Strengthen Your Core and Spine with These Intermediate Yoga Poses

Strengthen Your Core and Spine with These Intermediate Yoga Poses


Yoga is awesome for strengthening the core and aligning the spine. Find poses that suit your physical level. Here are some great intermediate poses:

  • Remember a few things before you start. Get yourself a yoga mat or blanket. Warm up with mountain pose or cat/cow pose.
  • Set an intention and take deep breaths between poses.
  • Stay mindful of sensations. Don’t push yourself beyond what feels comfortable.

Core Strengthening Poses

A healthy spine needs a strong core. Good posture and balance come with it. Yoga offers beginners poses for core strengthening. This article gives intermediate poses to go up a level. These poses target muscles in the spine, sides, back and abs.


Plank pose is for those at an intermediate level of yoga. It’s great for stretching, strengthening, and stabilizing the core muscles. These muscles are the abs, back muscles, and hip flexors. This pose has multiple variations. Use it for warming up, or for more intense core strengthening.

Start by standing, feet hip-distance apart. Inhale and lift your chest, without rounding it forward. Engage your core without swaying in the lower back. Press the feet into the floor, draw the shoulder blades towards each other, and keep them down towards the tailbone.

Lower your body onto the forearms. Straighten out the legs until you reach a low plank position with hips right above the elbows. Keep the spine long and the shoulders broad, to protect the neck and lower back.

Focus on pressing the palms firmly into the floor. Keep the body parallel to the floor while curving the belly button up towards the spine. Hold for 5-10 breaths, then release. Push off the hands and come into downward facing dog. Exhale and go back to standing.

Advanced practitioners can try single-leg planking. Or, use forearm blocks or a bolster for support when starting out.

Side Plank

Side plank is a yoga pose that strengthens your core. It can be adapted for beginners and experts to make it more or less challenging. It tones and strengthens your abdominal muscles and spine, improving your posture and balance. It also helps you with range of motion in your shoulder girdle, arms, and legs.

To practice side plank safely, start by lying on one side with feet together and hips stacked directly over shoulders. Prop up onto your elbow. Roll your bottom hip away from ribs and press fingertips or hand into the floor beside your waist to come into a straight line.

  • Keep a slight lift in your spine by tucking your tailbone back towards your feet while pressing strong through your forearm and hand alongside your waist.
  • Contract your abs while lifting your hips higher off the ground. Feel tension throughout your torso, like a bridge. Reach further away from the floor towards the ceiling. Use scapular press strength from your shoulder instead of crunching your vertebrae together with abs strength only.
  • Hold for 5-10 breaths. Then, slowly lower your legs down on the mat still engaging abs as you come out of the pose. Swap sides and press back into side planks other way.

Boat Pose

Boat Pose (Naukasana) is an advanced yoga pose. It helps improve body balance and strengthens the abs, obliques, and lower back.

To do it, start by sitting on the floor with legs together and feet flexed. Exhale and lift your feet off the floor at a 45-degree angle. Draw your abdomen inward and upward. Your arms should reach forward and gaze ahead. For a more intense workout, extend arms up towards the ceiling. For extra support, try bending one knee at 90 degrees while keeping the other extended. At all times, keep your core engaged as you hold the pose for 15-60 seconds. Inhale deeply through your nose to relax tension in the neck and shoulders. When you are done, gently lower your feet back down to the mat and exhale until you are seated again in the original position.

Bridge Pose

Bridge Pose (Setu Bandha Sarvangasana) is an intermediate level backbend yoga pose. It strengthens the core and spine muscles. It balances between effort and ease, encouraging a heart-opening effect. This pose can also help reduce lower back and hip pain. Plus, it reduces stress levels, mental fatigue, and promotes relaxation in the body.

Start by lying down with knees bent and feet flat. Draw your shoulders away from the ears toward your hips. Press the feet firmly into the ground and lift your hips up to press into Bridge Pose. Clasp hands together beneath you for support. Hold this position for five breaths. Increase the time as you become stronger.

