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How to Flatten Your Abs with Yoga

Tags: pose floor knee

Sometimes, no matter how much you exercise, you've got stubborn fat around your midsection that just won't seem to go away. While yoga alone won't get you that perfectly toned six-pack you dream of, there are a number of yoga poses that will build core strength and firm up your belly. If you want to flatten your abs with yoga, choose poses that will help strengthen your abdominal muscles, burn fat, and improve digestion to reduce bloating that can cause a puffy and uncomfortable midsection.[1]


EditBuilding Core Strength

  1. Start in plank pose. If you want to build abdominal strength and flatten your abs with yoga, you must make friends with the plank pose. The plank not only gives your abs a workout – it's a whole-body experience.[2]
    Flatten Your Abs with Yoga Step 1.jpg
    • If you're starting in plank, lay on the floor on your belly with your palms under your shoulders and your legs extended out behind you. Raise up on an inhale so that your arms are perpendicular to the floor. Your wrists should be directly below your shoulders.
    • Your weight should be evenly supported by your hands and your toes, so that you are one long line of energy from the crown of your head to your heels.
    • Lengthen your tailbone towards your heels and press the front of your thighs toward the ceiling. Make sure your neck is not crunched and your shoulder blades are down against your back.
    • Hold this pose for several breaths, then release to the floor. If you find it too difficult to do a full plank, you can drop to your knees for a half plank. Make sure your back is completely flat and not arched.
  2. Open into side plank pose. The side plank pose strengthens your entire body, as well as stretching and strengthening your wrists and improving your balance. This balancing pose should not be attempted if you are recovering from a serious wrist, elbow, or shoulder injury.[3]
    Flatten Your Abs with Yoga Step 2.jpg
    • From plank, move to the outside edge of your left foot. Swing your right hip up so that your right leg rolls on top of your left leg, with your right foot on top of your left foot.
    • Turn your torso to your right, lifting your right hand and placing it on your right hip. Balance your body weight so it is evenly distributed between the outside edge of your left foot and your left hand.
    • Your left hand shouldn't be directly below your shoulder, but angled a bit. Use your triceps muscle to straighten that arm, pressing into the knuckles of your hand. Your body should be a straight, diagonal line from the crown of your head to your feet.
    • Hold the pose for a breath or two, then release and do the other side. If you have difficulty maintaining stability in this pose, you might try doing it with your feet against a wall for more support.
  3. Stretch with upward facing dog. Upward facing dog builds strength in your entire upper body, increasing strength and flexibility in your spine as well as working your chest and abdominal muscles.[4]
    Flatten Your Abs with Yoga Step 3.jpg
    • From plank or side plank, lower to the floor so that you are lying on your stomach with your legs extended behind you. Your toes and the tops of your feet should be on the floor. Place your palms under your shoulders, your arms bent flush along your sides. Lengthen your neck, touching your chin to the floor.
    • On an inhale, raise your chest up and back, bending your spine. Keep your chest open, shoulders rolling down your back. Make sure your neck is straight and not crunched.
    • Hold the pose for several breaths, then slowly lower on an exhale. You can create a vinyasa, or flow, with this pose by repeating it five or more times, with a breath for each movement.
  4. Lower into downward facing dog. Downward facing dog is typically one of the first yoga poses you learn, and is central to almost any yoga practice. This pose provides stretching and strengthening for your whole body, as well as helping relieve stress.[5]
    Flatten Your Abs with Yoga Step 4.jpg
    • From upward facing dog, come up onto your hands and knees, with your hands just in front of your shoulders. Spread your palms and splay your fingers out wide, pressing into all knuckles. Your knees should be directly under your hips, toes turned under. Spread your feet further apart if you want.
    • As you exhale, lift your hips upward, pointing your sitting bones to the ceiling. As you inhale, straighten out your legs (or you can leave them bent if it's more comfortable to do so), keeping your heels off the floor.
    • Stay in downward facing dog for several breaths. With every inhale, push down through your heels. With every exhale, think of pulling away from the floor towards the ceiling. Make sure your shoulder blades are flat down your back so your shoulders are neutral and your neck isn't crunched.
    • If you want, you can create a vinyasa flow between upward and downward facing dog, a breath for each movement.
  5. Transition to chair pose. The chair pose demands tremendous core strength and also helps you gain balance and stability. As you progress with this pose, you'll build the entire core to help flatten your abs.[6]
    Flatten Your Abs with Yoga Step 5.jpg
    • From wherever you are, come to a standing position and bring your legs together so that the inner sides of your feet are touching.
    • On an exhale, slowly lower your hips as though you are sitting in a chair, keeping your knees over your ankles. Your shins should be perpendicular to the floor.
    • Hold the pose for 45 seconds to a minute, breathing deeply in through your nose and out through your mouth. If you want a challenge, shift your weight to your heels to further engage your core and bend more deeply. If you can't hold the pose and maintain your breath, don't bend your knees as much.

