Try these side body-centric poses to refine your asana practice and deepen your core connection

When we think of our cores, our obliques aren’t typically the first set of muscles that spring to mind—rectus abdominus, aka six-pack, I’m looking at you. However, your obliques muscles are key in many yoga postures and daily life moves. After all, they stabilize your spine when you rotate your torso and pelvis.

Located on either side of your rectus abdominus, your thin yet powerful external obliques run diagonally from your ribs to your rectus abdominus. Your external obliques are situated just below, perpendicular to your external obliques.


In asana practice, challenging poses like Parivrtta Trikonasana (Revolved Triangle Pose) engage your obliques, as do more grounded poses like Jathara Parivartanasana (Revolved Abdomen Pose). Off of your yoga mat, you use these muscles when you throw a ball (your obliques pull your shoulder around.) And when you kick a ball, your obliques rotate your pelvis. Your obliques are in play when you strength train as well: they help stabilize your vertebrae to maintain spinal alignment when you lift a heavy weight.

As you move through these three yoga poses, use the cues provided to focus on your oblique muscles in each shape. Bring the awareness you cultivate into your next longer yoga practice, and with you into day to day life, and feel your connection to your center deepen. 

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