It isn’t a high impact workout, but yoga can lead to sprains, pulls, fractures and dislocations if you neglect essential protocol. You should be mindful and present, warm up before practice, and enter and exit postures with control and not speed. You should also not let your ego come in the way of helpful modifications, and always finish your practice with shavasana for the perfect cool down.

The best way to inculcate a strong core is by embracing some challenging yoga poses that build balance. So grab a mat and get started:

Tuladandasana, Or Balancing Stick Pose
It is great for strengthening the midsection, heart muscles and improving your overall ability to concentrate.
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Step 1: Stand with your feet together, heels and toes touching.
Step 2: Bring your arms up over your head, and keep your palms together. Interlock your fingers by releasing the index fingers but keeping your thumbs crossed.
Step 3: Stretch your arms upwards and elongate your spine. Make sure the arms and ears constantly stay in contact.
Step 4: Slightly push your hips forward and lift your chest.
Step 5: Lift your right leg and take a large step forward. Fix your gaze at a point four steps ahead of you on the floor.
Step 6: Now tip your body forward so that you are balancing on your right leg, and simultaneously lift your left leg back and up, so that it is parallel to the floor. Make sure you stretch and contract every muscle, with your hips in line. Hold for five breaths.
Step 7: Slowly exit by bringing the right foot back to the starting position and repeat on the left side.

Utthita Hasta Padangusthasana, Or Standing Big Toe Pose
This balancing pose helps build core strength, improves focus, and opens up the hip region.
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Step 1: Stand with your feet together, heels and toes touching. Fix your gaze at a point on eye level.
Step 2: Grab the left side of your waist with your left hand tightly. Shift your weight to your left leg, pushing the kneecap back, causing the thigh to contract. Try not to bend the knee.
Step 3: Now grab the right big toe using your thumb, index and middle finger and lift the right leg up as high as possible, toes flexed. Make sure you keep your spine erect and chest lifted. Hold for five breaths.
Step 4: Now rotate the leg all the way to your right. Fix your gaze to the left and hold for five breaths.
Step 5: Bring the leg back to the center, let go of the toe and place your hands on each side of your waist, one by one.
Step 6: Point the toes on the raised leg and hold it up as high as possible, maintaining your balance for five breaths. Keep the spine erect and chest lifted.
Step 7: Slowly release the pose, and then repeat on the other side.

Add these poses to your yoga practice, and remember to keep your abs engaged at all times. A strong core gives your body a stronger spine, ensuring proper alignment, form, and foundation.

PS: Here’s your one-stop guide to Yoga Asanas For Weight Loss.
Celebrate International Yoga Day 2015 With ZLiving!