It’s summertime, and you know what that means: cute crop tops, bikinis and a whole lot of reasons to expose your midriff. But if you’re not feeling super confident with how your core is looking, we’ve got your back (um, front?). This yoga flow is sure to tighten up your core and have you looking toned in no time.
Time: 2 minutes
Equipment: Yoga mat
Good for: Total-body toning
Instructions: Flow from one yoga pose to the next, repeating on both sides where noted. Complete the yoga flow as many times as you’d like. You can also hold each pose for more than one breath, to make the flow a bit longer.
How to: Stand with feet parallel and slightly wider than your hips, your spine tall and a soft bend in your knees. Fold your torso over your legs, bringing your chest as close to your legs as possible and the crown of your head towards the mat. Hold for a breath, then jump your feet back into plank position.
How to: Position your hands below your shoulders, with your hands pressed into the mat. Extend your legs behind you, toes pressed into the floor. Maintain a straight line from heels through the top of your head, looking down at the floor, with gaze slightly in front of your face. Now, tighten your abs and hold. Move to the next pose.
How to: From plank position, tuck your toes, lift your hips up and back, and extend your legs. Press your shoulders towards the floor and relax your neck. Spread your fingers wide on your mat, with palms pressed against the floor. Move to the next pose.
How to: From downward dog position, lift one leg into the air, so it forms a straight line with your spine. Move to the next pose.
Knee to elbow
How to: From one-legged dog, bring your lifted leg forward. Bend your knee as you shift your weight forward. Tap your knee to your elbow. Then shift backward and extend your leg into the air. Repeat one-legged dog and knee to elbow on the other side. Then move to the next pose.
How to: From plank position, rotate your body so your legs are straight and your left leg is stacked on top of your right. Position yourself so your weight is resting on your right hand and the outside edge of your right foot. Your hand should be directly beneath your shoulder.
Raise your left hand into the air. Align your body so it forms a straight line from your neck to your ankles. You can also lift your left leg into the air for an extra challenge. Hold for a couple breaths before moving to the other side.Return to plank position, then continuing to the next pose.
How to: From plank position, tuck your toes, lift your hips up and back, and extend your legs. Press your shoulders toward the floor and relax your neck. Spread your fingers wide on your mat, with palms pressed against the floor. Move to the next pose.
How to: From downward dog, jump your feet to meet your hands at the front of the mat. Bring your chest as close to your legs as possible and the crown of your head toward the mat. Hold for a breath, then move to the next pose.
How to: From forward fold, raise your body up and lift your hands over your head. Slowly bring them back down and fold them in front of your chest. Stand with your feet parallel and pressed firmly into the mat. Imagine you are hugging a block between your feet. Complete the entire flow as many times as you’d like.
This article was originally published in Women's Health SA.