The Ultimate Core-Strengthening Yoga Pose


When it comes to yoga, I hate playing favorites. Each pose has its benefits and challenges, but some seem more all-encompassing than others. So for the next several weeks, I will share my 10 favorite yoga moves and how they can help tone and tighten your body.

This week's pose doesn't have a proper name, but I call it Opposite Arm and Leg Pose. It's a core-strengthening variation on the cat/dog position, and it's great for your upper body and back too. In fact, physical therapists often use it as part of different rehab programs, as it's great for cultivating balance.

Start on all fours, hands shoulder-width apart, with your fingers pointing forward, knees under your hips, and your toes pointing directly back. Bring your spine into a neutral setting, lifting the belly in and up to support your back. Gaze a few feet in front of you and keep your eyes steady on one point—this will help with balance. Reach your right arm up so that it is level with the rest of the body, and keep your fingers pointing straight ahead. At the same time, reach your left leg back so that it creates one long line with your body, toes pointing back. Make sure your belly is firm—this will help your balance too. Hold this position for 5–15 breaths, then release and repeat on the opposite side. Practice this pose for 3–5 times on each side.

arm-leg-yoga arm-leg-yoga

Getty Images

You can turn this into a Vinyasa sequence by performing the pose in a more fluid, faster way. Lift your right arm and left leg up on the inhale, then release them down on the exhale. Then inhale again as you lift your left arm and right leg up, bringing them down on the exhale. Repeat for 10 full rounds and feel your body getting stronger, longer, and more balanced. This is also a great way to introduce friends to yoga. The pose is simple, and you'll see results quickly!