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Mindfulness & Movement
Zaheera Swing
Nutritional Therapist & Herbalist BSc Hons Nutritional Science + NTPD

5 Yoga Poses For Core Strength


Want strong abs? Then it’s time to elevate your yoga practice! Yoga isn't just for stress relief and flexibility; it’s a powerful full-body workout. With just a few simple asanas (yoga postures), you can start building core strength right from your yoga mat at home. 

By building your abdominal strength, you'll be supporting your balance, stability, posture, athletic ability, and overall yoga practice since other postures will become easier too.

If you're looking to give your core the ultimate workout, we've got you covered with these top yoga poses for core strength:



1. Plank pose (​​Phalakasana)



The plank pose is the ultimate core strengthening exercise. Not only does it strengthen the abdominal muscles but also the arms, shoulders, back, and legs while grounding your spiritual being. It may feel challenging at first, but with some time, you'll be able to stay in this position for longer with each session. Your posture in this yoga pose is essential, so be sure to follow the instructions carefully.

  • Lay down on your stomach.

  • Place your palms under your shoulders with your fingers facing forward.

  • Tuck your toes under so that the soles of your feet are perpendicular to the floor.

  • Now, push yourself up, using your arms and abdominal muscles, allowing your body to be supported by your palms and toes.

  • Ensure that your body is entirely straight, i.e., do not arch your back up or down or let your legs sag.

  • Hold in this position for as long as you can, taking steady breaths, then slowly lower your body back down to your yoga mat. 




2. Chair pose with a twist (Parivrtta utkatasana)



This posture is a slight modification of the traditional chair pose. This dynamic pose will help to strengthen your core, leg muscles, and overall balance. 

  • Start in a standing position (i.e. mountain pose)

  • Extend your arms up into the air, stretching them overhead with your palms together.

  • Imagine you are sitting back into an imaginary chair, bending your knees so that your thighs are parallel to the floor.

  • Bring your hands down into a prayer position at your heart center.

  • Lengthen your spine and rotate your upper body to the right, touching your left elbow to the right leg.

  • Hold this pose for a few breaths and then switch to the left, resting your right elbow on your left leg.




3. Boat pose (Paripurna navasana)



Boat pose is the perfect yoga posture to engage your core muscle while also strengthening your hip flexors - which can become weak when spending too much time sitting (as most of us do!). 

Practicing this posture also helps to support your balance. 

  • Start in a seated position on your yoga mat with your feet flat on the floor.

  • Now, lift both your feet off the floor, keeping your knees bent to start so your shins are parallel off the floor (you're now doing “half boat pose”!)

  • Your upper body will naturally start to fall back but focus on not letting your spine round.

  • Engaging your core, straighten your legs to a 45-degree angle, keeping your torso as upright as possible.

  • Your body should make a V-shape.

  • Straighten your arms directly out in front of you at shoulder height, so they are parallel to the floor with your palms turned up.

  • Try and stay in this position for at least 5 breaths.




4. Warrior III (Virabhadrasana III) 



Performing the Warrior III pose is a more advanced yoga posture and usually requires concentration and practice. On a spiritual level, it has been said that this pose asks us to root ourselves into the earth while extending ourselves outwards into space and ether. According to the yoga journal, it allows us to find the balance between contraction and expansion. 

This energizing pose can also help you build strength in both your lower body and core.

  • Begin in Warrior I, which involves a lunge forward with your right foot forward and right knee bent at a 90-degree angle with your back left leg straight and extended.

  • Place a hand on each hip.

  • Start to bring your weight onto your right foot and as you float your left foot off the ground behind you.

  • Straighten your right leg and bring your torso to a parallel position to the floor, extending your arms forward or behind you at your sides.

  • Continue to lift your left leg until it is extended straight behind you, and now both your torso and left leg are parallel to the floor.

  • Keep your gaze on the floor as you lengthen your spine and neck.

  • When you are ready to complete this yoga posture, step backward onto your left leg and into Warrior I.

  • Repeat the pose on the other side. 




5. Side plank pose (Vasisthasana)



The side plank pose is a modified version of the plank pose and helps to work slightly different core muscle groups, namely the obliques. 

  • Start in the plank pose, keeping your hands directly under your shoulders with your arms and legs straight.

  • With control, slowly turn your body to the right without bending your arms, back, or legs.

  • Stack your feet on top of each other.

  • Lift your right arm straight into the air with your palm facing forwards.

  • The entire front side of your body should be facing forward now.

  • Try and keep your whole body engaged without allowing your left hip to sag towards the floor.

  • Hold this position for 3-5 breaths, then switch sides.



Zaheera Swing
Nutritional Therapist & Herbalist BSc Hons Nutritional Science + NTPD
As a qualified Nutritional Therapist (BSc Hons Nutritional Science + NTPD), Zaheera Swing has a deep passion for restoring balance and harmony to the body through the modalities of nutritional science, herbalism, and holistic lifestyle practices. Using the functional medicine model coupled with wisdom from ancient paradigms, she aims to provide insight into the underlying root causes of poor health and the holistic tools we can harness to enhance the well-being of mind, body, and spirit.
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