Yoga is an excellent way to strengthen your abdominals. Most yoga workouts ask you to keep your core muscles actively engaged throughout the routine. Holding your abs in gives you stability and improves your posture. Using yoga for toning your abs is a great way to get that six-pack look you crave for.
The following yoga poses are great to engage your core muscles. You can introduce them in your daily routine by holding each pose for 30 seconds.
1. Boat Pose
Image Credits: Boat Pose
Once you’ve stepped back to Downward Facing Dog, gently lower your knees to the mat, and come to sit on your bottom. Bend your knees, and lift your feet off the floor, balancing on your tush.
Keep the spine long, and straighten your legs as much as you can without rounding your back. If this is too hard, keep your knees bent — you’re still working your core.
Hold for five complete breaths.
2. Plank Pose
Image Credits: Plank Pose
Begin in an elbow plank position with the abs engaged.
Draw the left knee into the chest. Then step the foot back to the elbow plank position. Now draw the right knee into the chest and then step it back to the elbow plank position.
This counts as one rep.
Continue alternating sides and complete as many reps as you can in a minute.
3. Dolphin Plank Pose
Image Credits: Dolphin Plank Pose
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.
4. Side Plank Pose
Image Credits: Side Plank Pose
From Bow Pose, plant your hands on the mat, and push back into Downward Facing Dog. Step both feet together so your big toes are touching. Now move your left hand over to the left about six inches, so it’s at the upper center of your mat.
Step your left foot forward two inches, and plant the sole of your left foot firmly on the mat so your toes are pointing to the right.
Then roll over to your left side and lift your right hand off the mat, coming into a Side Plank. Lift your right leg up, and stay here balancing. Try to keep your shoulders, spine, and hips in one straight line. If it feels comfortable, look up toward the ceiling.
Engage your right fingertips to take some pressure off of your wrists. Stay here for at least five deep breaths, trying to keep your core strong and the pose steady.
5. Extended Side Angle Pose
Image Credits: Extended Side Angle Pose
Begin on your mat in Downward Facing Dog. Step your right foot forward between your hands and rise up into Warrior 1. Open your hips, arms, and chest into Warrior 2.
Place your right hand on the ground behind your right foot (on the little toe side). Extend your left arm straight up, turning your palm down, so your thumb is pointing behind you.
Stay here for five breaths. Come back to Down Dog and repeat this pose on the left side.
6. Half Moon Pose
Image Credits: Half Moon Pose
From Warrior 2, place your left hand on your left hip and stretch your right arm straight out, creating length through the right side of your body. Shift weight onto your right foot, and lift your left foot up.
Distribute your weight evenly between your right hand and foot. Lift your left arm up, and gaze toward your left hand. Hold for five breaths.
7. Upward Facing Dog Pose
Image Credits: Upward Facing Dog Pose
Lie on your stomach with your forehead down and the tops of your feet on the mat. Bend your elbows, place your hands alongside your rib cage and drag your palms back toward your waist until your lower arms are relatively perpendicular to the floor.
8. Warrior I Pose
Image Credits: Warrior I Pose
Inhale, bring right leg up and back, and exhale bringing right foot forward to right thumb. Press the outer edge of your back foot down and out to a 45 degree angle and come up, arms overhead. Square hips forward, arms reaching up to sky, shoulders away from ears, and gazing straight ahead.
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