If your core has recently been compromised as in pregnancy, or if you are new to yoga, begin with the modified plank pose to the right. You can practice this or the full expression of the pose for as little as 30 seconds or as long as 5 minutes. Consistency and alignment are central to reaping the benefits of this core work out. Personally--because I tend to be a glutton for punishment--I practice my core exercises while my baby girl is having tummy time...15 minutes every hour. Do what feels comfortable for your body. It is always better to start in smaller increments of time and work your way up. Honor where your body is today.
Make sure your body is in proper alignment while practicing any yoga asana. Holding a pose without correct form can render the pose ineffective or even result in injury. For the plank poses pictured above, you want to have knees, hips and shoulders in a straight line. Your belly button should be drawn in toward your spine and shoulders should be drawn away from your ears. Shoulder blades melt together. If you are holding the full expression of the pose, imagine a string of white light stretching from the crown of your head in front of you, through the mid line of the body while it also stretches your heels behind you. Get long and get lean. Be careful not to put all of your weight into your hands, or to allow your butt to pop up in the air. This can put extra strain on the wrists and will not target the transverse abdominals. If placing hands flat on the ground hurts your wrists, you can always make fists and rest your hands on your knuckles. As with any yoga pose, remember to breathe!
Be sure to check back my post in Core Day 2 for more yoga poses that help to strengthen the core and revitalize your practice! May you be blessed to your core.