As you strengthen your core, focus on lifting equally across each side of the chest. Increase spinal mobility with each breath cycle. Feel spaciousness throughout the torso and legs. Stay alert and engage in conscious breathing. This creates an opportunity to root into stillness. To come out of bridge pose, release hands from beneath and roll off vertebrae one-at-a-time. End with resting savasana/corpse pose.

Spine Strengthening Poses

Yoga is great for your spine! It can help you with posture and make your body more flexible. Intermediate poses are perfect for building strength and stability. This leads to better body alignment and a stronger core.

Here are some intermediate-level poses for spine strengthening. Give them a try!


Cat-Cow is a yoga exercise that strengthens and increases spinal flexibility. It’s made up of two different postures: Cat Pose (Marjariasana) and Cow Pose (Bitilasana). With both poses, your spine is gently extended in different directions, which helps the spine stay healthy.

To begin, sit on a comfortable yoga mat on all fours. Make sure your hands are under your shoulders and that your knees are in line with your hips. Notice any tension or stiffness in your back, neck, or shoulders.

Inhale deeply, arching up into Cow Pose. Engage your core muscles, press down on the palms, and lift your chin and chest towards the sky. Feel the tension leaving your body. Exhale and release into Cat Pose. Round out your spine towards the tailbone and press into your feet and palms. Tuck your chin towards your chest for best results.

Do this back and forth between Cat-Cow for 15-20 repetitions. To modify, go slowly or stay in one pose longer before transitioning. After finishing this set, relax in Child’s Pose (Balasana) for deeper restoration. Then you can start other strengthening exercises or standing postures.

Locust Pose

Locust Pose, or Salabhasana, is a great yoga pose to gain strength in your core and spine. It’s an intermediate asana, so if you’re not experienced with yoga, it’s best to seek instruction from a qualified teacher.

Start in supine position on the floor, with arms by your sides and palms down. Draw your navel inward and relax your chest and stomach muscles. Inhale and press down through your feet, lifting each vertebra one-by-one off the floor. Keep your knees hip-width apart and pull them together when pushing up, holding strong abdominal muscles for support. Hold the pose for several breaths and slowly lower each vertebra onto the floor until you’re back in prone position.

Locust Pose is great for strengthening various muscles, increasing flexibility and aiding digestion. However, if you feel any pain or discomfort, stop and consult a professional instructor for guidance.

Cobra Pose

Cobra Pose (Bhujangasana) is a great backbend for beginners to intermediate levels. It stretches your front body and strengthens your spine, hips, and glutes. To get the most out of it, combine with breathing techniques to relax your spine and prevent harm.

Start by lying face down on your mat. Place your hands under your shoulders, legs hip-width apart, feet pressing firmly down. Inhale and press through your palms. Lift your head and chest off the ground. Look straight ahead or slightly up at the ceiling, with a relaxed jaw and a soft smile. Notice how you feel within the pose before deepening or softening it.

Press down on your feet and palms while engaging your upper back muscles. Inhale deeply for three-to-five counts. Hold it for two breaths. Then, exhale as you lower all the way until both hands are flat on the floor, forehead resting gently.

Incorporate this backbend regularly in your practice. It strengthens and tones spinal muscles and improves posture. Plus, it can help release tight shoulder muscles and tension headaches from too much screen time. It also brings positive energy to your whole being – perfect for mid-afternoon energy crashes!

Finally, let go of all tension in Savasana and return to your daily activities feeling recharged and renewed.

Upward-Facing Dog

Urdhva Mukha Svanasana, or Upward-Facing Dog, is an intermediate yoga pose. It helps strengthen the core, spine, arms, wrists, abdomen, and back. It also relieves fatigue.

Start in a tabletop position on hands and knees, with hands near shoulders and knees below hips. Arms should be extended while inhaling and press firmly into palms. Engage legs with slight lift of kneecaps. Contract abdominal muscles and lengthen through to crown of head.

