5 Steps to a Stronger Core: A Bad Yogi’s Guide to Killer Abs
It doesn’t matter if summer is approaching, bikini season is right around the corner, or any other reason you may be baring it all. Bloating, constipation, sour stomach, menses. or the desire for tighter abs can show up any time. To relieve ourselves of these yucky tummy issues. we all need a little abdominal TLC. After some warm ups, try these killer ab Yoga exercises with me!
1. Dog to Plank Crunch
Start in Downward Facing Dog, making sure that your core is lifted, your naval drawing in toward your spine. With your feet together in the middle of your mat, slowly lift your right leg into Three Legged Dog. Stay here for three breaths then take a hip opener, bending your leg with the intent of touching your heel to your left glute. Keep your shoulders square and your hips stacked. Slowly re-extend your right leg, foot flexed, back into Three Legged Dog. Keeping the length in your spine, slowly bend the right knee, drawing it in toward your stomach. Re-extend to Three Legged Dog. Next, draw your knee as close to your nose as possibly, transitioning from your Dog into Three Legged Plank (or Pigeon prep). Slowly move back into Three Legged Dog. Repeat these three movements four times to make a set of 5, then switch sides, raising your left leg. Complete another set of five.
2. Boat Crunch
Begin seated with your feet on the floor, knees bent. Hold onto the backs of your thighs pulling your spine straight and slowly lift your legs, establishing your boat. Decide what is best for you. You may chose to keep your knees bent or to straighten your legs in full boat. You can even keep your toes lightly placed on the mat, if that is what serves you. Hold your arms straight on the outer sides of your thighs. Slowly lower your spine toward the ground, keeping that full length, never arching or curving. If your legs are bent, slowly straighten them as you lower. If your legs are straight, slowly lower them at the same speed as your spine. Keep the shoulders lifted and the legs hovering, never touching the ground. Using your core, draw your spine and legs back into your boat. Complete two sets of 5 Boat Crunches.
3. Supine Twist
Lie on your back in Ardha Savasana, placing your arms into T. Draw your knees into your chest, lifting your feet off the ground. Slowly lower your bent legs to the right, making sure your knees remain stacked. Do not worry about your left shoulder popping off of the ground. Let your knees hover over the ground for a moment, then using your core, return to center. Do not allow your arms to assist this movement. Repeat to the left side. Once you have returned to center, straighten your legs as you lower them to hover over the ground. Remain here for a moment, then slowly draw your knees back into your chest. Repeat this three part movement four times to make a set of 5.
4. Tripod Crunch
Make your way into Tripod Headstand, legs straight overhead. Slowly lower your knees to hover over your elbows, engaging your core. Use your core to lift your legs back overhead. Complete two sets of 5 Tripod Crunches. Take a reprieve in a seated posture between sets if needed.
5. Inverted Toe Tap
Start in Headstand, Forearm Stand, or Handstand with your legs fully extended overhead. Keeping the legs straight and engaging your core, slowly lower your feet toward the ground. If you are in Headstand or Forearm Stand, very lightly brush your toes on the ground then begin to raise the legs back over head. If you are in Handstand, tap your toes to your wrists before slowly raising the legs back up. For more intensity in Headstand or Forearm Stand, as you lower the legs, bring your feet as close to your face or forearms as possible. Maybe lightly tap the toes to the backs of your arms or to your nose before raising the legs back over head. For less intensity in all inversions, lower the legs into an L then use your core to return them to your full inversion. Complete two sets of 5 Inverted Toe Taps. Take a reprieve in a seated posture between sets if needed.
As most of these are inversions, rest a few moments between exercises in a seated posture or in Child’s Pose. Connect back to your breath before moving on to the next exercise.
Please make sure you are familiar with and comfortable in each starting posture before attempting any of these exercises.
If you have high blood pressure, coronary issues, or if you are pregnant, please understand your boundaries and check with a doctor before performing inverted postures.