One of the biggest misconceptions about yoga is that it doesn’t help to develop muscles.
It most definitely helps to develop and strengthen your muscles!
If you’ve ever been standing for a long time in one position you know how your muscles start to ache from the strain.
Magnify that by 10 and you have yoga.
The Best Yoga Poses for Flat Abs
First, we are going to take a look at some awesome yoga poses that focus on your core.
This pose works your abs because you have to stand focused on staying grounded on one leg. Because your abs are the core of your body that balance must come from them.
Shift your weight onto your left leg. Shift your weight onto your left leg. Draw your right knee into your chest, grab your ankle, and press the bottom of your right foot onto your left thigh.
If you feel wobbly keep your hand on your ankle while it’s pressed into your thigh. If you’re finding your balance really easily, press your palms together in front of your chest.
Brace your abdominals in tight to your spine, making sure you can still breathe easily. Find a focal point and focus your gaze while you hold the pose for 10 long, deep breaths. Repeat on the other leg.
Warrior Lunge Twist
In this posture, your abs do a ton of work by stabilizing and the twisting motion will ensure that your obliques get in some work as well.
Bring your hands into prayer pose. Lunge forward with your left leg and bend your knee about 90 degrees, keeping your back leg straight. Brace your abs in tight to your spine and rotate your upper body to the left. Keep your spine long as you lean over your left leg and press your right elbow into the outside of your left leg. Turn your head to look up toward the ceiling over your left shoulder. Hold for 10 long, deep breaths and then untwist and return to standing. Repeat on the other side.
Rock ‘n Roll Lotus
This is right out of a children’s tumbling session. This fun pose strengthens your core by helping your body stop.
Sit with your legs crossed at the ankles. Hold onto the outside of each ankle with your opposite hand, and lift your legs off the floor, balancing on your sitting bones. Pull your abs into your spine and take a deep breath in. As you exhale, begin to round onto your back. Continue rolling until your shoulder blades touch the floor, lifting your hips, still holding onto your ankles. Keeping your abs in tight, rock back up to sitting, finding your balance again on your sitting bones. That’s one rep. Repeat 10 times.
Downward Dog Variation
Downward dog is something that almost everyone is familiar with. This version keeps your abs firing multiple times through the hold and transition phases.
Begin in downward facing dog. Extend your left leg up to the ceiling, pointing your toes. Shift your weight forward and begin to lower your hips into a plank pose but instead of putting your left toes down, bend your left knee into your chest, lifting your abs into your spine during the entire movement. Press your hips back up and extend your left leg behind you as you return to downward facing dog. Repeat 10 times with the left leg, 10 with the right.
It’s amazing how much a strong core is required for balance.
Shift your weight into your right foot. Hug your left shin into your chest, then extend it straight back behind you so it’s parallel to the ground. Flex your left foot and point the toes down. Bring your fingertips to the ground to stabilize yourself if you need to. Reach your arms out in front of you so your body is in a straight line from your fingertips all the way down your back and out through your left heel. Stay here for 3 long, deep breaths then slowly return to standing. Repeat on the other side.
This pose is no joke and works your abs, thighs, and back.
Kneel on the floor with your knees hip-width apart, toes tucked under. Extend your arms out straight in front of your chest, palms facing down. Lift your chest and press your pelvis forward as you hinge backwards, arching slightly through your lower back. Pause and focus on opening up your chest while also keeping your ribcage down and your belly button drawn into your spine. Slowly return to the starting position. That’s one rep. Repeat up to 10 times.
Bridge With Leg Sweep
If you’re going to work on your abs you might as well get some work in with your butt and hamstrings as well. Your abs work as stabilizers here to help control the motion of your leg.
Lie on your back with knees bent, feet flat on the floor. Extend your arms by your sides, palms facing down. Brace your abs in tight and press through your heels to bridge your hips off the floor. Keeping your hips lifted and square, extend your left leg up to the ceiling, foot flexed. Sweep your left leg to the right, passing the midline of your body and then sweep back out to the left, slightly past your left hip. That’s one rep. Repeat 10 times (back and forth) with the left leg, and then switch legs and repeat 10 more times before lowering out of bridge.
Extended Boat Pose
Yoga is great at building muscle endurance along with strengthening your muscles. That’s what is so great about this pose since it focuses on both.
Sit on your hips with both legs extended in front of you. Place your hands behind your hips and keep your back long as you lean back slightly and lift your legs off the floor, holding your belly in and up the entire time. Reach both arms out to the sides of your thighs. Lower your legs about 45 degrees, until your body resembles a wide ‘V’. Hold this position for 10 long, deep breaths (or up to 60 seconds).
This is considered an active pose that works your abdominals by making them the workhorses as you shift your body back and forth.
Sit with your knees bent, feet flat on the floor, hip-width apart. Place your hands behind your hips, fingertips facing slightly into your body. Press down with your arms and lift your hips into tabletop position as shown.
Next, brace your abs in tight and extend your legs as you push your hips back until your pelvis is slightly behind your hips (without touching the floor), feet flexed. Hold for 1 count, scooping your abs in tight to your spine as you hold the position. Return to tabletop. That’s one rep. Repeat up to 10 times.
Lotus Hip Lift
This is a tough one for people just starting off! Even though it is a static pose the static contraction means your core never gets a chance to rest.
Sit with your legs crossed (or in full lotus if you can), palms pressed into the floor outside your hips, fingertips facing forward. Brace your abs in and press down with your arms and shoulders, lifting your hips a few inches off the floor. Hold for 3 counts and then lower.
If you can’t lift your hips off the floor at first, simply press down with your arms and shoulders and lift as high as you can until you’re stronger.
Stacked Side Plank
Lie on your right side with your knees straight. Place your right hand under your right shoulder. Lift your hips off the floor until your body forms a straight line from your ankles to your shoulders. Flex your feet and extend your left arm up to the ceiling. Breath deeply for the duration of the exercise. Hold this position for up to 60 seconds. Lower and repeat on the other side.
If this is too challenging, bend one (the bottom) or both knees to the floor to reduce the amount of weight that you have to lift.
Yoga Workouts for a Flat Stomach
Now that you know some yoga poses how about checking out these full on yoga workouts that target your abs.
20 Minute Yoga Routine
Beginners Yoga Flat Tummy, Abs & Core
10 Minute Yoga Workout Lose Your Belly Fat
20 Minute Yoga Workout: Bye-Bye BELLY FAT!!
There’s A Little More to It
It’s important to realize that although these poses and exercises are going to help you in your journey to flat abs, there are other things that need to take place for you to truly achieve a flat stomach. You can’t just do all of these and expect your stomach to stay flat. It takes a little more work and a healthy diet. Thrive/Strive has a 28-Day Weight Loss Challenge that’ll truly help you achieve the flat stomach you desire.