Inhale, creating space between each vertebrae. Press into palms lifting up through tailbone. Draw shoulder blades towards one another. Elbows straighten out, without strain or pushing too hard.

In full Upward-Facing Dog, integrate spine from tailbone to crown of head. Lift shoulder blades up towards one another. Mentally scan to check alignment from neck to ankles. Check hips are not sinking lower than shoulders. If they are, slightly bend elbows, allowing more lift through heart centre.

Relish in this posture for up to 10 breaths. Take mental notes of how it affects muscles and body. Then, slowly glide back down, pressing onto knees. Gently rest before repeating cycle, if appropriate for practice or ability level.

Cool Down

Session’s over? Cool down! It’s vital to regulate your body. Cooling reduces the strain on muscles, aiding recovery. Here’s a few yoga poses for core and spine strengthening whilst cooling:

Child’s Pose

Child’s Pose is an intermediate yoga pose that stretches your back and strengthens your core. Knees on the ground, tops of feet touching. Bend forward at the hips until forehead is comfortable on the ground. Palms beside you, facing up. Use props if needed.

This posture elongates and stretches the spine and lower back, allowing more freedom in backbends. To stretch abs and release lower back tension, draw in to Baby Cobra. Deeper breath. Gently rise onto hands, head relaxed on floor. Strengthens abs. Releases lower back tension.

Corpse Pose

Corpse Pose, or Shavasana, is an important part of yoga. It helps to transition the body and mind from one pose or activity to the next. It relaxes the body, mind, and emotions and can help with stress and physical conditions like fatigue or tension.

Practice Corpse Pose for at least five minutes before ending your yoga session. Lay on your back with your arms away from the body and palms facing up. Allow your feet to fall outwards to either side with toes slightly inward. Close your eyes and take deep breaths in and out through the nose. With each exhale, release tension within your body. Continue until you feel stillness. Acknowledge any thoughts that arise and bring yourself back to stillness. Don’t push past comfortability; practice self-care. When ready, slowly open both eyes, wiggle fingers and toes, then come out of the pose gently.


Yoga is great for building core and spine strength. With regular practice, these core-strengthening poses can help with stability, flexibility, and posture. They can also reduce stress, sharpen focus, boost energy, and improve sleep.

Overall, it offers many benefits:

  • Better breathing
  • Spine flexibility
  • Balance
  • Connection with oneself

It’s best to practice with a teacher, especially when you try poses harder than the basics. Put in effort and stay consistent, and you may find better alignment!

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is the core in yoga?

The core in yoga refers to the muscles in the abdomen, lower back, and pelvis that stabilize the spine and support the body during movement.

2. What are some intermediate yoga poses that can strengthen the core and spine?

Intermediate yoga poses that can strengthen the core and spine include plank pose, boat pose, warrior III pose, side plank pose, and upward-facing dog pose.

3. How often should I practice these intermediate yoga poses?

You can practice these intermediate yoga poses for 10-15 minutes a day, three to four times a week to strengthen the core and spine.

4. Can I modify these intermediate yoga poses if I have a pre-existing condition?

Yes, if you have a pre-existing condition or injury, you can modify these intermediate yoga poses by using props like blocks or straps or by doing an easier variation of the pose.

5. How long should I hold these intermediate yoga poses?

You can hold each intermediate yoga pose for 5-10 breaths or as long as you feel comfortable. Gradually increase the hold time as you get stronger.

6. Can strengthening the core and spine with yoga poses improve my posture?

Absolutely! Strengthening the core and spine with yoga poses can help improve posture by aligning the spine and improving balance and stability.

the back recovery program by alex larsson
Jane Smith is a natural health enthusiast on a mission to uncover effective methods for achieving pain-free living. Through her personal journey with chronic back pain, she has become well-versed in holistic approaches such as yoga, Pilates, and essential oils.

Related Articles