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Yoga Sequences

Tara Stiles’s Natural-Movement Core-Strengthening Sequence

This strong-core sequence will move you in every direction to work your middle from each possible angle, building strength and ease of movement, naturally.

This strong-core sequence from Tara Stiles‘s new book Strala Yogawill move you in every direction to work your middle from each possible angle, building strength and ease of movement, naturally. Stay with your breath and allow your body and mind to relax as you move. Use only the energy you need to get through the movements. Move through this a few times a week to gain a nice range of motion and ease of body and mind.

Using Natural Movement to Build Core Strength

Tara Stiles Down Dog roll to plank

When you move naturally, softening as you move, in the easiest way possible, through simple and challenging movements, you build a tremendous amount of strength. This core-strengthening workout is far superior to isolated abdominal exercises. The routine gets you moving everything, all together, putting together strong movement phrases to give you a nice impact.

See also Two Fit Moms: 4 Belly-Toning Core Exercises

Core-Strengthening Natural Movement Phrase 1

Tara Stiles Core Sequence

Come into Down Dog. Move a bit here to get comfortable. Round out to plank. Lift your hips, shift your weight onto your right hand and the outside edge of your right foot, and open your body to your left. If you want some more stability, soften your right shin to the ground for support. Hang here for a few long, deep breaths. Come back to center and go for the other side. When you’re ready, come back to center. Soften your elbows and lower down to your belly. In one piece, press right back up and back to Down Dog. Repeat the movement phrase two more times, moving easily with your breath.

See also Core Concept: Soften Your Middle for a Stronger Core

Resist the Urge to Flex

It’s a common misunderstanding that flexing and engaging build strength. Observing some of the strongest creatures on the planet, we learn a great deal about strength and power as it relates to the core. Flip on the Nature Channel and observe a lion climbing a tree. The lion doesn’t prepare to climb the tree by doing a bunch of crunches or flexing her muscles. She uses the least amount of effort possible. The lion’s power comes from exploration. She gets to know her body really well and learns what she is capable of. Through that knowing, she is able to expand what she is capable of and build strength. The magic is the appearance of effortless strength and grace.

See also Yoga for Moms: Re-establishing Your Connection to Your Core

Core-Strengthening Natural Movement Phrase 2

Take a big inhale and lift your right leg up and back to Down Dog Split. Arc your knee high and around to your right upper arm. Look forward and lean forward. Take a big inhale and lift your leg back to Down Dog Split. Arc your knee across your body to your left upper arm. Make a shelf out of your arm here. Look forward and lean forward. When you’re ready, lift your leg back to Down Dog Split. Step your foot between your hands to Low Lunge. Take a big inhale and lift up to High Lunge. Exhale back down to Low Lunge. Plant your palms on the ground and step back to Plank. Lift up your hips, shift your weight onto your right hand and the outside edge of your right foot, and open your body to your left side. If you want some more stability, soften your right shin to the ground for support. Hang here for a few long, deep breaths. Come back to center and go for the other side. When you’re ready, come back to center. Soften your elbows and lower to your belly. In one piece, press right back up and back to Down Dog. Repeat this movement phrase twice on each side.

See also 12-Minute Core Strength Sequence (for Real People)

Core-Strengthening Natural Movement Phrase 3, Part 1

Tara Stiles Core Yoga Sequence

Walk your feet up to your hands and come into Standing Forward Bend. Soften your knees a bit here and relax your torso over your legs. Roll up to stand one notch at a time. When you make it up, take a big inhale and float your arms out and up overhead. Exhale and relax back to standing forward bend. Press your palms to the ground and soften your knees, coming into a squat. Bring your hands behind you and come to sit easily. Lift your legs in front of you with your knees soft for your Boat. If this is too much on your lower back, place your hands or forearms on the ground behind you for support. Lower your body halfway down toward the ground and lift back up, keeping your head, neck, and shoulders relaxed. Repeat this 10 times, moving with your breath. Lower halfway down and on your right side with your arms across to your left for a Boat Twist. Lift back up. Twist in the opposite direction and roll through this about 10 times with your breath. Lower down and open your arms behind you, pressing your lower back toward the ground. Take a big inhale here to open up. Exhale and hug your knees while relaxing on your back.

See also Yoga For Beginners: Build a Strong Core with Plank Pose

Core-Strengthening Natural Movement Phrase 3, Part 2

Rock a bit side to side if that feels good. Rock gently forward and back to come up to sit. Press your hands on the ground in front of you for support and lift up into a Standing Forward Bend, keeping your knees soft. Relax your head and neck here. Round up to stand one notch at a time. Take a big inhale and float your arms out and up overhead. Exhale and soften back into Standing Forward Bend. Press your palms on the ground and step back to Plank. Lift up to Side Plank on your right hand. If you want some more stability, soften your right shin to the ground for support. Hang here for a few long, deep breaths. Go for the other side. Soften your elbows and lower down to your belly. In one piece, press right back up to Plank and then back to Down Dog.

