Admit it: as the weather cools down, it gets harder and harder to motivate yourself to get to the gym. Luckily, you don’t have to. Keep that summer body in check at home–and gain a little zen in the process–by adding some simple-yet effective yoga stretches to your daily routine. Here are a few of the best yoga poses to practice that’ll help you get flatter abs in no time.
1. Chair Pose. Easy to do early in the morning or before bed, chair pose is your go-to work your abdominal muscles and strengthen the spine. Begin in the traditional mountain pose, then raise your arms upward at a 90 degree angle to the floor. Next, bend your knees so that they are parallel with the floor. Breathe in and out. Hold the stretch for about 30 seconds. Release and repeat.
2. Boat Pose. A great overall stretch for the abs as well as a full body workout, boat pose is a must to add into your regimen. For this stretch, grab your yoga mat. Start in a sitting position, and extend your arms forward and your legs out. From there, continue to lift your legs upward in a V or boat shape. Hold for a few breaths and repeat for five to 10 reps. But don’t feel like you have to jump right in! Adjust this pose by letting your legs hover a bit lower for a half boat if you’re not feeling the fully extended pose.
3. Plank Pose. Even if you’re new to yoga, you’ve probably heard–or attempted–this pose in an exercise class or two. And there’s a reason. If you’re looking to tone your abs, plank pose is the way to do it. To get the benefits of this stretch, it requires you to start on all fours just like you are going to do a push up. Make sure your back is straight. Hold for up to one minute. If you want to up the intensity, try some more advanced plank poses for a deeper stretch.
[Photo: Shelby Rodriguez]