Top 5 Yoga Poses for Strong Abs

 

Yoga is one of the best ways to build a stronger core. That includes your abdominal muscles as well as your obliques and low back. A strong core is key for a healthy back and overall strength and fitness.

Many yoga poses will build your ab muscles, but which ones are the best? Check out this step-by-step list of the correct way to perform the top 5.

Plank Pose (Phalakasana)

1. Start in push-up position with your shoulders aligned over your wrists and your body in one straight line from head to heels. Don't allow your hips to sag or pike up. 

2. Contract your core muscles and slightly tuck your pelvis. 

3. Expand across your upper back by pressing through your palms and puffing up slightly between the shoulder blades. 

4. Hold the pose for 5 to 10 seconds or as long as you can without breaking your form while taking long, slow breaths. 

Tip: You can make this pose easier by putting your knees on the ground. Keep your hips in line with your shoulders. 

Side Plank Pose (Vasisthasana)

1. Start in push-up position. Transfer your weight to your right and and roll over onto the outside of your right foot, stacking your left hip on top of your right and your left foot on top of your right. 

2. Lift your hips up toward the ceiling so your body is in one straight line and your hips aren't sagging toward the floor. 

3. Press up through your bottom hand to extend through the shoulder, and raise the left arm up toward the ceiling. 

4. Hold the pose for 5 to 10 seconds or as long as you can without breaking your form while taking long, slow breaths.

5. Come back to plank pose and switch sides.

Tip: Make this pose easier by placing your bottom knee on the ground. 

Boat Pose (Navasana)

1. Sit with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor. 

2. Elongate your spine, then lean back so your hips and thighs create a V-shape. Contract your core muscles.

3. Extend your arms in front of you, and lift your feet off the floor, balancing on your sit bones. 

4. Lift your shins to parallel with the ground, or higher, as long as you can maintain a flat lower back. As soon as your lower back begins to round, you have gone too far. 

5. Hold for 5 to 10 seconds while taking long, slow breaths. 

Tip: The higher you lift your legs, the harder it is. Beginners can leave their toes on the ground or place their fingertips on either side of their hips for support. 

Upward Plank Pose (Purvottanasana)

1. Begin seated with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. 

2. Place your hands just behind your hips, fingers facing towards you. 

3. Press through your feet and hands to lift your hips up. Keep your legs straight and press your toes down to get your feet flat on the floor. 

4. Keep your hips lifted so your body is in one straight line. Hold for 5 to 10 seconds while taking slow breaths. 

Tip: This is an advanced pose that takes some time to achieve. Start by leaving the knees bent at a 90-degree angle and lifting the hips as far as you can. You can also leave the fingers turned out if having them pointing in is too much for your shoulders.

Extended Triangle Pose (Utthita Trikonasana)

1. From mountain pose, take a big step back with your right foot. Turn your right foot out 90 degrees and open your chest to the right. 

2. Extend your arms out to the side parallel to the shoulders. Lean forward and begin to hinge at the left hip. Tilt your torso until your left hand reaches your shin, your foot or your mat. Extend your right arm straight up toward the ceiling. 

3. Keep your torso open to the right and your shoulders aligned. Lengthen through the crown of your head, and maintain a long, straight spine.

4. Hold for 5 to 20 breaths, then switch sides. 

Tip: You can make this more of a core challenge by lifting your bottom arm and extending it alongside your ear. Use your core strength to keep your torso parallel with the floor. 

What's your favorite yoga post for strengthening your abs? 

This article was written by health and fitness expert and PIXIBU founder Jody Braverman, PN1, NASM-CPT, NASM-FNS, RYT 200.

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