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Core Yoga Challenge 2: 12 Weeks To Sculpt A 6 Pack
Image Pose Description
yoga pose Chair Down Dog Arms UpSit on front of chair. Inhale. On exhale, extend feet and raise arms above head (so you're in classic Down Dog position).
Benefits: Strengthens arms. Engages core.
Video: https://www.youtube.com/embed/Cz0RPzpPHTA
yoga pose Chair Down Dog StandingFace seat. Step back with both feet holding onto chair. Bend knees. Keep length in spine. To exit walk forward.
Benefits: Stretches spine, hams, shoulders.
Video: https://www.youtube.com/embed/IlwgQzYYJ-4?rel=0
Precautions : Pregnant. High blood pressure. Headache.
yoga pose Chair PlankFace seat. Step back with both feet holding onto chair. Bend knees. Keep length in spine. Move into high plank. Keep moving between down dog to plank. To finish walk forward.
Benefits: Strengthens arms, wrists, spine. Tones abs
Video: https://www.youtube.com/embed/d0VCOLWIbbg?rel=0
Precautions : Carpal tunnel syndrome.
yoga pose Chair Plank Knee LiftFace seat. Step back with both feet holding onto chair. Bend knees. Raise right knee to chest. Repeat on other side. To finish walk forward.
Benefits: Strengthens arms, wrists, spine. Tones abs.
Video: https://www.youtube.com/embed/d0VCOLWIbbg?rel=0
Precautions : Carpal tunnel syndrome.
yoga pose End Of Sequence
yoga pose Uddiyana BandhaStand with feet slightly apart. Inhale deeply through nose. Exhale quickly and forcibly through nose. Contract abdominal muscles fully to push as much air as possible out of lungs. Relax abdominals. Repeat.
Benefits: Strengthens core muscles.
Video: https://www.youtube.com/embed/l2R0dkzkbzE
Modifications: Press palms against tops of thighs.
Precautions : Hernia. High blood pressure. Heart disease. Menstruation. Pregnancy.
yoga pose Plank On KneesBegin on hands and knees. Roll shoulders back and down. Finger tips point forward. Lift up in your middle as you step one foot straight back and then the other. Bring knees to mat.
Alternatives: Plank.
Benefits: Strengthens arms, wrists, spine. Tones abs.
Video: https://www.youtube.com/embed/l43cXcxA2Pk
Modifications: Knees on floor.
Precautions : Knee injury.
yoga pose PlankBegin on hands and knees. Knees under hips. Hands under shoulders. Roll shoulders back and down. Fingertips point forward. Don't splay elbows. Lift up in your middle as you step one foot straight back and then the other. Keep legs engaged in supporting the plank position. Hold.
Alternatives: Dolphin. One Legged Side Plank.
Benefits: Strengthens arms, wrists, spine. Tones abs.
Video: https://www.youtube.com/embed/pSWYGXSNjdE?rel=0
Modifications: Knees on floor. Use wall to place feet for support.
Precautions : Carpal tunnel syndrome
yoga pose Plank On ForearmsLie face down on mat. Arms bent. Elbows close to sides. Palms face down. Hands alongside head. Raise head off floor slightly. Rest tips of feet on mat. Engage core and leg muscles to raise body up. Support weight on forearms and toes. Gaze between arms. Hold.
Alternatives: Dolphin.
Benefits: Strengthens arms, wrists, spine. Tones abs.
Video: https://www.youtube.com/embed/wCBOqf-HrTI
Modifications: Knees on floor.
Precautions : Carpal tunnel syndrome. Pregnancy.
yoga pose Prone Leg Arm RaisesLie face down with forehead resting on mat. Align neck and head. Extend arms in front of you with palms facing down. Lengthen torso by stretching neck away from body. Engage abs. Look straight ahead. Raise left arm and right leg 6 inches. Hold. Lower to start. Raise right arm and left leg. Keep alternating.
Benefits: Strengthens shoulders, spine, buttocks, hamstrings. Tones abs.
Video: https://www.youtube.com/embed/YrrnXPh3gb8
Precautions : Neck and back injury. Headache.
yoga pose LocustLie flat on stomach. Feet together. Forehead on floor. Place arms by sides. Palms up. Stretch chin slightly forward. Rest chin on floor. Soften front of body. Lift chest, legs, arms off floor. Extend fingertips towards toes. Look straight ahead.
