Yoga is often pegged as a calming form of exercise that helps relieve stress or promote healthier sleep. It may not seem like an intense workout at first, but we can promise that you’ll be feeling the burn after one yoga class. Those who say that they don’t feel as though they worked out are most likely not engaging the right muscles, or they are doing the poses incorrectly.
Some of the poses in this sequence are resting poses, but that doesn’t mean you have an excuse to lose form. You should still be engaging your abdominal muscles in these resting poses because this ultimately helps you build core strength and stamina. Constantly engaging your abdominals throughout this sequence can also help to burn fat and assist you on your quest to a flatter stomach.
This is the perfect place to begin because you need to engage your core, shoulders and chest, and gluteus muscles. Be sure to contract your abs in this pose for optimal effectiveness; otherwise, the pose is not doing anything for your core. To start, get on your hands and knees in a tabletop position. Your hands should be directly below your shoulders. Step your feet back into plank pose and try to keep your body in a straight line. Hold this pose for one minute, engaging your core the entire time.
This is similar to plank pose in that it targets the abdominal, chest, and shoulder muscles. You are essentially balancing on your hands and toes, hovering just above the ground. From plank pose, shift your weight slightly forward and slowly lower yourself down to the ground, but don’t lie on the ground. Your upper arm (from elbow to shoulder) should be parallel to the ground and in line with your torso. Hold this pose for one minute. If you want to increase intensity, you can do slow push-ups between Chaturanga and plank pose to build arm, chest, and shoulder strength.
Most people think that they don’t have to work while they are in this position. Those people are most likely doing downward dog with improper form. While it is a resting pose that helps to silence the chatter of the mind, downward dog is a passive core builder. From Chaturanga, push back up into plank pose and then sink back into downward dog. Your feet should be about hip-distance apart, your back should be lengthened, and your sit bones should be reaching towards the sky. Your heels don’t have to touch the ground at first. IT IS OK IF THEY DON’T! It’s better to have bent knees and a straight back than straight knees and a rounded back. Hold this pose for one minute.
Upward Facing Dog:
You’ve engaged your abdominal muscles for three poses in a row, so now it’s time to stretch them out. This pose is intended to stretch the front of the body while engaging the gluteus muscles. Make sure that the tops of your feet are on the mat during this pose. From downward dog, head to plank pose before lowering yourself onto the mat. Place the tops of your feet on the mat and push up into upward facing dog, squeezing your glutes and allowing your abdominal muscles the chance to stretch. Hold this pose for 30 seconds to one minute.
This is definitely a balancing pose that will force you to strengthen your core. While it can be difficult to balance on your butt at first, we have faith that you’ll get the hang of it and be holding it for days in no time. Start by sitting up straight with your legs extended out in front. Bend your knees so that the soles of your feet are on the mat. As you lean back slowly, extend your feet up so that your body is in a “V” shape. Keep your back straight and reach your arms a little past your thighs. Hold this pose for 30 seconds and then return to the starting position. Repeat two more times.