1. Dolphin Plank
Even yogis love elbow planks, but we call them something else. An elbow plank by any other name will still work your abs.
- From Downward Facing Dog, inhale and shift your weight forward coming into plank position (top of a push-up). Exhale as you lower onto your forearms so that your shoulders are stacked directly above your elbows and your body is parallel with the floor.
- Dolphin Plank is an intense pose, so if you can’t hold for five breaths, lower one or both knees to the floor.
2. Intense East
Do you know by just simply facing your belly up to the sky can help work on your abs too? Pulling your low abs up and in while arching your spine makes this pose feel easier.
- From a seated position with your legs extended straight out in front of you, place your hands behind your hips about six to eight inches, with your fingers pointing toward your toes. As you inhale, press into your hands and feet firmly, lifting your hips into the air. Lift them as high as you can so your spine is in a long line. Slowly release your head back, looking behind you, and open through your throat.
- Stay here in Intense East pose for five deep breaths, then lower your hips to the floor.
- Stand on your shins with your knees hips-width distance apart.
- Lean back, and place your hands on your heels, arching back and allowing the head to fall between the shoulder blades.
- Continue to press the hips forward to engage the abs, thighs, and tush, enjoying this pose for five breaths.
4. Warrior 3
Balancing on one leg really challenges your core! If you’re not using your abs to stabilize in this pose, you’ll likely tip over. Here’s how to find your inner warrior.
- Stand with your feet together. Inhale as you extend your arms out wide in T position or straight overhead for a more advanced variation.
- Exhale as you bend forward at your hips, lifting your right leg straight behind you coming into Warrior 3. Draw your navel toward your spine, and hold for five breaths. Then come to stand, lower your right leg, and repeat with the left leg lifted for another five.
5. Balancing Star
This pose is similar to a side plank but in a more balanced way that trains up both your core and arms. Your obliques will certainly feel the challenge while you balance in this starry pose.
- Begin in Downward Facing Dog, and step both feet together. Move your right hand to the left about six inches so it’s at the upper center of your mat. Step your right foot forward two inches, and plant the sole of your right foot firmly on the mat, so your toes are pointing away from you. Inhale as you roll open to your right side, and lift your left hand off the mat. Raise your left leg up into the air.
- Gaze at your lifted hand, and hold Balancing Star for five breaths. Keeping your core engaged will help you stay balanced. Repeat this pose on the other side.
Boat pose is the go-to move for abs in yoga. It really challenges all four layers of your abdominals, similar to the Balance Point in Pilates. Get ready for some smooth sailing.
- Sit on the floor with your legs in front of you. Bend your knees, and lift your legs off the floor, bringing your knees in toward your chest with your shins parallel to the floor. Sit up as tall as you can, and take a breath in as you slowly begin to straighten your legs. Your legs don’t need to be straight since the action of keeping your spine long and drawing your belly in is what works your abs here.
- Hold Boat pose for five breaths.
Do you know that a crow requires core strength more than arm?It’s really about your core! Thinking of this as an ab exercise can help you hone in on the balance needed to maintain this pose.
- Begin in a squat, placing your hands shoulder-width distance apart on the mat. Spread your fingers as wide as you can, creating a strong, stable base. Straighten your legs slightly, placing your knees as high up onto your triceps (back of your arms) as possible. Slowly shift weight into your palms and lift your feet off the ground.
- Stay here for five breaths gazing at the floor in front of you.