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Practice these yoga poses to strengthen your core

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Core muscles, including the abdominals, lower back, and obliques, contribute to balance, posture, and overall functioning. Strengthen these muscles by working them two to three times per week from various angles. Add these core focused yoga poses to your routine to begin seeing improvements today.

Boat Pose - Boat pose is a challenging core strengthener. Begin in a seated position. Keeping the spine long and the heart up, lean back, pull the abs tight, and lift the feet off the floor. Begin with knees bent and work up to straightening the legs.

Crow Pose - Crow pose challenges the balance and strengthens the core. Place the hands flat on the floor. Bring the knees to the triceps and begin to pour your weight into your arms. Engage the core by pulling the abs up toward the spine. Practice picking one foot up and then both feet.

Plank Pose - Plank pose is an overall body strengthener with a core focus. Begin in push-up position with the hands directly under the shoulders. Pull the abs tight, squeeze the quads, and press through the shoulder blades. Place the knees down to modify.

Side Plank Pose - From plank pose, lift the right arm and open to the right. Stack the feet and keep the left arm under the left shoulder. Pull the left oblique in tight. Come back to the center and repeat opening to the left. To modify place the bottom knee down.

Tree II Pose - Tree II improves balances, strengthens the core, and brings focus to the mind. Pour your weight into your right leg and pull the left foot up to the right inner thigh. Open the left knee out to the left as far as is comfortable. Place the hands at heart center or extend overhead. Repeat with the right leg up. To modify place the foot on the calf or ankle.

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