Most of us fantasize about having a flat belly. Yoga should be able to help you if stomach toning and fitness are also on your wish list. Here’s everything you’ll need to get started.
Because the core is the wellspring of power throughout the body, powerful abs are more than just a summer goal. Strong abdominal muscles help to support your daily motions, enhance your posture, and stabilize your lower back.
On the mat, powerful abs allow for more efficient movement in each pose. There is strength in moving from your physical center and establishing core strength. Off the mat, this inner source of strength allows you to move through the world with more grace and elegance, and it connects you to your personal power.
These 10 yoga positions for strong abs focus on the important core muscles while also engaging and empowering your total-body strength. We’ll concentrate on toning and strengthening your abs in this series.
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Table of Contents
1. Downward Facing Dog Or Adho Mukha Svanasana
This asana, which is possibly one of the most well-known yoga poses, rejuvenates, stretches, and strengthens practically every area of your body. When you do this pose, you tend to train the muscles in your upper arms, legs, and back – from your shoulders to your hips. A strong back implies a strong core and, as a result, stronger abs. This asana also aids digestion and helps alleviate headaches, backaches, exhaustion, stress, and anxiety.
- Begin by lowering yourself onto your knees and hands on the floor.
- Place your knees hip-width apart and directly beneath your hips. Hands should be shoulder-width apart and slightly forward of your shoulders.
- Exhale and gradually raise your knees off the floor. Your knees should now be straight, but not locked.
- Inhale and raise your sitting bones to form an upside-down “V.”
- Put your hands on the ground.
- Hold the stance for a minute or so, breathing properly throughout.
- Exhale and return to the beginning position by bending and lowering your knees.
2. Plank Poses
Plank postures are an essential aspect of any beginner’s yoga practice. They are, nonetheless, no less potent. Plank postures, in addition to strengthening the spine, shoulders, arms, and wrists, enhance posture and build stamina and core body strength. They engage all of the core muscles, including the abdominals.
They also train your body for more difficult yoga poses. Here are two alternatives to consider. Plank positions, on the other hand, should be avoided by anyone suffering from carpal tunnel syndrome or arm or wrist pain, because the arms and wrists bear the majority of the body weight.
Side plank posture (vasisthasana): This asana develops your obliques as well as your abdominal muscles. These are the muscles on your torso’s sides.
Dolphin plank (makara adho mukha svanasana): This asana tones and strengthens your core, arms, and thighs.
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Plank Pose Or Phalakasana
- Place your hands on your stomach.
- Bring your hands near your shoulders, palms on the floor.
- Inhale and elevate your body such that your back and legs are straight and your shoulders are directly above your wrists. Keep your tailbone from sinking.
- Maintain the posture for 30 seconds, then breathe normally. You can progressively increase the time.
- Exhale and relax by lowering your body to the floor again.
Upward/Inclined Plank Pose Or Purvottanasana
This is an advanced version of the basic plank stance. Aside from strengthening the core, this asana stimulates the thyroid gland, promotes respiration, and stretches the abdominal organs.
- Begin with dandasana, often known as the staff posture. It demands you to sit up straight and stretch your legs out in front of you. Place your palms on the floor, a few inches below your hip, with your fingers pointing forward.
- Lean back and support your body with your hands.
- Inhale and elevate your hips to form a straight line with your upper body, hips, and legs. Reach your toes forward and try to touch the floor. Allow the head to drop back to the floor.
- Hold the posture for a few moments, breathing normally throughout.
- Return to a sitting position by exhaling and lowering your body.
3. Extended Triangle Pose Or Utthita Trikonasana
This standing asana strengthens the core, arms, and legs. It stretches and opens up the spine, chest, shoulders, hips, calves, and groin. To top it all off, utthita trikonasana improves digestion and stimulates the abdominal organs.
- Stand up straight, feet together, and weight properly distributed.
- Exhale and move your feet apart by 3.5-4 feet. Turn your left foot 15 degrees inward and your right foot 90 degrees out. Arrange your feet such that your right heel is parallel to the center of your left foot.
- Inhale and extend your arms to shoulder level, stretching them outward.
- Exhale and take a right bend. Remember to maintain your waist straight and your hips bent. Maintaining a straight line with your arms, place your right arm on your shin, ankle, or the floor outside your right foot, depending on how far you can reach. Extend your left arm toward the sky.
- You can either keep your head in a neutral position or slowly turn it to the left while looking at your left hand.
- Hold the posture for a few seconds while breathing normally.
- Inhale and elevate yourself, lowering your arms and straightening your legs.
- In the end, exhale.
- Repeat the process on the opposite side.
4. Warrior Pose III Or Virabhadrasana III
This potent balancing asana works to strengthen your core muscles, ankles, legs, and shoulders. It tones the abdominal muscles while also improving flexibility, posture, and balance.
- Stand up straight, toes and heels touching.
- Raise your arms over your head, fingers spread.
- Step forward with your right foot, bend at the hips, and swing your body into a “T” position, with your left leg parallel to the floor. Extend your arms parallel to the floor as well.
- Hold the stance for a few seconds, breathing normally and attempting to elevate your left leg higher with each inhale.
