If your core is the last thing you think about working during this pose (and for most women it is), you're missing out on its true power. By pulling your belly button to your spine and breathing through your chest rather than your belly, it trains your core muscles to act as a sort of deep, internal corset. "Think of how a panther's stomach looks compared to an overfed tomcat's stomach," he says. "This move will help you look like a panther." So, downward panther?
Master the move: Press your palms into the floor and step back both legs. Press your heels toward the floor, roll your shoulders away from your neck, and exhale. At the end of the exhale, pull your belly button in toward the spine. Keep your belly pulled in as you inhale, so that you only expand your chest. Keeping your abdominals contracted, take five deep inhalations and exhalations.
Yoga Poses for Abs: Handstand
For the advanced yogi, this is perhaps the most awesome-looking yoga pose for abs. It's basically how Olympic gymnasts perform those crazy slow-mo handstands, Case says. And if that tells you anything, it's that you need to have a good bit of core strength before you'll be able to complete the pose. If you have trouble, don't get discouraged. Keep trying the other yoga poses in this slideshow. Before long, you'll be able to complete this move, he says.
Master the move: Stand on your yoga mat with your feet together. Bend at your hips into a forward bend. Pull your pelvic bone down and round your spine to touch your head to your knees. Keeping your legs completely straight, press your palms firmly into the floor, directly beside your feet. (If you can't do this, step your feet out wider until your palms are pressed into the floor.) Looking between your fingertips, contract your pelvic floor muscles, draw in your belly button toward your spine, and squeeze your back so that you pull your pelvis over your head. Keep your legs straight so that your feet follow your pelvis until you're in a full handstand.
Yoga Poses for Abs: Lotus Pose
Here's proof that sitting doesn't have to be unhealthy (just be sure to practice belly breathing). Case recommends completing this pose throughout the day in your desk chair. If you start getting weird looks, you can keep your feet on the floor.
Master the move: Sit on your mat and extend your legs straight in front of you, feet together and flexed. Sit straight up, pulling your pubic bone toward your belly button, lifting your heart and drawing your shoulder blades together. Tuck your chin just slightly. Then, squeezing both your pelvic floor muscles (like you're trying to hold in pee) and your abdominal muscles, draw your belly button toward your spine. Cross your legs so that each foot is on top of the opposite thigh (if that's too difficult, sit with feet crossed). Keeping your belly button drawn in toward your spine, take five deep inhalations and exhalations through your chest.
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