Yoga is a full body workout. I know, I know, it’s not the most yogi way to put it, but I’m talking about yoga asanas here. The physical exercises that should keep our body healthy and prepare it for sitting in meditation pose for a long time. And in sitting with a straight spine, the core plays a major supporting role. And a strong core - more often than not - shows in a flat belly. So I’ve put together 15 yoga poses for flat belly for you.
15 Yoga Poses for Flat Belly
Here are some of the yoga poses for flat belly and stronger muscles.
In Bird Dog, our core has to work to keep our torso stabilized. With one arm and leg extend to the front and back, there is a lot of weight to carry for the rest of the limbs. Sucking the navel in helps to lift some of that weight, plus keeps the lower back in a neutral position and protected.
Plank is a popular type of workout outside of yoga. There are Plank challenges all over the internet, that have six pack and flat belly written all over them. Plank is a fantastic posture to get a flat belly. In yoga, Plank is often practiced as a transition pose in Sun Salutations, as the starting point of our Chaturangas. But I like to spice the practice up a little by holding in Plank, letting the heels drop to one side, then to the other, or bring knee to the chin. There are plenty of variations out there, so Plank will never become boring.
And here we are already with one of the many plank variations. The oblique muscles help here to keep the entire body stable. To even increase the work of the core, try the following variation: Roll onto your tiptoes and thread the arm that was lifted, underneath your other arm, face and belly facing the mat. Inhale come back into the original Side Plank. Repeat this a few times on each side. You’ll feel what you’ve done the next day!
Boat Pose is a well-known yoga pose, infamous for setting our abdominals on fire. If you have a block or heavy book close by, squeeze it in between your knees. It helps to really engage the belly and the legs. What I love about Boat Pose is, that it’s a pose for everyone. If you’ve just started on your flat belly journey, you can keep your feet planted on the mat. But if you want the ultimate challenge, extend your legs while lifted and lean back with your torso until you start to shake.
Why not turn your usual Triangle Pose into a flat belly challenge today? For Floating Triangle just extend both arms alongside your ears and reach forward. This pose really challenges and tones the oblique muscles. You might find it harder to breath, so really focus on your breath and don’t panic. The extra effort will tone your diaphragm that is responsible for deep belly breaths.
Read More: 20 Yoga Poses if You're Starting Out
As in all chest opening postures, try to focus on the openness of the chest and shoulders, so better stay up a little higher. For extra core work, add in the floating arms from the Floating Triangle.
Dolphin doesn’t only tone our abdominals, but also the arms, shoulders and upper back muscles. It’s a great alternative to Plank for people who have wrist problems. If you prefer a more dynamic posture, move from Dolphin into Forearm Plank and back into Dolphin. It’ll keep your mind busy when your muscles are starting to burn.
A beautiful and fun belly pose for yogis who like to play. Engage the core here actively to support the arms. Floating above the mat is great, and it’s also a challenge to overcome our fears of letting go and trusting that the earth will catch us when we fall. It’s just one example of how yoga is teaching us about ourselves.
Read More: Yoga for Flexibility!
Three Legged Dog
Three Legged Dog is one of the postures mainly practiced as a transitional pose. From Downward Facing Dog to Crescent Lunge for example. But it’s worth staying with one leg lifted for a few breaths to strengthen your entire abdominal muscles, including the oblique muscles.
Our core is doing a lot of work in yoga balancing poses. If we actively suck in the navel in Warrior III, we’re not only more stable, but it also helps to lift some of the weight off your standing leg. Sounds strange? Try it.
When you look at yogis doing Chaturanga as part of their Sun Salutation you could get the impression that all the strength for the pose stems from their arms. However, our abdominal muscles can and should support the arms. We also need the core to keep our whole body in one line and to prevent our hips from hanging towards the mat. So practicing Sun Salutations in the morning is not only meditating, but it’s a great way to get closer to a flat belly.
Read More: 10 Yoga Poses for Burning Fat
Lotus Hip Lift
While the name of this pose suggests that you have to come into Lotus in order to perform Lotus Hip Lift, you can also try this cross legged. It is harder that way, though, as your body is not that compact.
Chair Pose is great practice when you are visiting a country where people love to sit on tiny plastic chairs, like in South East Asian. A regular Chair practice prepares you for exactly that. Enjoy your food.
Half Moon Pose
Half Moon Pose is a wonderful pose to practice with the support of a block, so you can really focus on the alignment and balance. For extra core strength, lift your hand off the block or mat. It’s one of those balancing poses that gets so much easier when really engaging both the core and lifting the pelvic floor.
Many people completely stay away from Peacock Pose, because they find it too uncomfortable. It indeed takes a few trials to get used to to the pressure from your hands on your belly, but it’s just so much fun playing around with balance. Strong abdominal muscles cannot only be built up in Peacock but also take away some of the discomforts in the belly. Don’t practice this pose when you are pregnant!
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