Alternatives: Legs up wall.
Benefits: Tones back muscles. Stimulate lower back.
Video: https://www.youtube.com/embed/582eV71P1sQ?rel=0
Modifications: 1 leg up. Wide legs. Hands under body, to side or in front.
Precautions : High blood pressure. Hernia. Back injury.
yoga pose Half BowLie on belly. Legs together. Bring chin to floor. Slide right arm along floor with palm facing down. Bend right knee. Reach left hand back to hold onto the right heel or ankle (opposite hand to foot). Kick right foot into arm to lift right leg. Raise head and chest. Keep neck in line with the spine. Gaze straight ahead. Press down into right arm, or raise right arm (keep parallel to floor). Hold. To release: exhale and lower leg, arm, head, chest to floor. Repeat on other side.
Benefits: Stretches thighs, groins, abs, chest, throat, hip flexors.
Video: https://www.youtube.com/embed/i85RRMmaMRw
Modifications: Use a strap.
Precautions : Back injury.
yoga pose BowLie on belly. Hands by torso. Palms up. Bend knees. Heels close to buttocks. Hold ankles. Knees hip width. Lift heels away from buttocks. Lift thighs. Burrow tailbone into floor. Keep back muscles soft. Press shoulder blades against back. Move shoulders away from ears. Gaze forward. Release.
Benefits: Stretches thighs, groins, abs, chest, throat, hip flexors.
Video: https://www.youtube.com/embed/FCuSE4oS9xc?rel=0
Modifications: Use a strap.
Precautions : Back injury.
yoga pose Bow StrapLie on belly. Find middle of strap. Loop middle around tops of feet. Take strap in your hands. Knees hip width apart. Lift heels away from buttocks. Lift thighs. Burrow tailbone into floor. Keep back muscles soft. Press shoulder blades against back. Move shoulders away from ears. Gaze forward. Release.
Benefits: Stretches thighs, groins, abs, chest, throat, hip flexors.
Video: https://www.youtube.com/embed/OzSKtpX9Q1E
Precautions : Back injury.
yoga pose Side PlankStart in Plank (top of a push-up). Extend body. Step feet together. Press weight down through right hand and forearm. Roll body to right, balancing on outer edge of right foot. Stack left foot on top of right foot. Keep legs straight. Extend left arm to the sky. Reach through fingertips as you lift hips. Press through heels into floor. Bring body into one straight line. Gaze at top thumb. Press down through your bottom index finger. Hold. Repeat on other side.
Benefits: Stretches wrists and backs of legs.
Video: https://www.youtube.com/embed/dFCrqn0RzJA
Modifications: Lower right knee and shin to mat.
Precautions : Arm, shoulder or wrist injury.
yoga pose Side Plank Knee CrunchLay on left side. Place left hand on ground. Push upper body off ground, lifting hips until only thing touching the mat are edges of feet and hand. Lift right arm and right knee. Bring knee and elbow together. Repeat. Switch.
Alternatives: Side Plank.
Benefits: Strengthens wrists, arms, legs. Builds strong core.
Video: https://www.youtube.com/embed/w4lxFe9til8
Precautions : Arm, shoulder or wrist injury.
yoga pose Upward PlankSit with legs in front. Hands behind. Lift hips high. Release head. Push feet into mat.
Benefits: Strengthen back.
Video: https://www.youtube.com/embed/iDZ73xcunDU?rel=0
Modifications: A) Upward plank on forearms. B) Upward plank with leg raised. C) Upward plank with head and shoulders on a chair.
Precautions : Wrist injury.
yoga pose End Of Sequence
yoga pose Downward Facing Dog Knees BentStart in Mountain. Forward bend. Step feet back one at time. Lift buttocks. Lengthen spine. Bend knees. Tuck chin in. Look at feet. Release jaw.
Alternatives: Down Dog. Dolphin.
Benefits: Stretches spine, hams, shoulders. Calms nervous system.
Video: https://www.youtube.com/embed/GuxnaIcILFQ
Modifications: Use wall. Head on block. Leg up. Arm up. Wide stance.
Precautions : Pregnant. HBP. Headache.
yoga pose Cat CowSit with buttocks on heels. Come onto all fours. Wrists under shoulders. Pull navel into small of back. Inhale while raising head. Exhale, while lowering head and arching spine up like a cat. Repeat.