EditBurning Belly Fat

  1. Do a plank vinyasa. If you've done any ab work at all, you probably are familiar with planks. A vinyasa in yoga involves moving between different poses with a breath for each movement to stimulate blood flow and burn fat.[7]
    Flatten Your Abs with Yoga Step 6.jpg
    • Start on all fours on the floor with your wrists directly under your shoulders, palms spread wide. Straighten your legs behind you, balancing on the balls of your feet. You are now in plank position.
    • Your body should be a straight line of energy from your heels to the crown of your head. Make sure you can maintain deep breathing through this pose before you continue. If a full plank is too difficult for you, modify the position by coming to your knees and elbows.
    • On an exhale, bend your right knee and tuck your right leg towards your chest. As you inhale, move your right leg back to join the left. Exhale and tuck your left leg the same as you did your right. Inhale return to plank position.
    • Alternate 8 to 20 times, maintaining your breath. Once you finish, you may want to counter by lifting your hips into a downward dog, or you can lower your hips back to sit on your heels and rest in child's pose.
  2. Move into a bridge with a lift. The bridge pose builds strength in your core. Lifting in time with your breath adds an aerobic element that will encourage the burning of fat around your midsection as you build muscle.[8]
    Flatten Your Abs with Yoga Step 7.jpg
    • Lie on your back with your legs extended. Bring your knees up so that your feet are flat on the floor, about hip-width apart. As you exhale, lift your hips and press down into your feet. You can bring your hands together under your body, or keep them at your sides. Lift your chest toward your chin, keeping your shoulders rolled back and down so that your shoulder blades are in line with your spine.
    • Slowly lower your hips as you inhale. On exhale, lift your hips again. Repeat this lift 5 to 10 times, focusing on doing the work of lifting with your core.
    • After your repetitions, release and draw your knees into your chest to counter the stretch. You can slowly rock from side to side to massage your spine and lower back.
  3. Add some windshield wipers. Windshield wipers really work your obliques, the abdominal muscles running down the side of your body. Doing this twist with a breath for each movement gets your blood flowing to the abdominal region to help flatten your abs.[9]
    Flatten Your Abs with Yoga Step 8.jpg
    • Start by lying on your back with your legs lifted in your knees bent so that your shins are perpendicular to the floor. Extend your arms from your shoulders out flat on either side of your body, palms spread wide.
    • On an exhale, lower your legs to the right until they are 2 or 3 inches over the floor. Inhale and bring your legs back to center. On your next exhale, lower your legs to the left with the same motion.
    • Focus on moving with your core and keeping your shoulders and arms flat. Repeat the motion 10 times, or 5 times on each side. Once you're done, you may want to bring your knees to your chest and rock side to side or up and down to massage your spine.
  4. Try the rocking boat. The boat pose by itself strengthens your abdominal muscles, but when you add movement with the rocking boat you set a fire in your belly that will work to help burn away that stubborn belly fat.[10]
    Flatten Your Abs with Yoga Step 9.jpg
    • Get into boat pose from a seated position. Bend your knees slightly, keeping your feet flat on the floor. Grab the backs of your thighs just below your knees and lean back at about a 45-degree angle.
    • On an exhale, raise your feet off the floor, pressing your feet, legs, and knees together. Your shins should be parallel to the floor.
    • Reach your arms forward at about shoulder height with your palms toward the floor.
    • To start the rocking, tilt your knees first to one side and then to the other. Try to follow your breath for at least 10 repetitions. It doesn't matter whether you start on an inhale or an exhale.
    • You can add a twist by reaching in the opposite direction your "boat" is rocking.

