Yoga is great for improving flexibility and fitness, reducing stress and working on both the mind and body. But did you know that yoga can also be a great way to strengthen your core and tone those beach-worthy abs? Among its other benefits, regularly practising yoga can also have a visible impact on a bloated tummy or midsection. (Sign me up!)
These essential poses will help you develop stronger core muscles, -so make grab your yoga mat and let's get started.
The Four-Limbed Staff
This pose involves holding your body parallel to the floor, supported by your palms (with elbows at your sides) and the tips of your toes.
Start from a Standing Forward Bend, plant your feet on the floor and bend slowly until your hands brush the ground. From here, bend your knees, plant your hands on the mat and inhale while pushing your feet back so you are propped almost parallel to the floor.
Exhale while slowly bending your elbows to lower yourself closer to the floor, hold for 10 to 30 seconds and then release. Essentially this is just like a body plank.
The Cat-Cow Stretch
Like the name suggests, this pose starts in a cat-like position with all fours on the ground. Your knees should be lined up under your hips with your wrists underneath your shoulders.
As you inhale, arch your back slowly, as you look up, round your spine during your exhalations so the shape of your back forms a 'C' facing the floor. Concentrate on keeping your stomach taut as you hold these poses.
Hands and Knees Balance
An easy transition from the Cat-Cow Stretch as it starts from the same position on all fours.
This time, instead of arching your back, extend your right leg behind you and hold it parallel to the floor, flexing your foot up and down. Once you've got your balance, raise your left arm until it's parallel to the floor and hold for five breaths. Switch arms and legs and repeat.