by MyYogaWorks blogger Laurel House
Are you happy with your bikini body? If you feel like your abs could use a little trimming I've got the no-sit-up solution. Yoga.
It's ok… you can admit that one of the reasons you love your yoga practice is because of its awesome abs side effects. Yes, yoga is known for facilitating the mind/body/earth connection. It also can't help itself but shape your body into the coveted, well, "yoga body"- tight, tone, trim and just super sexy! Especially when it comes to the stomach.
The fact is that you can crunch until the cows come home and still have a muffin top folding over your short shorts or bathing suit bottom. If you want a flat stomach you've got to do more than just 3-digits worth of daily sit-ups. MyYogaWorks online yoga teacher, Jesse Schein explains, "most yoga asanas engage our core muscle groups in order to create stability and safe mobility throughout our bodies during our yoga practice." So you're pretty much engaged in a crunch for the entire hour or 90 minutes of practice!
Beyond the incidental ab work, you can specifically target your core with a series of stomach-specific asanas that will leave you sore- which is a good thing! A few favorite ab-toning poses include boat pose, yoga bicycles, plank to chaturanga, knee to nose to triceps to opposite triceps. But Jesse reminds us that "you never want to engage your core muscles SO MUCH that it interrupts the flow of your ujjai breath." Short yet effective ab-centric routines are best, like this one that Jesse created just for you…
To keep your mind and body connected to breath while firing up your abs, Jesse suggests these 9 tips:
1. Remember that the "burn" you feel is your muscle getting stronger!
2. It's NEVER too late or too soon to strengthen your core.
3. Keep your gaze soft and every muscle in your face relaxed as the pose intensifies.
4. Complement the intensity you feel in your center by imagining your head getting a massage.
5. It's hard work to gain this strength but even harder to lose it once you have it.
6. All it takes is three to four times a week for a few minutes to FEEL a difference.
7. You have WAY more inner strength than you give yourself credit for! Pushing yourself to take just 2 more breaths or holding for just 10 more seconds might be incredibly uncomfortable in the moment, but breathe through that discomfort and you WILL get to the other side and feel a new found sense of strength and courage.
8. ALWAYS give yourself a pat on the back after ANY amount of core work you do.
9. It's not about the six pack, it's about the feeling of inner strength, confidence and courage that a strong core center allows you to feel.
Forget crunches. For fab bikini abs, strike a pose instead.