Take a break from crunches and get the flat belly you want with yoga. As you work through these poses, you’ll engage your core muscles and concentrate on balance and breathing. If you can’t hold a pose for very long, don’t worry. You’ll build strength each time. Just do as much as you can and work up to holding each pose for 10 breaths.
Straight Leg Lift and Lower, Part 1
1. Lie on your back and place a block between your upper thighs.
2. Bring your legs straight up to the ceiling and flex your feet.
3. Keep your lower back pressed firmly into the ground.
Hint: If you don’t have a block, try using a sturdy throw pillow.
Straight Leg Lift and Lower, Part 2
1. From the position above, start to lower your legs toward the ground.
2. Only lower them as far as you can, keeping the lower back flat on the ground. If you drop your legs all the way down and your lower back pops up, this move loses its ab-strengthening power and can strain the lower back.
3. Repeat 10 times.
Spine Massage Roll-Ups
1. Stay on your back and bring your legs straight up. Think of this move as a massage for the spine rather than an abdominal exercise.
2. Bring your feet over your head, rolling on your spine slowly until your feet touch the ground behind you. If this is too much on your spine or neck, only bring your feet as far as you can without feeling pain in your back.
3. Return your feet to the straight-up position.
4. Repeat 10 times.
1. Come into Boat Pose with bent knees.
a. Sit with your knees bent, feet flat on the floor.
b. Hold on to your legs under thighs, grabbing just above the knees. Lean back slightly.
c. Raise your feet off the floor and press them together. Lift your feet until your shins are parallel to the floor.
d. Extend your arms straight in front of you to shoulder height, palms up.