Top 5 Yoga Ab exercises for a Stronger Core
Yoga provides a range of benefits from improved mental health to increased flexibility, but a lesser known use for yoga is for strengthening the abdominals. Try these top 5 yoga abdominal exercises for a stronger core and better balance in your practice.
Top Five Yoga Abdominal Exercises
1.) Boat Pose
Boat pose is seated yoga exercise that strengthens the abs and the thighs. It is also therapeutic for digestion and stress.
Starting Position: Sit down and bring your knees to your chest. Extend your lower legs so that are parallel to the floor. Lean back approximately 50 degrees, or almost halfway to the floor. Hold your arms straight and grasp the sides of your thighs behind the knees.
Action: Straighten your legs if you can and maintain a straight spine. Let go of your legs and hold your arms in place. Breathe through your nose and remain in the position for 30 to 60 seconds.
2.) Four-Limbed Staff Pose
The four-limbed staff pose is similar to a plank or pushup position. Your abs become stronger through holding the position. The post also strengthens your arms and wrists.
Starting Position: Assume pushup position with your legs touching and your back straight. Bend your elbows to 90 degrees. Bring your elbows against your sides.
Action: Hold your spine parallel to the floor and breathe through your nose for 30 to 60 seconds.
3.) Side Plank Pose
The side plank pose works the obliques on the sides of the waist. It also strengthens the arms and improves your sense of balance.
Starting Position: Start in pushup position with your arms straight. Bring your legs together. Lift your left hand off the floor and raise it toward the ceiling as you twist your body until your side body looks like a “T.”
Action: Hold your body in this side plank position. Keep your back straight and abs tight as you breathe through your nose for 30 seconds. Switch sides.
4.) Scale Pose
The scale pose is a basic arm balance pose. Arm balance poses require you to support all your bodyweight with your arms, which requires significant abdominal work to stabilize your torso.
Starting Position: Place two yoga blocks shoulder-width apart on the floor. Sit in between them and place one palm flat on each block. Cross your legs.
Action: Press your arms straight, lifting your legs off the floor. Squeeze your abs and hold your body up for 10 to 15 seconds. Return to the starting position, cross your legs the other way and repeat.
5.) Upward Abdominal Lock
The upward abdominal lock is one of the yoga exercises called a “bandha” or a lock that seeks to move energy upward in the body. The exercise strengthens the abdominal muscles and diaphragm, plus massages the internal organs.
Starting Position: Stand with your feet hip-width apart. Bend forward, round your back slightly and place your hands on your thighs. Inhale and exhale through your nose.
Action: Suck in your stomach, squeezing your abdomen and allowing your rib cage to expand outwards. Hold your abdomen in for five to 15 seconds.
You do not have to be a yogin to benefit from these yoga ab exercises. If you do practice yoga though, these exercises will enhance your skills, making you more stable in all your poses.