2 Advanced Yoga Ab Exercises

These yogic postures for the abs use slow, conscious movement, proper breathing mechanics, and the use of sound. Conscious breathing, especially the gentle tightening of the front belly on each exhalation, can encourage and then sustain the strength and tone of the abdominals. The use of sound further enhances this kind of breathing.

Arching with the suck’em up posture

The suck’em up posture strengthens and tones the abdominal muscles and the internal organs. The posture is especially beneficial for relieving constipation.

  1. Start on your hands and knees, with your hands just below your shoulders and your knees at hip width.

  2. Inhale deeply through your nose.

  3. Exhale through your mouth, and hump your back like a camel as you bring your chin down.

    When you have fully exhaled, don’t immediately inhale; hold your breath where it is and then suck your belly up toward your spine.

    Wait 2 to 3 seconds with the belly up and breath restrained, as long as you don’t end up gasping for air.

    [Credit: Photograph by Adam Latham]
    Credit: Photograph by Adam Latham
  4. As you inhale, return to the starting position and then pause for a breath or two.

  5. Repeat Steps 2 through 4 four to six times, pausing for a breath or two between each repetition.

Do this exercise only on an empty stomach, and avoid it if you’re having stomach pain or cramps of any kind because it may intensify the symptoms. Also avoid this exercise during menstruation.

Exhaling “soundly”

The use of sound exercise strengthens and tones the abdomen and its internal organs, in addition to strengthening the muscles of the diaphragm.

  1. Sit in a chair or on the floor, with your spine comfortably upright.

    If you find yourself slumping, sit on a folded blanket or other Yoga props.

  2. Place the palm of your right hand on your navel so that you can feel your belly contracting as you exhale.

  3. Take a deep inhalation through your nose and, as you exhale, make the sound ah, ma, or sa.

    Continue sounding this consonant for as long as you can do so comfortably.

  4. Repeat Steps 2 and 3 six to eight times.

    Pause for a resting breath or two between each sound.

If you’re on a detox program of any kind and the use of sound gives you a headache, work with other exercises instead.

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