Generally most people think of yoga as helping to make them fit, flexible and calmer. Yoga poses for abs is not what comes to mind! It often comes as a surprise to find that while practising the poses that they get a solid yoga ab workout out as well.
Many of the poses like Mountain Pose, Triangle pose, Plank pose, Downward facing dog pose, Chair pose, Chair arch and Shoulderstand, when down regularly, will strengthen your core. They’ll tone abdominal muscles either directly or indirectly.
When you are ready to move to the next level, after beginners, you get to practice so many more poses that will also help to significantly strengthen your abdominal muscles.
Strengthening core abdominal muscles is important for improving your posture and strengthening and protecting your lower back. It will also help relieve existing back pain.
Strengthening your core gives you self-confidence. You learn how to stand up straight and face the world.
Plus you get to have a flat tummy!
No gym is needed to get an ab workout. It another reason why I prefer yoga to any gym.
Four main abdominal muscles
When we talk of toning abdominal muscles we are talking specifically about 4 muscles that wrap around the middle of the trunk.
Almost all yoga poses for abs will be working via these muscles.
The 4 main abdominal muscles that we engage to varying degrees in any yoga practice are:
- Rectus abdomins (six pack)
- Internal Obliques
- External Obliques
- Transverse Abdominis.
Yoga poses for abs to tone and strengthen your abdominal
Mountain pose is the central standing pose that teaches us how to stand correctly. It brings firmness, strength and stability.
You’ll be doing it from your first beginner yoga class. It never stops being useful.
Plus, you’ll be working all of the abdominal muscles shown in the picture above. That’s exactly why my tummy is flat.
The block is placed between the inner thighs, tones inner thighs. It helps the pelvic floor and starts to connect you to your core ab muscles.
Tadasana – Mountain Pose – place a block between inner thighs
Downward facing dog pose is part of a yoga ab workout
Dog pose (below), is a basic weight bearing pose that strengthens arms, stretches hamstrings, and strengthens abdominal muscles.
It’s a key pose from many points of view, but it is also one of the yoga poses for abs.
Come up into it from the floor, with hands shoulder width apart.
Press your hands, exhale, and lift you chest and sides of the waist up towards the hips and towards the back body.
Then stretch back into the poses pressing the heels towards the floor.
In the picture below, notice my flat belly. The abdominals are working!
Adho Mukha Svanasana, or Downward facing dog pose.
Chair yoga pose also is always a workout challenge!
Chair pose (below) is also excellent to tone abdominal muscles and your back body.
Start in mountain pose, and raise you arms. Exhale bend the knees and lower your trunk.
Keep your weight in your heels and fill in your back.
Steady your breath then inhale to come up.
Chair pose automatically causes you to draw in and exercise your abdominals.
Utthita Trikonasana or Chair Pose
In Triangle pose (below), you learn to keep both sides of the trunk long, which stretches, twists, and tones abdominal muscles .
It also helps stimulate your abdominal organs keeping your digestive and excretionary system healthy.
Urdhva Prasarita Padasana (Triangle pose).
Leg raising is the conventional yoga ab workout
Below, you’ll see the well-known leg raise pose. There are easy and less easy version of it. It can be done without the huff and puff of a conventional gym based approach.
The relatively easy version is to place a belt around feet at the start (not shown).
Learn to straighten your legs as you do the pose.
Press back ribs and pelvis down.
As you become more experienced your arms can go over the head.
It is a effective pose to strengthen as your core and tone your abdomen.
In the leg raising pose below, also try some weight, like a bolster, on your arms.
This leg-raise can be done with or without straight legs.
Shoulderstand at Buley Holes, Litchfield National Park.
Shoulderstand (above) delivers many benefits.
It opens shoulders, nourishes the thyroid gland, and helps deal with stress and depression. It also tones your abdominals.
If ever you’ve done this pose and not been happy with your belly muscles, you’ll know exactly what I mean when I say its working your abdominals!
And again, that is why my tummy is flat in the shoulderstand picture above.
In other words, without strong abs, your tummy will bulge. And that’s how and why the pose is also working your abdominals.
As you become more experienced you will learn to come into it via plough pose. That will further help to tone and strengthen your abs.
Build up slowly, with easy, introductory poses
There are many more poses that you do in beginners that tone and strengthen your abdominal muscles… but here are just 6 that will work wonders.
There are versions of all of these poses for each and every level of yoga.
In beginner yoga, you’ll learn easy, preparatory versions of these poses. Sometimes, props will be used to assist.
Remember, you don’t need to be flexible or fit to start yoga. Over time, you’ll steadily work towards increasing your skills. Over time, you’ll get to do more advanced versions.
The good news is that whatever version of these poses you’re doing, you’ll get plenty of the benefits that any version of the pose will deliver.
Start or re-start yoga, including with some yoga poses for abs
The next 4 week beginner yoga course, with up to 2 weeks free, is one good way to start.
The beginner poses are easy, introductory poses. There are even special, optional beginner classes like Gentle Yoga, Backcare Yoga, and Easy Restorative Yoga. You can see them all in the beginner timetable.
Try Beginner Yoga via a week-to-week pass, online or in-studio, or both, with a 2 week free trial and money back guarantee. With this pass, you can start anytime.
The beginner double pass even gets you 25% off for both starters!
Non-beginner yoga students, who are newcomers or lapsed at Flametree, get 14 days of unlimited non-beginner classes for $29 (online or in-studio, or both), here.
If these deals are not exactly what suits you, check out all Flametree Yoga packages.