EditReducing Bloat

  1. Stretch and contract your abs in cat/cow pose. Cat/cow is a relaxing yoga movement that allows you to stretch and contract your entire abdominal region to reduce bloating and stimulate your digestive organs.[11]
    Flatten Your Abs with Yoga Step 10.jpg
    • Come onto all fours with your legs directly below your hips and your hands below your shoulders. Your arms and thighs should be perpendicular to the floor. On an inhale, lift your head and your tailbone, arching your back.
    • As you exhale, drop your head and tailbone towards the floor and curve your back outward, like the arching "Halloween cat" image.
    • Then inhale and arch upward, exhale drop downward. Do as many repetitions as feel good.
  2. Stimulate digestion with a seated spinal twist. The seated spinal twist squeezes your digestive tract, which can help relieve gas and bloating. This pose is especially good to do after you've just had a big meal.[12]
    Flatten Your Abs with Yoga Step 11.jpg
    • From a seated position, bend your right knee underneath you as you would in a cross-legged seat. Cross your left foot over so that it's flat on the floor outside your right thigh. You can keep your right leg straight if this is too difficult.
    • Lift with a straight back, wrapping your right arm around your left knee. Set your left hand on the floor behind your back and twist to the left. With every inhale, think of lengthening your back. With every exhale, try to deepen the twist.
    • Hold this pose for five to eight breaths, then return to center, switch legs, and do the other side.
  3. Try the wind-relieving pose. As the name suggests, the wind-relieving pose massages your intestines to help relieve gas and bloating. However, it does more than that, also strengthening your back and abdominal muscles to help flatten your abs.[13]
    Flatten Your Abs with Yoga Step 12.jpg
    • Start on your back with your legs extended, feet together, and your arms extended on either side. On an exhale, pull your right knee towards your chest. Wrap your hands around your knee or your shin and press towards your belly. Inhale.
    • On an exhale, lift your head and chest and try to touch your chin to your right knee. Be careful not to crunch your neck. Release back to the floor as you inhale.
    • You can repeat this three to five times before switching and doing the other leg. You can also do both legs at the same time.
  4. Squeeze out toxins with a supine twist. Twists increase circulation to your abdomen, encouraging better digestion and helping you more quickly eliminate toxins. This gentle twist can be done directly after the wind-relieving pose.[14]
    Flatten Your Abs with Yoga Step 13.jpg
    • If your knees are still bent in towards your chest from the wind-relieving pose, release one leg to the ground and extend it. If you are lying flat on your back with both legs extended, pull your right knee up towards your chest.
    • On an inhale, roll toward the left from your hips, keeping your right arm extended out straight from your shoulder. Try to keep your shoulder blade pinned to the floor, twisting only from your hips. You can place your left hand on the outside of your right knee to deepen the stretch, but don't force it.
    • Hold the twist for 10 breath cycles, breathing deeply in through your nose and out through your mouth. Then, on an exhale, slowly twist back to center. Release your right leg and repeat the twist on the other side.

EditSources and Citations

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This post first appeared on 3 Ways To Naturally Increase Metabolism - WikiHow, please read the originial post: here

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How to Flatten Your Abs with Yoga


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