5 simple yoga exercises for a toned abdomen

Do you hate crunches and other typical exercises for a tight stomach? Then try these easy yoga exercises for great abs!

Especially in summer, a flat, toned stomach is the dream goal for many a woman. But classic abdominal exercises like crunches are not only strenuous, they can also damage the lower back and pelvic floor if not performed correctly. That's why yoga expert José Martín Fernández has put together five simple yoga exercises at vogue.es that will help you tone your stomach and train your abdominal muscles.

1. the boat pose (navasana)
With the boat pose, you can train not only your abdominal muscles but also your back and buttocks. Sit on the floor with your legs straight. Make sure your back and neck remain straight, then bend your legs and extend them straight up. At the same time, raise your arms straight out past your legs and hold the tension for five to ten deep breaths through your abdominal muscles. Then slowly lower the legs. Repeat this exercise three times.

2. the Plank (Phalakasana)
Admittedly, the Plank isn't really easy - but not only is it an often-used yoga exercise, but it's also perfect for strengthening the abdominals, arms, and shoulders. There are different levels of difficulty, but the basic posture is always the same: Lie prone on the floor, then use your toes and forearms to push yourself up. Make sure to keep your legs and back straight and tense your abdominal muscles. Beginners hold the pose for five to ten breaths, advanced students can gradually increase the number of breaths.

3. abdominal twist pose (Jathara Parivartanasana).
This exercise strengthens the hips and pelvis in addition to the external oblique abdominal muscles. Lie on your back and open your arms sideways to the cross. Inhale deeply, place both legs at a 90-degree angle and then, as you exhale, lower them to the right or left until the front knee touches the floor. Caution: Keep your hips on the floor as much as possible! In parallel, turn the head sideways in the opposite direction to the floor. As you inhale again, straighten your legs and lower them to the other side. Repeat several times on both sides.

4. dead beetle (Supta Utthita Padasana) 
Want strong triceps, biceps, and core? Then the dead beetle is the right yoga pose for you! Lie on your back and stretch out your arms and legs. The palms of your hands and the tops of your feet point to the ceiling. Make sure that you do not go into a hollow back. Extend your legs upward at a right angle. Then pull the left knee toward the chest and extend the right knee slightly forward. At the same time, extend your left arm above your head and rest it. Perform the exercise slowly and with concentration, changing the position of arms and legs several times. 

5th Hand-Leg Raise (Dandayamana Bharmanasana)
Both the back and the abdomen benefit from the hand-leg raise. To do this, get into the quadruped position and make sure your back is straight. Then extend one leg and one arm in opposite directions - for example, the left leg and the right arm. Stretch your back as long as you can and tense your abdomen. You can either look straight down or slightly forward, just make sure that your neck does not tense up. Hold the pose for about five slow breaths, return to the quadruped position, and switch sides. You should repeat the exercise five times per side.


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