still crossed, lift just your seat up. Try lifting your feet and your seat at the same time. Exhale and lower down.
4. Boat pose: Move back into boat pose, extending your legs if you want more of a challenge. After holding, do another round of a seat press. And you're done—you've earned yourself a savasana.
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