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3 Yoga-Approved Moves for Flat Abs

Yoga | Yoga for Beginners

Back in the day while I was a Bad Yogi in training, I taught Pilates to help get me through college. Classes were tough—we focused heavily on toning the muscles, improving our posture, and strengthening the core.

While I don’t really teach Pilates anymore, I can’t help but borrow a few things from my old format to incorporate into my yoga classes these days.

So the good news (or bad news, depending on your view) is that any class you take with me will inevitably be haunted by my friendly Core-Blasting Pilates Ghost, and we won’t be doing your standard Crunch or Plank. Nope, this ghost packs a much bigger punch than any of that.

Try these three moves to tone your core. After all, beach season is right around the corner…

1. Dolphin


Start on your hands and knees with your wrists under shoulders and knees under hips. Keep your forearms down and press your palms into the mat. Tuck your toes under to lift your hips up towards the sky as you would in Down Dog.

Walk the toes towards your head enough so the head isn’t sitting on the floor. Press firmly into the forearms and gently hug the underarms in. Brace the belly and hold for a minimum of 8 deep breaths. Rest in Child’s Pose.

2. Side Plank Digs


Starting in a Side Plank with the feet scissored (so if you start on your right arm, scissor the feet so the left foot is in front of you, as pictured), stretch the top arm up so the joints are stacked.

On an exhale, brace the abs, lift the hips up towards the sky, and “dig” your opposite hand towards the back. Return to your Side Plank on an inhale and repeat 8 times on each side.

3. Tabletop Planks


Starting on your hands and knees with your wrists under shoulders and knees under hips, brace the core strongly. Keep the arms straight and the back flat. Press firmly into the balls of the feet to lift the knees off the mat so they hover.

Extend one leg back and keep the knee and toes facing down so the hip stays closed. Hold the extension for 30 seconds (kudos if you hold it longer!) and repeat on the other side. Hold each side three times.

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