Yoga is generally considered the domain of women. Yoga classes are filled with them. Even the pictures and videos of yoga poses feature women. Nevertheless, have you noticed how fit these women look? Not only are they trim, and sometimes cut, they also have that calm and serene look in their eyes.
If your aim is to just do an ab workout, and not get in touch with your spirituality or tap into your chakra, add these yoga poses to your exercise routine anyway. They are tried and tested, and they came out winners. For a set of well-defined and strong abs, do:
I. The Downward Dog Pose: This must be one of the most popular yoga poses of all time. Not only is it easy to do, it succeeds in giving your abs a workout.
Rest on your hands and knees. Keep your back parallel to the ground. Place your hands shoulder-width apart, with your arms outstretched under you. Keep your fingers spread. Your legs must neither be too far apart, nor should they touch each other. The distance between them must be less than your hip-width. Try not to put too much pressure in your hands or your knees. Even out your weight.
Now, slowly inhale and stretch your left leg behind you, lifting up your hip. Curl your toes and lift yourself up on them. Exhale. Inhale and stretch your right leg. Slowly put your heels down and come to rest on them. Let your head hang down naturally. Do not stiffen your neck. Otherwise, you will be putting pressure on your spine.
Stay in this posture for five minutes. Increase the time each time you do the pose. You should feel your abdomen tightening and your quadriceps stretching.
Now exhale and slowly step forward to sink back to your knees. Sit back on your heels.
II. Tree Pose: Another common pose, this is not as simple as it looks. Stand straight with your feet shoulder width apart. Inhale and raise your arms above your head. Now, slowly raise your right foot and rest it against your inner left thigh. Place your palms together and stretch as much as you can. Stay in the pose for about a minute.
Exhale and release your foot. Now, repeat the process with the other foot.
This pose should strengthen your abs, thighs and your feet. Your sense of balance will also improve.
III. Warrior Pose I: Stand straight with your feet shoulder width apart. Exhale and move your feet so that they are two to three feet apart. Stretch your arms above your head. Move your right foot 90 degrees to the right and the left around 60 degrees to the right.
Rotate your torso to the right and arch your back a little. Bend your right knee so that the right shin is perpendicular to the floor. With time, you will be able to align your right thigh parallel to the floor. Look straight ahead or look up at your hands. Stay in the pose for about 40 seconds to a minute.
Now repeat with the other leg.
This pose is not only an ab workout; it also strengthens and defines your thighs, shoulders, ankles, calves, and chest.
Just add these three poses to your crunches and pull-ups, keep at them for a few weeks and you are likely to spot the difference.