Eight yoga exercises to tighten your torso, trim belly fat, and create eye-popping abs
1. WARM-UP: RECLINING BIG TOE HOLD (SUPTA PADANGUSTASANA)
Lie flat on your back, legs extended, feet flexed, and arms at your sides, palms facing down. Bend your left leg into your chest, pulling the shin with both hands. Then grab your left big toe with your first two fingers and thumb of your left hand and lengthen the leg as much as you can while keeping both shoulders and hips on the floor. Next, wrap your right hand around the outside of left foot, shift your hips to the left, and extend your left leg across your body, reaching for the floor. Your hip will lift, but keep both shoulders on the floor. Reach that leg as far as your can, then turn your head and look over your left shoulder. Hold for five to seven breaths. Gently lift your leg, lower it back down to the floor, and repeat on the opposite side.
2. BOAT POSE (NAVASANA), VARIATION
Tones rectus abdominis and obliques
Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet on the floor. Pressing your belly to the floor, lift your head, chest, shoulders and arms as you extend your legs. Press the inner edges of your feet together, spread your toes, and draw the outer edges of your feet back, to stabilize your legs. Raise your left arm overhead, while twisting your torso to the left. Reach across your body to the left with your right arm.
3.BRIDGE POSE (SETU BANDHA SARVANGASANA), VARIATION
Tones glutes and back
Lie flat, heels hip-width apart, knees over ankles, arms alongside your body on the floor. Raise your pelvis up as you draw your tailbone toward your heels and your inner thighs toward each other. Press arms into the floor to lift spine up, leaving your shoulders, heads and feet in contact with the floor.
4. BRIDGE POSE (SETU BANDHA SARVANGASANA), VARIATION
Lift your right foot off floor with the knee bent, drawing it toward your face. Straighten the right leg in the air. With the right foot, draw small circles clockwise and counter-clockwise. Replace your right foot next to your left one. Release your spine lowering one vertebra at time. Repeat with the other leg.
5. BELLY CRUNCH AND HALF BOAT
Tones rectus abdominis and transverse abdominis
Lie down and cross your right ankle over your left knee. Wrap your hands behind the left knee and pull it toward your chest for thread the needle (aka reclining pigeon pose). Place your hands behind your head, elbows pointing away from each other.
6. BELLY CRUNCH AND HALF BOAT
Keeping your right ankle over your left knee, extend your left leg. Contract your abs as your draw your upper body and left leg slightly off the ground towards the left. Your left elbow will drop towards the floor. Switch sides, twisting your torso to the right and keeping legs the same. Go back and forth between left and right sides before switching the cross of your legs and repeating.
7. LEG CLIMB
Tones rectus abdominis
Lying flat on your back with legs straight, bend your left leg to your chest and raise it straight into the air. Hold the back of your thigh with your left hand. Activate your left leg,pushing forward with your thigh and pushing back with your hand. Press your grounded right leg into the floor, toes flexed.
8. LEG CLIMB
Now tighten the belly, lift the upper body, and try to climb up the leg, one hand over the other, without throwing the leg forward. It’s as if you’re climbing an imaginary ladder or rope. Climb until you’re sitting tall on the sit bones. Climb down and repeat with the other leg.
Modification: You can bend the extended leg until you’re strong and supple enough to do it with the leg straight.
9. MERMAID POSE
Lie on your left side, arms stretched and extended overhead together, so that your body is one straight line. Rest your head on your left arm. Lift your legs in the air, and then raise your arms and torso as high you can. Engage your legs from the toes up and pull your stomach in. ”When you activate your quads to lift the thighs, it makes your legs lighter,” Lindsay says. Hold for five breaths. Then repeat on the other side.
10. PLANK POSE, VARIATION
Tones transverse abdominis
Start on all fours and make sure wrists are in line under shoulders. Hold your body away from the floor in plank pose, keeping your heels, butt, spine, shoulders, neck, and head in one line. Lift your left leg off the floor, then carefully raise your right hand, reaching it straight out in front of you. Switch sides, lifting the right leg and left arm.
11. SIDE PLANK POSE (VASISTHASANA)
Tones obliques and quadtratus lumborum
Begin in plank pose. Move your right hand slightly forward of your shoulder. Then spin to the outside edge of your right foot, so that your left foot stacks on top. Lift hips, not letting them sink toward the floor.
Lift your left arm in air, making a long line with the right arm. Press right hand firmly into floor to engage triceps and upper back. Squeeze ribs inward and squeeze upper (left) ribs down while lengthening right ribs to engage the quadtratus lumborum (an important deep hip muscle that, when weak, has been linked to lower back pain.) Energize the arms and legs equally, tailbone down.
12. REVOLVED ABDOMINAL
Lying on your back, bring your knees together to the left, hovering above the floor, and stack your ankles. Reach your arms out slightly lower than shoulder height to engage upper back. Look up toward the ceiling. Hold legs hovering and roll the right ribs toward the floor to make as much contact with the floor as possible.
14. REVOLVED ABDOMINAL
Repeat on the other side.
Source: Women’s Health