Strengthen your abdominals with these yoga poses.
A strong core is an essential part of a successful yoga practice. You will need a strong core in order to practice more advanced poses, like a headstand. Core exercises are also a great way to improve your overall balance and posture. Building and maintaining strong abdominal muscles will not only feel great, but will make you look great, too! Incorporate these five yoga poses into your routine for a strong core and a healthy back, and a body that’s ready for that summer wardrobe.
By Charmie Stryker
Start on your hands and knees with a neutral spine. As you extend your right leg out, engage your core and find your balance. Then extend your left arm forward. Stay in this balance for a full breath and as you exhale, activate your core, press away from the ground, and crunch knee to opposite elbow. Do 5 reps on this side and repeat on the other side.
Start in a high plank, hands planted on the mat shoulder-with apart. As you exhale, keep your spine long and elbows close to the body. Hover one leg off the ground, and lower halfway down to a low push-up position. As you inhale, rise back up to high plank and repeat on the other side. Keep your core engaged the entire time to protect your lower back.
Knee to Elbow
Starting in plank position, extend your right leg straight behind you. As you exhale, shift forward and bring your right knee to your right elbow and hold. Inhale to extend your right leg back behind you and as you exhale, shift forward and bring your right knee to the opposite elbow for a twist. Hold here and press away from your mat, keeping spine long and core activated. Do 5 reps per side.
Start lying flat on your back with both legs straight into the air. Lower your left leg down to a hover. As you exhale, lift your torso towards your right leg, reaching your arms past your leg until your fingertips touch behind your hamstrings. Hold this position for a full breath, exhale as you lower and repeat on the other side. Do this rep at least 5 times (one rep = both sides).
Start sitting with your knees hugged into your chest. Engage your core and maintain a tall spine. Then extend your arms out to the side. You can keep your knees bent, or you can straighten your legs for more of a challenge. As you exhale, start to lower your body down to a hover, keeping your spine long. As you inhale, use the strength of your core to lift back to the starting position. Hold for a breath, and then lower once more. Repeat for a total of 10 reps.
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All images courtesy of YogiApproved.com.