If you want to have a nice flat stomach and toned abs, there are a few important things that you must do. Besides the obvious of watching your diet, you need to develop an exercise routine that combines both, aerobic exercise along with stomach specific resistance exercises. Although there is evidence that resistance exercises help burn fat, aerobic routines are still the best way to help reduce belly fat and body fat in general. Along with aerobic exercises though, you need to combine abdominal training, to achieve the final result of a flat and toned stomach. Luckily yoga can provide you both, an aerobic exercise as well as stomach toning exercises.
Another important aspect of toning muscles and stomach muscles especially is that you need to vary the routines and exercises you do from time to time. This variation ensures that muscles are being worked out effectively and the most is being achieved from the exercises, as muscles get used to repeated patterns and respond less and less to the same routines. For this reason it's good to have many different abdominal workouts in your yoga toolbox and change these routines up from time to time.
Below (#5) you will find a list of abdominal workouts already published on the website, which have been quite popular and are very effective. But for those of you who have already been doing these yoga poses and routines for some time and are looking for some variation, below is another great set of abdominal exercises for you.
Some of these exercises are completely new, while others have been published previously. The set though combines them to form a nice new routine. In addition, this set utilizes a chair as a prop to help you do some of the exercises. For those who are new to yoga, also notice the use of the strap for doing the challenging Yoga Boat Pose, which is by the way, excellent for toning and firming your stomach.
For Yoga Certification Program Students:
For those who are enrolled in the Yoga Certification Course (link here), the yoga leg extensions is an excellent exercise if you are teaching a senior, kids or newbie class. This is a good way to introduce yoga abdominal training to beginners and those who are unfit. Also, it is worth having straps available in your yoga studio so you can show them how to use it for difficult poses like Boat Pose. If you do not have straps you can use a rolled up towel or other such substitute.
For students in the Meditation Teacher's Course (link here), if you are teaching a gentle yoga class or simple stretches prior to meditation, the above advice applies to your class as well.
This set was presented in the December 2012 edition of the Mastery of Meditation and Yoga newsletter.
Yoga Ab Exercises For Flat Toned Stomach:
Some titles below are links to the article with all the details including cautions, benefits, practice tips, etc. So click that to read the full article.
Benefits of Yoga Abdominal Training
Kundalini Yoga suggests that one of the first areas to work on if you are new to yoga is the navel center. There are many good reasons for this.
First, developing this region ensures you have great energy and power. Second, working on the stomach area helps alleviate and cure digestive problems. But, most importantly, developing your navel strength also helps you build your strength of character and this is important if you are to establish and maintain a strong, long-term yoga and meditation practice. Finally, of course it is always great to have a nice, flat toned stomach :-).
#1: EASY LEG EXTENSIONS OR STRETCH POSE
One of the very first yoga exercises you learn when embarking on a traditional Hatha Yoga program are these Easy Leg Extensions.
This exercise is not just good for your abs, it is also excellent for keeping your knees lubricated and healthy. In addition, it promotes flexibility in the hamstrings and calves.
There are 2 variations to this exercise, with regard to how to place your hands. In the illustrations below, I am showing the variation where I am leaning back on the palms of my hands.
In an easier variation, you can place your entire forearm and elblows on the ground, with your palms facing down, and lean back. In this variation you will be leaning further back, have more support and the leg extensions will be even easier to do.
If you are just starting out do sets of 6-10 repetitions. You can also take a break by staying in the legs folded positions longer. You can slowly build up to doing this exercise for 1 to 3 minutes.
For your breathing, exhale as you extend your legs out and inhale as you bring them in.
Here are some illustrations to help you do this exercise correctly.
Easy Leg Extensions - Start
Easy Leg Extensions - Finish
Lately I have been sharing with you some wonderful poses and stretches you can do with the help with a chair and here are some excellent ab crunches you can add to that list.
There are 2 nice variations to these stomach crunches. The first is shown in Illustrations #1 and #2 below, they concentrate on the central abdominal muscles.
The second variation works on your side muscles or obliques. These are shown in Illustration #3 and Illustration #4 below.
I suggest beginners start with 4-6 repetitions and build up slowly from there.
Inhale down and exhale up for both these variations.
Chair Crunch Down
Chair Crunch Up
Chair Sit-up Left
Chair Sit-up Right
One of the best poses for working on your abs is Yoga Boat Pose. As this is a difficult pose, there are 3 nice variations to make it easier. You can bend your knees, you can hold your knees or you can use a strap.
You will find useful illustrations below and of course all the details in the article. Do this exercise with Breath of Fire if you can. Start with as little as 15 seconds and build up from there. Some advanced classes require 3, 5 7 and even 11 minutes of Boat Pose!!
Yoga Boat Pose - With Strap
Yoga Boat Pose - Full
Yoga Criss Cross is part of the excellent Yoga Set to Shape Stomach, the link to which is above.
This is a great exercise with which to end any ab workout set, but you can also switch it with boat pose above as a finishing exercise.
To do this exercise you are criss-crossing your ankles at a fast pace, with the legs alternating which is on top. Full details are in the article.
Start with 15 seconds and build up to 1-3 minutes if you can.
Criss-Cross Left Over Right
Criss-Cross Right Over Left
#5: MORE GREAT AB SETS AND EXERCISES
As mentioned above, for abdominal training it is good to mix up exercises and sets as this help to stimulate the muscles and will accelerate the results one gets. So here are some good sets from which you can choose more abdominal exercise to give you variety and options.
- Terrific Yoga Ab Exercises & Workout for Toned Stomach
- Best Yoga Exercise to Get Firm Toned Abs
- Powerful Yoga Ab Crunches to Get Toned Six Pack Abs
- Kundalini Yoga Frog Pose for Eternally Toned Legs
- Yoga Not Best for Improving Memory?