Something that has stuck with me for a very long time, and has become a pride possession of mine is my flat stomach. I’ve always loved to work to make sure it stays in good shape and have been rather lucky with it. Some of my clients however struggle with a workout that allows them to achieve that perfect lean that they want to reach. So I put together a set of complex exercises to get that lean stomach and strong core muscles not just to look good, or feel good, but to also look and feel healthy. It is important to note, that the most important part is to love yourself and practice a lot of self-care before any practice.
These exercises are not something you need to focus completely on in hopes to look completely different and you don’t need look at the mirror every 5 seconds to try and see a different. I urge you to enjoy the process, every single moment, so that every exercise becomes your favorite and the shape you want will come to you with pride and joy. The secret to lean and healthy stomach is to be patient to yourself, be mindful about what are you’re doing, put the right intentions into your practice. Remember, it’s the spirit that builds the body!
1. Sit on the floor, cross your legs and place your hands freely on your knees. Stretch from the tip of your head to the bottom of your tailbone, it is important, in this position, to keep the spine straight. Inhale, while doing that open your chest outwards. Exhale, making sure to round your spine and pull your pelvis upwards as if trying to chase the air upwards. The hands should stay on you knees but the elbows should be straightened. On the inhale, repeat it by straightening your spine once again and opening your chest area. With the exhale it is important to again engage your core muscles and really pull your navel inward. Repeat this exercise for a couple of minutes, with emphases on your spine mobility and breathing.
2. From the previous pose, we roll back onto our spine so we are lying down. Then pull your legs upwards, straightening them. The neck and head should be relaxed as we assume the position with the legs at a 90* angle. Breathe deeply and calmly, with every exhale pull your navel inwards as if we want to touch it to the floor through our spine. We stay in that position for a couple of minutes.
3. After this, we cross our legs and roll back so we are in a sitting position. Then uncross the legs and pull them upwards so they are a few inches from our chest. It is important to keep your spine straight when doing this exercise. As for the knees you can either keep them bent or straighten them if you are more advanced in the position. Keep your arms at your side, straight with your shoulders rolled backwards. We hold this position for 5 breaths and repeat it 5-10 times, taking small breaks in between.
4. We fold our legs and come back to the seating position we started in. Then we rise to our feet, spreading them shoulder width apart and drop the pelvic bone lower as if you’re about to sit down. Keep your spine straight and your arms too. When we inhale we try to stretch our spine and rise higher, when we exhale, we tighten our core muscles and pull in the pelvic bone. We stay in this position for 5 breaths, on the next inhale we lengthen the spine and rise higher, than on the exhale we extend the legs and drop the arms, coming into the mounting pose. Repeat this 5-10 times.
5. From there, we assume the cat and cow position, by standing on our knees and hands. As we inhale we arch our spine, then on the exhale, we tighten the stomach and clench the core muscles by rounding the spine. We repeat this position for a couple of minutes in your own breathing rhythm.
6. On the next breath, we straighten the right hand and the left leg, and reach in the opposite directions as if trying to elongate ourselves. On the exhale, by rounding the spine and sucking in the core muscles, we touch the right elbow and the left knee, making sure we empathize the rounding of the spine. Repeat this with the opposite arm and leg. Then switch over once again, performing this pose 10 times for each. The position should not be rushed, but instead, done with a lot of care and significance.
7. You can repeat the cat and cow position a couple of times.
8. Then, keeping your hands on the floor, extend your legs and assume the plank position. Importantly, we need to keep the shoulder right above the wrist so you are at the perfect 90-degree angle, and the hand should be spread so the weight distributes around the fingers and palm. We hold the plank for 20 seconds, around 5-10 times. In this position it’s important to suck the tummy in and always keep the back straight by reaching forwards with the tip of your head.
9. Now inhale, and then as you breathe out, pull one of your knees upwards and towards your elbow. Transfer your body weight onto your hands, and contract your stomach muscles. Roll onto your toes and round the spine. Make sure to keep the shin of your airborne foot parallel to the floor. On the next inhale, we return to the plank position and when exhaling repeat the same process only with the other leg. 10 times for each side.
10. Now you can either return to the child pose or even better the cat and cow position. And stay there for a couple of minutes.
11. From there, extend the legs and going into the forearm plank. The elbow should be directly below your shoulder. Pushing your body upwards using your shoulders and forearms, you engage the core muscles and elongate your self from the top of your head once again. We inhale and when breathing out we roll on the sols of our feet to the right, making sure we keep ourselves above the ground. We hold this position for as long as your exhale lasts. As you inhale, you return to the center and on the next exhale, you roll to the left doing the same as previously. Repeat 10 times for each side.
12. Come back to the child’s pose. Take a few breaths.
13. From the child’s pose, we return to our knees and by pushing our pelvis up and away from our body we go into downward-facing dog. As this is a dynamic pose, we do not rest but move our body weight from one leg to the other. Then stepping a little bit closer and push the heels of our feet to the floor, no longer stepping. Take a deep breath and on the exhale, reach with one hand to grab the opposite angles. It’s very important that you suck your tummy in and clench the core muscle. On the next breath we return to the starting position and repeat the exercise wit the opposing arm during the exhale. Again it’s important not to rush but to feel your body and take care when stretching and pulling yourself into the twist. Each time we remain in the pose for 5 breaths. 10 times for each side.
14. From there we return to child’s pose. And carefully and slowly we calm our breathing and relax our muscles and mind. Taking time to restore our strength.
Take care and enjoy your practice. Namaste.