If you want killer abs to show off by summer, do these yoga poses.
Now is the time to take action if you want to have a lean, toned core in time for swimsuit season. The good news is you don’t have to spend all day at the gym to strengthen those abs. Yoga is the perfect tool to help build that strength. Most yoga poses require the use of your abdominal muscles for stability and balance, so if you practice daily, you’ll see (and feel) the results in no time.
The yoga poses below will improve core strength, help reduce strain on the spine and prevent injuries by improving posture and balance. Incorporate these poses into your daily routine to get a killer core by summer!
By Jessie Benson
Start on your hands and knees in Tabletop Pose, and align your wrists directly under your shoulders. Come to the balls of your feet as you extend your legs behind you, lifting your knees off the mat (it looks like the top of a push-up). Slightly tuck your tailbone to activate muscles in the lower belly. Engage the muscles in your legs, lifting up through the quads to keep your body strong. Keep your core strong to prevent hips from sagging down or picking up.
2. Dolphin Pose
From Plank Pose drop your forearms to the mat, keeping your wrist in line with your elbow and palm on the earth. Keep elbows directly under the shoulders Lift your hips towards the sky, and walk your toes in towards your face, like a Downward Facing Dog, on your forearms. For more intensity, lift hips above the shoulders and relax your heels toward the ground.
3. Dolphin Pose with Leg Lift
Start in Dolphin Pose. Walk your feet in towards your elbows to align your hips over your shoulders (or at least as much as possible!). Lift your head just enough to maintain a neutral neck – don’t look too far forward or back. Alternate lifting each leg toward the sky.
4. Star Plank
From Plank Pose, shift your weight onto one hand and transition into Side Plank. For less pressure on your wrists, drop down to your forearm for a Side Forearm Plank. Stack your top leg on top of bottom, and slowly lift your top leg away from the bottom leg. To modify the pose, simply drop to the bottom knee or keep the legs together.
5. Upward Facing Plank Pose
Begin seated on your mat with legs extended long in front of you. Bring your hands behind you, palms flat on the mat under your shoulders with your fingers facing your body. Lift hips upwards and allow feet to fall towards the floor, pressing flat on the ground if possible.
6. Half Bow-Half Locust
Start lying flat on your belly and reach one hand back. Grab a hold of the ankle on that same side. Extend the opposite arm straight out in front of you. As you lift your chest off the ground, press your foot into your hand and lift up into a Half Bow Pose. Simultaneously lift the opposite leg and arm into a Half Locust Pose.
7. Twisting Boat Pose
From Boat Pose keep your shins parallel to the floor and knees bent (for a more advanced variations you can straighten the legs). Hold Boat Pose for one breath with arms extended straight out in front of you. Twist to one side, opening your arms wide. Come back to center and repeat on opposite side.
8. Floating Triangle Pose
Begin in Triangle Pose and extend the bottom arm straight out in front of you. Bring the top arm over your head, with your bicep close to your ear. Imagine holding a giant beach ball over your head.
9. Chair Pose
From Mountain Pose, bend your knees and lower your thighs to be parallel with the floor. Sit your hips straight back as if sitting into a chair. Keep arms extended overhead and torso long as you reach your tailbone down toward the floor and crown of head up to the sky. Keep your core engaged (imagine drawing your belly button in towards your spine).
10. Warrior III
From Mountain Pose extend your fingertips above your head. Draw one knee towards your chest. Begin to kick your lifted foot behind you. Reach your hands forward in front of you. Imagine making a capital “T” shape with your body; your torso and extended leg should be parallel to the floor.
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All images courtesy of YogiApproved.com.