Yoga pose to strengthen the core

This short Hatha yoga sequence helps to centre you, make you more self-aware and give you strength for the small and major challenges of everyday life.

Start in the thunderbolt pose. Breathe in and bring your hands together in front of your sternum as you exhale. Move into the table-top pose (Sanskrit: Bharmanasana), with your hands beneath your shoulders, your knees beneath your pelvis, the backs of your feet on the floor. Inhale as you move into a controlled hollow-back position (cow pose, Bitilasana), then exhale as you arch your back (cat pose, Marjayasana) by rounding your entire spine from head to pelvis. Alternatingly repeat both exercises a few times in rhythm with your breathing, initiating each movement from the centre of your body. Now with the backs of your feet still touching the floor, lower your buttocks onto your heels and stretch your arms out in front of you in a variation of the child’s pose (Balasana).

Return to the table-top pose, stretch your right leg out behind you and initially push your toes into the mat until you feel your leg muscles. Then lift your foot up off the mat and leave your toes curled extended upward as you stretch your leg out behind you in line with your body. Now lift your left hand off the mat and stretch your arm out to the front. Leave your palm open as if you were about to shake someone’s hand. Let your gaze follow your hand. Inhale in this position and, as you exhale, bring your knee and elbow together and take on a rounded shape. Inhale as you stretch out your leg and arm once more, then touch them together again beneath your body as you exhale. Repeat this sequence several times. Try to once more initiate the movement from the centre of your body. Then place your hand and knee back on the mat. Once more repeat the cat and cow poses a few times (see above). Push your buttocks backwards onto your heels once more and stretch your arms out far in front of you in a variation of the child’s pose (see above).

Return to the table-top pose, stretch your left leg out behind you, touch your toes to the ground and then stretch the leg as you lift it off the ground. At the same time, lift your right arm up out in front of you and then touch your knee and elbow together below your body as you exhale. Repeat this sequence several times while always initiating the movement from the centre of your body.

Then place your hand and knee back on the mat and repeat the cat-cow sequence again (see above).

Now return to the child’s pose by pushing your pelvis backwards and then sit up again into the thunderbolt pose. Calmly breathe in and bring your hands together in front of your heart as you exhale.

 

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