Yogi Kate Kendall: 5 yoga moves to do for a strong core
Plus, a moving meditation sequence!
“I often begin leading a class by theming movement from ‘the inside out’. It’s intended to inspired every stride, step and breath starting from the very core – out. It requires an awareness of the deepest of core muscles and from there all of our movements are done with ease and grace.”
Practice the below core-specific moves and then compliment with a moving meditation from the inside out as shown in the video above.
Great for: building the core muscles that support our posture at the lower back. These help keep us standing tall and proud.
- Lie flat on tummy with arms along side, head down and back of neck long.
- Lightly activate the legs, internally rotate the thighs and press all ten toes into the mat
- Inhale lengthen the chest forward and up so that the arms and shoulder also take flight
- Keeping feet on floor, stay for 5 calm breaths. Come down and repeat 3 more times.
Squeezie Thighs and Tummy
Great for: building strength at lower abdominal muscles and strengthening the inner thighs which are essentially connected to the core.
- Flip over and lie on back. Lift legs and place blocks between upper thighs.
- Interlace hands behind head and inhale lift the upper back so that the lower portion of the shoulder blades are lifted. This is home base. Over the next few reps try not to release shoulders and head back to floor.
- Inhale lift the chest a little higher, exhale lift tail bone to sky (so that you’re only lifting feet up as opposed to swinging legs overhead), pause and squeeze the block
- Exhale lower tale
- Repeat x 10 then hug knees into chest for five deeps breaths.
Slow Sunday Bicycle Ride
This is a yogi’s take on your athletic bicycle ab exercise.
Great for: toning the side waist
- Still from back and hands interlaced behind head. Inhale lift both legs again.
- Exhale, in slow motion (from the inside out) lower left leg until foot is just off the floor and lift and turn horse to right so that left elbow snuggles into outer edge of right knee. Pause.
- Inhale both legs slowly lift high.
- Exhale repeat left side.
- Switch and repeat x 10 then hug knees into chest and finally rest laying down. Enjoy the sensations.
Yogi Floor Press
Great for: strengthening the core and pelvic floor muscles
- Roll up to a seated posture and cross right ankle in front of left.
- Placing a black under each hand. Inhale and then as you exhale pull pelvic floor up lightly, draw lower abdominal muscles in and press into the blocks to lift bottom up off the floor. Then continue to breath calmly (that’s the tricky part) staying for five breaths.
- Come down and swap ankles (so that left is in front of right).
- Repeat twice on each side and if feeling super strong try taking your feet off the floor also.
Breath of Fire
Great for: digestion and building Agni (that’s yoga term for fire in the belly – good for your building metabolism) and a strong sense of core, awareness and self. In the yoga tradition, the abdominal region or solar plexus is the seat of our will power so it’s a pretty important placer to focus on.
- From a cross legged position (sit on the block to have hips a little higher than knees if that helps).
- Keeping your upper body relatively still, inhale to a comfortable portion and then as you exhale draw the navel rapidly into the spine so that you’re inhaling and exhaling in succession. Try 20 breaths and then on the last exhalation hold the breath of for a few seconds before breathing in fully and deeply. Pause the breath at top for a moment before releasing. Rest and feel. Repeat another two rounds.
Note: (not to be done when pregnant or heavily menstruating – nor after a main meal)