Let's face it, there's nothing sexier than a lean, toned stomach! Throughout the ages a six-pack has been the mark of strength, fitness, charisma and appeal. Not only do these muscles look good but they serve very practical purposes in all types of movements. A combination of the rectus abdominus, transverse abdominus, external and internal obliques allow our torso to move miraculously in all sorts of directions.
Now what does a six-pack have to do with yoga? First, yogis believe that a strong digestive system is the keystone for overall health and wellness. Second, the core is connected to the third chakra, "Manipura." This chakra is connected to our confidence and self-esteem. The more robust our confidence is, the more likely it is we'll overcome obstacles, resistance, insecurity, self-doubt, and fear. This means we live an incredibly empowered life seeing our goals, visions, and dreams become reality.
For these movements, inhale through the nose and try to exhale through the mouth. I suggest doing this routine three times a week. Move with awareness and mindfulness. Be sure to follow a healthy, nutritional plan to get that awesome washboard look.
Sunbird Flow 1
Start in table top pose. Lift leg up and right arm forward like you're about to shake a friend's hand. Pull the extended limbs away from each other on an inhale, and then curl right elbow to left knee on the exhale. Continue 10-30 reps, then switch to the other side.
Sunbird Flow 2
Boat Pump 1
Starting in Boat Pose (Navasana), lower halfway down on an inhale, then rise up on the exhale. Feel free to bend the knees as a modification (shown in the following slide).
Boat Pump 2
Boat Twist 1
Starting in Boat Pose (Navasana), bring the hands together, interlacing all fingers except indexes. Twist to the right (hold at least 5 breaths), twist to the left (hold at least 5 breaths), come back to the middle separating the hands shoulder width apart (holding at least 5 breaths). At the end, take a last inhale, really lifting legs and chest, then exhale release easily all the way onto the floor.
Boat Twist 2
Reclining Bound Angle 1
With the soles of the feet together and the knees opening out, interlace the fingers behind the neck. Hold here as you inhale, then lift the chest up engaging the core. Repeat 10-30 reps.
Reclining Bound Angle 2
Leg Lifts 1
Lying on the back, lift the legs up and slide the hands underneath the low back, with palms facing down. Lower the legs down right above the ground as you inhale, then lift the legs back up as you exhale. To modify, you can put a bend in the knees or scissor kick one leg toward the floor at a time. Repeat 10-30 reps.
Leg Lifts 2
Side Abdominal Flow
Begin by lying on on your left side, legs stacked, bring the right hand behind the head and left hand on right ribs. Hold here as you inhale, then pull your right elbow up to your right knee on the exhale. Repeat on both sides 10-30 reps.
Similar to plank pose (upper push up) except bring your forearms on the ground shoulder width apart and shoulders stacked right above the elbows. Press the heels back, draw the navel towards the front spine, extend the chest forward and make sure you keep your face soft. Hold for 30 seconds to 2 minutes.
Climb The Rope
Lying on your back, lift the legs straight up. Imagine there's a rope dangling by your feet, reach up and grab that rope. Hand over hand, fist over fist, climb that rope for 30 seconds to 2 minutes.
Start by lying on your back, and interlace the fingers behind the neck with the knees into the chest. Hold here as you inhale, and on the exhale bring your right elbow to your left knee as you extend the right forward. Come back to the starting position on the inhale, then switch sides on the exhale. Flow from 30 seconds to 2 minutes.
With your big toes together, your knees opened out, allow your hips to rest towards the heels and bring your forehead to the floor. Take several deep breaths down into the belly allowing the effects of this core series to seep in. Hold from 30 seconds to 2 minutes.