If you were to ask people what their idea of the perfect physique is, more often than not, one of the first answers that came from their mouths would be ‘chiselled abs’ or something very similar. Basically, a flat stomach with six pack abdominal muscles is very desirable, yet very few of us are able to achieve such an impressive physique. When we think of a chiselled mid-section, we think of intense cardio workouts, and countless sit ups and stomach crunches. In reality, a set of chiselled abs can actually be obtained by something as relaxed and slow-paced as yoga. Here’s a look at several yoga positions which specifically target the abs and mid-section.
Cat Pose Crunches
Rather than traditional crunches for the stomach, why not try these cat pose crunches instead? Begin by getting down onto your hands and knees to form a table top pose. Next, place your knees under your hips and your hands under the shoulders, bring your lower abdomen up and engage the core. Now, reach forwards with the right arm at shoulder height, and rotate the palm. Bring your left heel back, and slowly bring your right elbow down so that it touches your left elbow. Slowly bring the leg backwards, and repeat for as many reps as required.
Lay down flat on your back, interlock your fingers and place your hands behind your neck, and slowly lift both legs up so that they are in a tabletop position. Your knees should be bent and at a 90 degree angle. Slowly raise your shoulders and your head, making sure to keep your core engaged and your legs nice and still. You should feel a deep stretch in your abs every time you try to sit up. Hold for a second, and then slowly lay back down to the initial starting position. Repeat for as many reps as required.
Crow Pose Rolls
This next exercise/pose is not for beginners, but it sure is effective. To do this pose/movement, begin by sitting upright so that you are resting on your tailbone, with your toes pointing towards the ground and your knees bent. Now, slowly roll forwards so that your elbows are resting on your knees. Now, using power from your core, slowly roll backwards so that your shoulders both touch the floor. The key here is to keep your arms in the exact same position at the start and finish of the exercise. They should not move the entire time. Again, repeat for as many reps as required.
The tree pose may look simple to perform, and it may be relatively simple to master, but that doesn’t make it any less effective for targeting the core muscles. The reason it is so effective is because your core stabilizer muscles work overtime trying to keep you stable while standing on one leg. Begin by shifting your weight onto your right leg, bringing your left leg up towards your chest. Grab onto your ankle and firmly press the flat of your left leg onto the thigh of your right leg. You may wobble, so grab your ankle if you do feel as if you may lose balance. Once you are stable, slowly bring both palms together so that they are touching in front of your chest. Engage your core and really focus on bringing them in tight towards your spine. Stare straight ahead, and hold the pose for a count of 10. Slowly return to the initial starting position, and repeat by swapping legs.
This pose is awesome for working your back, your abs, and even your thighs. To perform this pose you should begin by kneeling down on the floor, with knees shoulder-width apart. Next, tuck your toes under your feet and extend both of your arms out directly in front of you, so that they are in front of your chest. Make sure that your palms are facing the ground. Now, slowly bring your chest up and press your pelvis forwards as you begin to hinge backwards. You should ever-so-slightly arch your lower back. Now, hold for a second, pause, and really concentrate on keeping the ribcage down as you open up your chest. Your belly button should also be drawn as close in towards your spine as you can possibly get it. You should now begin to feel a deep stretch in the core. Hold for a few seconds and then slowly return to the initial starting position. Repeat for a minimum of 10 reps.