See also A Core-Awakening Sun Salutation for Lower Back Support

Core-Strengthening Natural Movement Phrase 3, Part 3

Tara Stiles yoga sequence

For these hip rolls, it’s important not to rush through the movements or treat them like a calisthenics exercise. The purpose of the hip rolls is to move your entire body all together and easily in many directions. These movements build strength in your core and entire body, while helping you maintain a healthy range of mobility. Enjoy the rolls!

Take a big inhale and float your right leg up and back to Down Dog Split. Open your hips and belly here if that feels nice. Arc your knee high and around to your right upper arm. Look forward and lean forward. Inhale right back up to Down Dog Split. Arc your knee down and across to your left upper arm. Look forward and lean forward. Inhale your leg back to Down Dog Split. Next, let’s go for some hip rolls: Arc your knee high and around to your right upper arm; keep it moving across to the left, sweep it back open to the right and up and back to Down Dog Split. Now bring your knee down and across to your left upper arm, open right, up and back to Down Dog Split. One more time all of that, high and around right, across left, open right, up and back to Down Dog Split. Last round, down and across left, open right, up and back to Down Dog Split. Exhale and step your right foot forward to Low Lunge. Inhale up to High Lunge. Exhale back to Low Lunge. Plant your palms on the ground and step back to Plank. Soften your elbows and lower down to your belly. Press back to plank and lift up and back to Down Dog. Repeat this and the rest of movement phrase 3 (part 1–3, starting with walking up to Standing Forward Bend) on the other side.

See also 16 Poses for a Strong + Stable Core

Core-Strengthening Natural Movement Phrase 4

From Down Dog, soften your elbows and come into a Down Dog on your forearms. Hang here for a few long, deep breaths. Walk your feet out into a Forearm Plank. Hang here for a few long deep breaths. Walk your feet back up to Down Dog on your forearms. Take a big inhale and lift your left leg up, lifting your hips and belly. Exhale and soften back down. Repeat on your right side. When you’re ready, soften your knees to the ground and relax in Child’s Pose. Rest here for a few long, deep breaths. When you’re ready, lift your hips, tuck your toes, take a big inhale, and lift up and back to Down Dog.

See also Two Fit Moms’ Picks: 8 Best Yoga Poses for the Core

Core-Strengthening Natural Movement Phrase 5

Tara Stiles core yoga sequence

From Down Dog, roll out to Plank. Hang here for 20 long, deep breaths. When the going gets tough, stay easy, sway a bit side to side, and relax. Lift up to Side Plank for 10 breaths. If you want some more stability, soften your right shin to the ground for support. Then go for the other side. Come back to center. Soften your elbows and lower down to your belly and relax. Bend your knees, grab hold of your ankles, and lift up into Bow. Rock a bit here if that feels nice. If this hurts your lower back, don’t do it; just stay and relax on your belly. When you’re ready, relax back to your belly and rest here for a few moments. Press your palms on the ground and shift your hips back to Child’s Pose. Rest here for a moment. When you’re ready, lift your hips up a bit, press your palms on the ground, and lift up and back to Down Dog.

See also Tara Stiles’ Top 3 Takeaways From YJ LIVE

Core-Strengthening Natural Movement Phrase 6

tara stiles yoga sequence

Take an easy stroll up to the top of your mat, coming into Standing Forward Bend. Roll up to stand one notch at a time. When you make it up, take a big inhale and float your arms out and up. Exhale and relax over your legs. Press your palms into the ground and bring yourself into a Squat. Bring your hands on the ground behind you and bring yourself to sit. Bring the bottoms of your feet together and lean back a bit to open up. Either stay here if that feels nice or relax your torso forward for a few breaths. When you’re ready, roll down to lie on your back, bringing your knees along with you for the ride. Press the bottoms of your feet on the ground next to your hips. Relax your arms down by your sides and lift up into Bridge. Hang here for a few long, deep breaths. Relax back down. Press your palms on the ground next to your ears, and lift up into Wheel. If this doesn’t feel good, relax down. Hang here for several long, deep breaths. Relax back down and rest for a few deep breaths. Hug your knees into your chest, then bring your legs to your right side and open your arms out to your sides, coming into a twist. Hang here for a few long, deep breaths. When you’re ready, go for the other side. Stretch out and relax for several long, deep breaths.

See also How Tara Stiles Preps to Balance in Handstand

Closing

Bring yourself up easily to sit. Relax your hands on your thighs and draw your attention inward. Take a big inhale and float your arms out and up. Press your palms together, close your eyes, and bring your thumbs to your heartbeat. Soften here for a moment. Take a big inhale through your nose. Long exhale out through your mouth. Twice more just like that. Big inhale, long exhale. Once more, big inhale, long exhale. Relax your hands gently back on your thighs and when you’re ready, open your eyes. I hope you feel strong, energetic, and ready to climb any tree you desire!

See also Watch Tara Stiles Prep for The Splits

About Tara Stiles

Tara Stiles Mermaid

Tara Stiles is the founder and owner of Strala Yoga, the movement system that ignites freedom. She is the designer and face of Reebok’s first yoga lifestyle range and has authored two top-selling books, Slim Calm Sexy Yogaand Yoga Cures.

Adapted from Strala Yoga: Be Strong, Focused & Ridiculously Happy from the Inside Outby Tara Stiles (Hay House; August 2, 2016).