As the warmer weather approaches, many of us start to focus on toning our stomachs to get ready to throw on a bikini. We start watching what we’re eating, build up our sets of sit ups and rush trying to get confident with our bodies.

However, did you know a great way to focus on toning the abdominal muscles is by practicing regular yoga? There are certain poses, or asanas, that target the abdominals and by holding these poses and concentrating on your breathing, you’re submitting them to a better work out than many other stomach-focussed exercises.

Yoga is also less stressful on the body and if you can get into a regular habit of practice, you can keep a bikini body year round and not rush to tone up for the summer months. Here are 5 yoga poses that will strengthen and tone your stomach.

Tone Your Stomach With These 5 Yoga Poses

Cobra Pose – BhujangasanaThe Cobra Pose (Bhujangasana)

Description: From a prone position, place your palms under your shoulders and legs flat to the floor. On inhalation slowly raise your chest up, bending backwards as much as possible and hold for 10-15 seconds. On exhalation bring your body back down to the prone position. Repeat 5 times, taking a 15 second break between each hold.

Benefits: Strengthen the spine, stretches the chest, shoulders, and abdomen, firms the buttocks, and relieves stress and fatigue.

Common postural errors:  Overarching the neck and lower back. Tips: Keep your gaze directed down at the floor and focus on bringing movement into the area between the shoulder blades.

The Plank Pose – Kumbhakasana

The Plank Pose - Kumbhakasana

Description: Begin by kneeling with your knees under your hips and hands under your shoulders. Stretch your hands slightly infant of your shoulders, with your fingertips facing forward and hands shoulder width apart. Slowly step your feet back, one at a time, extending your legs behind you so your feet are square, legs long and straights and heels pointed at the ceiling. On inhalation, look just ahead of your palms so that your neck is aligned with the spine. Hold your abdominal muscles in to keep posture, your body must form a straight line from heels to hand. Hold for 30 seconds to one minute and release the pose by exhaling and dropping the knees to the floor.

Benefits: The Plank Pose strengthens and tones your arms, wrists and abdominals.

Common postural errors: Not forming a straight line, from head to toes.  Tips: Really focus on holding in your abs when holding this pose, it will cause you to form a straight line. Try to practice by a mirror initially so you can see when a straight line has been achieved.

Cat Pose – Marjaryasana

Description: Start on your hands and knees, hands under your shoulders and knees under your hips. Keep your fingers facing forward and hands, shoulder width apart. While exhaling, round your spine upwards towards the ceiling and drop your head, tightening your abdominals in towards your spine. Inhale and uncurl your spine, remaining on your hands and knees.

Benefits: Stretches out your abdominals, spine, neck and chest.Cow-pose cat pose

Common postural errors: Arching the lower back.  Tips:Draw your shoulders away from your neck to keep the curve at the centre/top of your back.

Cow Pose – Bitilasana

Description: After exiting Cat Pose, on your next inhalation arch your spine, lifting your chest and sit bones towards the ceiling , keeping your head straight and gazing forward. Exhale and return to a neutral position.

Repeat the Cat into Cow poses 10-20 times.

Benefits: Stretches out your abdominals, spine, neck and chest.

Common postural errors: Jutting your rib cage out.  Tips: Focus on raising hi bones and keep your gaze forward, neck lengthened.

Four-Limbed Staff Pose – Chaturanga Dandasana

 Four-Limbed Staff Pose - Chaturanga Dandasana

Description: From the Plank pose, open your chest and broaden your shoulder blades, while tucking in your tailbone. While exhaling, lower yourself until your upper arms are parallel to your spine. Tuck in your tailbone and abdominals, maintaining a straight line from shoulders to heels. Keeping your elbows tucked in, lift your head and gaze forward, holding for 10-30 seconds before moving into upward facing dog.

Benefits: Tones arms and abdominal muscles while also strengthening the wrists.

Common postural errors: Sagging the hips or raising the buttocks.  Tips: Squeeze in your buttocks muscles and draw in your abdominals to keep a straight line and aid with stability.

Image Sources:

Plank Pose |  Cobra Pose  Cat Pose  |  Cow Pose | Chaturanga Dandasana


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