…But you have to work on them in yoga class too! So for Day 1 of Week 2 do a bit of abs work. The great thing about yoga (and particularly about our classes) is that most yoga moves involve the core. Every single time you do a rep of the Surya Namaskar, you’re utilizing your core strength. So today practice a few rounds of the Surya Namaskar to warm up and then start with your leg raises. You can do 3 sets of 15 each. Take a small break and repeat twice more. You can choose to plank and side plank as well. These moves engage the core and strengthen the arms as well.
The Naukasana (The Boat Pose) is an awesome way to strengthen the abs and also to test your balance. Start with lying down on the floor and raise your torso and legs up at the same time. No jerky movements. Keep your legs absolutely straight. Push your shoulders back and try and expand the chest. Elongate the neck. Breathe. You should be balancing on your tailbone.
Setubandhasana (The Bridge Pose)
After the Naukasana you can start to stretch your abs a little bit. Start with the Setubandhasana. Start with keeping your feet about hip width apart. Keep your arms on the floor next to your body with your palms flat on the floor. Push into the floor with your hands and press your feet into the floor and raise your hips up. Tighten your glutes to take the load off of your back. Make sure that your ankles and knees are in one line and perpendicular to the floor. Once your hips are as high as you can take them lift your hands and place them on the small of your back. Your fingers should be facing each other and thumbs should be on the outside, circling your waist. This helps in strengthening the arms and wrists. Try and get your elbows as close to each other as possible. Your shoulders should also be pushed back and chest should be expanded. You should also experience the Jalandhar Bandha.
Chakrasana (The Wheel Pose)
After the Setubandhasana, the Chakrasana is a great way to deepen the stretch on the torso. As a prep, you can practice holding the Bhujangasana. After this lie down on the floor on your back. Bend your arms and place your hands under your shoulders. Bend your legs and bring your feet as close to your hips as possible. Lift your hips up first just like you did in the Setubandhasana. Then start to push your hands into the floor and raise the shoulders up as well.
The Halasana or the Plough Pose
When you practice back bends its important to do complementary poses as well. The complementary pose for the Chakrasana is the Halasana. In the Halasana you must try and get your spine straight. The Jalandhar Bandha in the Halasana is a deeper and stronger one than the one in the Setubandhasana. Keep your elbows locked and arms clasped. Push your shoulders away from your ears.
Try this cool variation as well:
Remember after all this you must go into the Savasana and allow your spine to rest and relax.