If you do it right, yoga is nothing but one big core exercise. Key phrase: if you do it right. I fail miserably at engaging bandhas, essentially muscles in the core that keep you bound or locked in. Uddiyana bandha is upward lifting lock, pulling the belly up and in toward the spine, and mula bandha is the root lock, lifting perineal muscles (YEP, in your goodies) up.
There are lots of yoga poses that strengthen the core (like, all of them), and I actually did a video addressing some of that, which you can find here and below. That’s not what this is. This is a non-yoga 10-minute standard core routine that I’ve been doing every-ish day because I feel squishy. Vanity. And namaste to that.
This routine is not totally in vain. Core strength will carry me through my practice, especially inversions I’m working on, with much more control.
Anyway, it’s nine poses, 10-ish minutes and totally modifiable for beginner or advanced. Just do each for shorter or longer than the suggested 1-2 minutes, adding on 15 seconds each week until you build up to more.
Tah dah. Let me know if you try any of it.
10-ish-Minute Core Routine
Standard Crunch – With feet on the ground, knees up, place hands behind in head. Inhale here, exhale lift shoulders off the ground and crunch. 1 minute
Double Leg Stretch – Pull knees into the chest and lift head/shoulders off the ground. On an inhale, everything lengthens away from center. Heels over off the ground, hands reach over head. Exhale pull back into a little ball. 1 minute
Crossover Crunch – Right ankle over the left knee, left hand behind the head. Exhale and crunch up reaching left should for right knee. 1 minute on this side and then switch (left ankle over right knee, right hand behind the head). 2 minutes total
Bicycle – Hands behind the head. Straighten right leg, pull left knee into the chest, lift right should to left knee. Switch left shoulder to right knee. 1 minute
Oblique Reach – Feet on the ground, knees up. Lift shoulders and head off the ground and reach left hand for left ankle and then right hand to right ankle. Feel the side body engage when you reach. 1 minute
Side Crunch – Laying on your back with feet on the ground and knees up, place hands behind the head and drop both knees to the left. Crunch straight up lifting shoulders off the ground and then lower. Do this for 1 minute and then switch sides. 2 minutes total
Standing Oblique Reach – Standing tall, belly in, reach left hand down the left left as far as it will reach. Lift back up and then drop the right hand down as far as it will reach. Repeat dropping side to side. 1 minute
Plank – You can take this in a forearm plank (shown) or come up on your palms like you’re in a pushup position. Hold as long as you can.