The first step to toning your abs is to know exactly how much you want to reduce, weight-wise and inch-wise. Just like you cannot drive a petrol car by filling it with diesel, you cannot get a fit body if you are feeding it unhealthy junk food. So go easy on the diet and practice these asanas with dedication.
Lie on your back, feet together, arms besides your body and take a deep breath. When you exhale, lift your chest and feet off the ground while simultaneously stretching your arms towards your feet. Your abdominal muscles will contract and you will feel tension around your navel. Breathe deeply and hold the pose. Exhale and relax.
Lie on your stomach, forehead touching the floor, legs close together, and toes pointing outwards. Keep your palms under your shoulders, elbows parallel to and close to your torso. Breathe deeply and lift your head, chest and abdomen off the floor. Do not raise your navel off the floor and pull your torso back. Try to straighten your arms while arching your back. Make sure your shoulders are relaxed and away from your ears. Breathe out and bring your abdomen, chest and head back to the floor.
Stand straight with your feet slightly apart and stretch your hands in front with the palms facing the floor. Bend your knees and push your pelvis down as if to sit on an imaginary chair. Make sure your hands are parallel to the ground and your back is straight. Hold the position for a few seconds and then slowly come back to standing position.
Stand straight with your arms at the side. Take a deep breath and lift your arms while keeping your biceps close to your ears. Breathe out and bend down from the waist. Keep your spine erect and place your palms next to your feet. Using your palms for support push your right leg back. You can rest the right knee on the floor. Push your left leg back as well and make sure you support your body weight on your palms and toes. Bring your knees to the floor followed by your abdomen, chest and chin. Keep your hips off the floor. Only your feet, palms, knees, chest and chin should be on the floor. Raise your torso while supporting your weight with your hands in the Cobra position. Breathe out and lift your hips and tailbone such that you form an inverted ‘V’. Breathe in and bring your right knee forward, close to your torso and stretch. Bring your left leg forward; keep your palms on the floor besides your feet and straighten up. Lift your arms and bend backwards. Bring your arms down and relax.
- Take care of your spine while performing the asanas. It is very difficult to work on your abs if your spine is weak.
- If your spine is under stress, you cannot sleep well. If you don’t sleep well, your body won’t relax. Relaxation is of primary importance because that when your mind is calm, your body heals itself.
- End your workouts with Bhujangasna and Shalabasana. Both asanas are great for strengthening and working out the spine.
- Do not tire yourself by pushing yourself to do far more than your body is capable of. While some people start noticing a difference within one week of performing yogasanas, it can take others up to four weeks.
- Working out more intensely will not help you tone up faster. You might end up injuring yourself with such an approach.
- Be in sync with your body, go with the flow and enjoy your yogasanas. Accept your limitations and work on improving a little each time.
- While performing an asana, one must focus on the stretch and the tension created in the body. Be constantly aware of each part of the body that is affected. After 20-25 seconds relax completely. Observe your breathing and perform another round only when you feel you are ready to.
- When yoga is done in a group, people tend to compete with each other, which completely annihilates the purpose. Perform an asana, relax and then go for another round all in your own time. Remember you are competing only with yourself and no one else.
- Pay attention to posture. If you feel pain, bring it to your trainer’s notice immediately, who will customise the asana for you. Beginners must perform these asanas under supervision. It is imperative to learn from an instructor with a reputable background.
Written By : Bushra S Khan