Yoga For Core Strength Course – Tutorial 1

Focus: This tutorial will suit people who are less experienced with abdominal poses or working mainly from the beginner section. If you feel that you may be lacking in abdominal strength then this video is for you.

In just 20 minutes you are introduced to several poses that will rapidly help to build abdominal strength and tone your waistline. These poses also help to strengthen your leg muscles and lower back. You will learn to break these poses down into manageable stages. If for now the full pose is out of reach you are taught some modified stages that you can work on.

Progress can be made quite quickly with the abdominals. The short duration of these videos is intended to help you practice this sequence regularly, as part of your ongoing practice.

Benefits: Increased abdominal, lower back and leg muscle strength, improved posture

Equipment: Mat.

Level: Beginner to Intermediate

Duration: 20 min

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  1. Angélica H

    Hi ! New member here, first time doing this class and I find I can’t lower my legs more than 30 degrees in the second pose, neither can I take my arms all the way back, should I stay in the 30 degrees? Or lower my legs even when my lower back lifts up the mat? Can I do the pose with my arms at my sides? Thanks 🙂

    • Rod

      Hi Angelica,

      Apologies for my late reply. Thanks for your question. It’s a good one. It’s more important to hold the correct alignment and not strain your lower back. So what I would suggest is to stop once you notice your lower back beginning to arch and lift up. At that point you can bend your knees and release your legs down to the ground. In terms of the issue with your arms, you can try putting a bolster above your head on the floor and lowering your arms to the bolster.

      Hopefully these tips help. Please feel free to let me know how you go.

      Best wishes,


  2. Nathalie W

    Hi Rod,

    6 months ago, I was working on my core 15-30mn everyday, targeting different parts each time.
    I was also advised to work on my glutes to improve my balance in standing posture, did not work on my legs like I do now with Iyengar yoga techniques.

    Having a posterior tilt, I did not focus on moving my pelvis towards the navel, but probably tilting my pelvis the other way to get a more “natural curve” of my spine. My core was getting much stronger, but I ended it up having discomfort and tension in my lower back. And now, I am quite confused about what to do to avoid having these troubles with my lower back again: should I still move the pelvis towards the navel despite my natural posterior tilt? What could you advise me to focus on?

    Thank you in advance.


    • Rod

      Hi Nathalie, thanks for your question. I can understand how this must be confusing. There are many instructions given in Iyengar Yoga that are intended to benefit the majority of bodies. For example, it is common to hear the instruction “roll inner thighs back” in upright standing for beginners because many people stand with their feet turned out. Rolling the inner thighs back will rebalance the legs for most people, unless of course your legs naturally rotate inwards. If this is the case you might need to turn your outer thighs back.

      The issue you describe with the angle of the pelvis is similar. Opening the chest is a big priority in Iyengar Yoga. When people begin to do this they often arch their lumbar spine rather than creating movement in the stiffer (for most of us) upper back. This tends to make the back of the pelvis jam up into the lower back. To compensate for this instructions are often given that return space to the lumbar spine. (ie pubic bone to navel). This works for most people but not everyone.

      From what you describe this is perhaps not an instruction that you should over do. For me it should not be an either/or instruction.

      Sometimes it will benefit moving the pubic bone to the navel, and other times the opposite will be a better option. There will be lots of grey areas in between. This adjustment will be like a lever to optimise whatever position you are in.

      I would instead look a keeping a healthy curvature in the lumbar spine, not too much and not too little, and integrating this with a healthy curve in the upper back and neck. It may be that you need to be patient with the change that is occurring with your lumbar spine, and focus as well on areas higher up. Don’t underestimate how treating the spine as a whole will help to improve the health of individual parts.

      Standing poses are great for returning balance to the spine. They include backbend instructions, forward bend instructions and twists in a format that encourages gradual change and strengthening. There should not be any pain in your lower back. Let this be your guide as you explore the angle of your pelvis through a range of poses and positions. Let me know how you go with it. Thanks again. I hope this helps. Rod

  3. Anita S

    I experimented with this class today by adding another yoga mat to support the coccyx region. I also used a strap around the balls of the feet for navasana and found this very useful for keeping the legs closer to the chest.

    • Rod

      Thanks for your input Anita. A blanket for the coccyx or even doubling your mat over is a good adjustment if you are getting discomfort in your tailbone. The belt can be helpful if you are finding it difficult to stay in the pose. Try not to rely on the belt but rather to try and feel what the belt helps you to do and then replicate that without the belt.

  4. Anita S

    Hi Rod,
    I had to use a blanket for the first pose as I found it was very painful on my tail bone. My legs kept coming further down. I will need to come back to this class quite frequently to strengthen the abs and hopefully won’t require the blanket for the full navasana pose.
    Thanks for the tutorial.

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