The 8 Yoga Poses for Abs and a Strong Core

If you are just getting into the practice, you likely have already realized how much core strength is required for yoga.

I know that I didn’t realize how much core strength was required in yoga until I started my practice. I sure learned that fast though…

You need strength in your arms and your legs as well, but the core is the powerhouse that controls your balance and ease in and out of different poses.

These yoga poses all work a variety of muscles, but the key is to focus on the core.

Always keep the core engaged by tightening the abs.

Remember to use your core as the source of strength for these poses, rather than leaning into your arms, shoulders, back, or legs too much.

Yoga can be a great workout, but you also have to WORK for it.

My recommendation is to do these exercises on their own or also just hold them for an extra 30-60 seconds before moving on to the next pose.

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1. Side Plank Pose

Side Plank Posture

Begin this pose by first coming into the plank position.  Press your feet together, and roll onto your right side while balancing your weight on the outside of your right foot.

Keep your legs straight, and use your core to stay balanced. Slowly raise your left hand up to the ceiling.

Hold for 30 seconds then repeat on the left side.

2. Upward (Reverse) Plank Pose

Upward (Reverse) Plank

Begin by laying flat on your back with your arms slightly bent and your hands just a couple inches above your hips.

Use your hands and feet to lift up off the floor until your back is parallel to the floor and your arms are perpendicular to the floor.

Hold for 30 seconds. Repeat 2 more times.

3. Extended Side Angle Pose

Extended Side Angle Pose for Abs

This pose is generally a transition from mountain pose and warrior III.  Either way, come into a low lunge and place your right arm on the inside of your right leg. Make sure it’s fully straightened and your left leg remains straight on the floor.  Use a yoga block to help you if you cannot comfortably reach the floor.

4. Cobra Pose

Cobra Posture

Begin by lying face down on the yoga mat with your arms slightly bent just above your hips.

Slowly lift up as high as you can using your CORE, not your arms. Keep your arms light and soft next to you and use them as little as possible during this pose.

Hold for as long as possible and repeat 2x.

5. Plank Pose

Plank yoga pose for abs

Your arms should be shoulder-width apart and directly below your shoulders. Focus on tightening the core muscles while you’re in this position and make sure your butt stays in line with the body and doesn’t drop down or raise up below your body line.

Hold for 30 seconds. Work towards holding this position for up to 2 minutes.

6. Boat Pose

Boat yoga pose for a strong core

Begin by sitting firmly on the mat with your legs out in front of you and your hands just slightly behind your hips. Slowly raise your legs up to a 45-degree angle using your arms to help you balance.  Once you feel balanced and steady enough, slowly raise your arms to the outside of the knees.

Bend your knees slightly if you are not yet flexible enough to fully straighten them.

Hold for 30 seconds. Work towards holding this position for a full minute.

7. One-Legged Downward Facing Dog

One-Legged Downward Facing Dog

Begin in downward facing dog, and raise your left leg as high as you can. Press down on the floor, and lift through your pelvis.

Engage your core to stay balanced. Try to keep the foot that is on the floor placed flat on the ground rather than being up on your toes.

Hold for 30 seconds. Repeat on the other side.

8. Crow Pose

Crow Posture

This is an advanced pose, so no worries if you can’t hold it. The point is to practice.  While this pose does require arm strength, most beginners don’t realize that it also requires a lot of core strength.

Begin in garland pose, which is a seated squat position with your arms on the insides of your legs.

Place your arms firmly on the mat in front of you and your knees on the outside of the elbows (beginners) or up near the armpits (advanced).  Slowly lean forward, and balance your weight on your arms.

Remember that for this workout, you will hold each pose for 30 seconds before moving onto the next pose.

Complete all 5 yoga poses, then repeat the workout 2 more times, making sure to switch up the sides of the body.

Feel free to stay in any of the stretches for longer than 30 seconds if it feels good on your body or you think you need it.

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And always remember, the hardest part about yoga is getting yourself on the mat!

Leave a comment below if you enjoyed this article or have any questions!


  1. Great post, I do many of these already but this is inspiring nonetheless. You have excellent form and the photos are fantastic as well.
    I’m itching to know, where did you get those pants!? I love them 🙂

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