Sculpt your abs and tone your tummy with yoga! Almost every yoga pose strengthens your core, but here are 7 poses that are sure to fire up your mid-section.
1. Boat Pose (Navasana)
Sit on your mat with your knees bent and feet on the floor. Lean back, tucking your tailbone and pulling your navel towards your spine. Extend your legs out straight, pointing your toes. Your torso and legs should make a V shape. Extend your arms straight. Hold the pose as long as you can, remembering to breathe. For more of a challenge, slowly lift and lower your legs without touching your feet to the ground.
2. Dolphin Plank Pose (Makara Adho Mukha Svanasana)
Start on your hands and knees. Lower down onto your forearms making sure your shoulders are stacked directly on top of your elbows and your forearms are parallel to each other. Tuck your toes and step back with your feet bringing your body into a straight line. Spread your fingers and press into your hands and forearms, spreading your collarbone and making sure your chest does not collapse. Draw your navel towards your spine and keep your hips in line with your body, not allowing them to sink too low. Make sure you are breathing and hold the pose. Extra Challenge For an extra challenge, press up onto your hands, making sure your wrists are directly below your shoulders in a push- up or plank position. Lift your left arm and your right leg so they are parallel to the ground. Hold the pose and breathe. Remember to do the opposite side, lifting the right arm and left leg.
3. Side Plank (Vasisthasana)
Start in plank pose or push-up position. Make sure your wrists are directly below your shoulders. Draw your navel towards your spine and tuck your tailbone. Slowly roll to your right side, transferring the weight in your arms to the right arm, keeping it straight. Stack your left hip on top of the right and your left foot on top of the right foot. Extend your left arm up so it is in a straight line with your right arm. Draw your shoulders down and away from your ears, and lift your hips up so your whole body is in a straight line. Hold the pose as long as you can while breathing, then switch sides.
4. Chair Pose (Utkatasana)
Stand at the front of your mat with your feet together and firmly rooted into the ground. Lift your arms so they are straight up next to your ears, palms facing in toward each other. Pull your shoulders down so there is some space between your biceps and ears. Slowly bend your knees moving your thighs towards being parallel to the ground. Shift the weight onto your heels and lift through your heart drawing your tailbone to the floor to keep your back straight. Hold the pose and breathe.
5. Scissor Crunches
Lay flat on your back. Pull your head and shoulder blades off the ground. Keeping your upper back and head off the ground, lift your arms and rest your palms on the back of your head, being careful not to put too much pressure on your head causing your neck to curl forward. Lift both of your legs a few inches off the ground, keeping both legs straight and engaging your core. Keep your right leg a few inches off the ground and raise your left leg so it is perpendicular to the ground. Twist your upper body towards the lifted left leg, keeping your elbows wide. Then switch legs and twist the other direction. 6
. 6. Side Angle Pose Variation (Parsvakonasana)
Start standing at the front of your mat. Put your hands on your hips and step your left foot back, keeping the left leg straight and your toes pointed towards the long edge of your mat. Bend the right knee, keeping it over the right ankle, toes pointed straight forward. Your right heel should be in line with the arch of your left foot. Your right thigh should be working towards being parallel to the ground. Lengthen your spine and lean out over your right thigh, resting your right forearm on your thigh. Stack your left hip on top of the right. Bring your shoulders down away from your ears and extend your left arm overhead. Slowly extend your right arm up so it’s parallel to your left. This is an intense pose, so remember to breathe through the pose, and always do the other side.
7. Standing Back Bend (Anyvittasana)
Start by standing at the front of your mat, feet together, weight evenly distributed. Inhale your arms up, relax your shoulders down and away from your ears. Engage your thighs and core and gently start pushing your hips forward and bending backwards from the torso. Keep your gaze up at your hands. Hold for a few breaths and return to neutral. This is a good one to do at the end of your ab workout because it’s a big torso stretch.
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