- Return to your starting position slowly and repeat the stance with the opposite leg.
While warrior pose III is the most helpful for core strength, you should begin with warrior poses I (virabhadrasana I) and II (virabhadrasana II).
- The first of three warrior poses is Virabhadrasana I. It works your abdominal muscles and hip joint, as well as your arms, legs, and lower back. It improves stamina and prepares you for the essential balance in virabhadrasana III.
- Virabhadrasana II prepares the body for backbends by strengthening the lower core muscles. It strengthens the legs and hips while stretching the groin and shoulders. It is also useful for the cardiovascular system.
5. Boat Pose Or Paripurna Navasana
This asana, also known as naukasana, works practically all of the muscles in your abdominals. It helps to strengthen your hip and abdominal muscles, protect your back, improve digestion, and stimulate your thyroid, prostate, and kidney glands. It is a sitting stance in which you must balance your tailbone and sitting bones.
- Sit on the floor, your legs out in front of you. Maintain a straight back and straight arms by your hips. Put your palms on the floor, fingers pointing forward.
- Exhale after inhaling. Raise your legs by roughly 60 degrees as you exhale. Lean back 30 degrees, being careful not to curve your back. While balancing on the “tripod” of your tailbone and sitting bones, you will form a “V.”
- Simultaneously, lift your arms alongside your legs, palms facing each other and shoulder-width apart. If this isn’t possible at first, keep your hands close to your hips or on the back of your thighs.
- Keep your mouth shut. Hold the stance for around 10-20 seconds while breathing normally, gradually extending the duration you stay in the pose as you become more comfortable.
- Exhale and sit up straight, lowering your legs.
6. Bridge Pose Or Setu Bandha Sarvangasana
This asana engages your core while also strengthening your back and wrists. It has numerous benefits, including stretching your spine, chest, and neck, opening up your lungs, and stimulating your digestive system and thyroid glands. If you are experiencing menstruation or menopausal symptoms, this asana can help. It can also aid with stress and anxiety.
- Lie on your back with your arms alongside your body.
- Fold your knees so that your heels are roughly hip-distance apart and as near to your sitting bones as feasible. Your arms should be parallel to your body, palms facing down.
- Inhale and raise your lower, middle, and upper backs off the ground.
- Roll your shoulders in slowly until your chin meets your chest. Your shoulders, feet, and arms will support your weight.
- Hold the pose for 15-20 seconds to a minute while breathing normally, then exhale gently as you depart the stance.
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7. Dolphin Pose Or Ardha Pincha Mayurasana
This asana strengthens the abdominal muscles while also toning the shoulders and opening up the spine. It is a stress-relieving asana that extends and strengthens the arms and legs.
- Begin by getting down on all fours.
- Lower your forearms slowly to the floor, so that your elbows are directly beneath your shoulders. Raise your knees till they are just beneath your hips.
- Raise your sitting bones toward the ceiling while keeping your heels on the floor.
- Keep your head between your upper arms, not on the floor.
- Hold the position for 5-6 deep breaths.
- Exhale and relax by lowering your knees to the floor.
8. Locust Pose Or Salabhasana
This asana tones the abdominal muscles open the spine and improves posture while strengthening the lower back muscles.
- Lie down on your stomach, arms beside your body, and your forehead on the floor.
- Exhale and lift your head, upper torso, arms, and legs off the ground. Your tummy, lower ribs, and front pelvis will provide support.
- Bring your arms behind your back and combine your hands, interlocking your fingers, to continue further into the posture.
- Straighten your elbows and maintain an elevated upper body, head, and legs. Try to raise them higher with each inhalation. Avoid bending your knees or raising your shoulder to your ears.
- Hold the posture for around 10 seconds. Throughout the position, breathe properly. Exhale and let go.
9. Cobra Pose
The secret of cobra posture (Bhujangasana) is to lift off the mat utilizing your core, therefore strengthening it while keeping your arms light. This asana also increases spine flexibility and is claimed to reduce discomfort caused by menstruation and sciatica.
- Put your hands in line with your chest and lay on your stomach with your knees together and your toes firmly planted in the ground.
- To raise the upper body off the mat, inhale while using your entire core—glutes, abs, and back—to lift. Make sure your shoulders are drawing down, your chest is open, your elbows are near to your body’s sides, and your pelvis is still firmly planted on the mat.
- After holding the position for seven breaths, release it.
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10. Cat Pose Crunches
While the regular cat position (Marjariasana) massages the spine, altering it with a crunch targets the abdomen while also improving balance and attention.
- With your shoulders in line with your wrists and your hips in line with your knees, start out on your hands and knees. The tabletop position is the usual name for this starting posture.
- Lift your right hand off the ground to shoulder height while inhaling. Your fingers should be pointed forward.
- Lift your left leg straight behind you to hip height with your toes pointing down. Engage your core and find your balance.
- Exhale while bending your left knee and right elbow toward your navel, rounding your back and raising your belly up.
- Exhale to crunch, then inhale to return to your starting posture.
- Prior to getting back into the tabletop position, repeat the previous five times on the opposite side.