Benefits: Stretches lower back. Engage care. Decompress spine.
Video: https://www.youtube.com/embed/kqnua4rHVVA
Modifications: Knee to chest. Raise leg or arm.
Precautions : Neck injury.
yoga pose Downward Facing DogStart in Mountain. Forward bend. Step feet back one at time. Lift buttocks. Lengthen spine. Press down through heels. Tuck chin in. Look at feet. Release jaw.
Alternatives: Dolphin.
Benefits: Stretches spine, hams, shoulders. Calms nervous system.
Video: https://www.youtube.com/embed/ayRU3ecmPbI?rel=0
Modifications: A) Use a wall. B) Head on a block. C) Leg up. D) Arm up. E) Wide stance.
Precautions : Pregnant. High blood pressure. Headache.
yoga pose Cat CowSit with buttocks on heels. Come onto all fours. Wrists under shoulders. Pull navel into small of back. Inhale while raising head. Exhale, while lowering head and arching spine up like a cat. Repeat.
Benefits: Stretches lower back. Engage care. Decompress spine.
Video: https://www.youtube.com/embed/kqnua4rHVVA
Modifications: Knee to chest. Raise leg or arm.
Precautions : Neck injury.
yoga pose Downward Facing Dog Knee To NoseCome into Downward Facing Dog. Raise right leg up and bring knee to nose. Repeat on other side.
Alternatives: Dolphin.
Benefits: Stretches spine, hams, shoulders. Calms nervous system.
Video: https://www.youtube.com/embed/PyNP6ZkNvFg
Modifications: Wide stance.
Precautions : Pregnant. Headache.
yoga pose Cat CowSit with buttocks on heels. Come onto all fours. Wrists under shoulders. Pull navel into small of back. Inhale while raising head. Exhale, while lowering head and arching spine up like a cat. Repeat.
Benefits: Stretches lower back. Engage care. Decompress spine.
Video: https://www.youtube.com/embed/kqnua4rHVVA
Modifications: Knee to chest. Raise leg or arm.
Precautions : Neck injury.
yoga pose Downward Facing Dog Leg UpFrom Downward Facing Dog try as many variations as you can: Lift left leg. Lift right leg. Lift left hand. Lift right hand. Lift left leg and right hand. Lift right leg and left hand. Wag your doggie tail. Widen stance. Come up onto toes. Bend knees.
Alternatives: Dolphin.
Benefits: Fun.
Video: https://www.youtube.com/embed/ayRU3ecmPbI?rel=0
Modifications: A) Use wall. B) Head on block. C) Leg up. D) Arm up. E) Wide stance.
Precautions : Pregnant.
yoga pose Cat CowSit with buttocks on heels. Come onto all fours. Wrists under shoulders. Pull navel into small of back. Inhale while raising head. Exhale, while lowering head and arching spine up like a cat. Repeat.
Benefits: Stretches lower back. Engage care. Decompress spine.
Video: https://www.youtube.com/embed/kqnua4rHVVA
Modifications: Knee to chest. Raise leg or arm.
Precautions : Neck injury.
yoga pose Downward Facing Dog SplitStart in Downward Facing Dog. Raise right leg while keeping hips level (hips stay squared with floor). Equal weight in both arms. Extend through raised right heel and crown of head. After holding pose with hips squared for several breaths, open right hip, stacking it over left hip (allows right leg to go higher). Keep torso from twisting left. Bend right knee. Right heel toward left buttock. Hold. Straighten right leg and square hips toward floor. Release right foot to floor. Repeat on left side.
Benefits: Hip stretch.
Video: https://www.youtube.com/embed/yMIqo5YIsA8
Modifications: Head on block.
Precautions : Pregnant. High blood pressure.
yoga pose Cat CowSit with buttocks on heels. Come onto all fours. Wrists under shoulders. Pull navel into small of back. Inhale while raising head. Exhale, while lowering head and arching spine up like a cat. Repeat.
Benefits: Stretches lower back. Engage care. Decompress spine.
Video: https://www.youtube.com/embed/kqnua4rHVVA
Modifications: Knee to chest. Raise leg or arm.
Precautions : Neck injury.
yoga pose Downward Facing Dog RevolvedCome into Downward Facing Dog. Lift left hand and reach it beneath torso and around to right thigh. Allow waist and torso to twist open to the right. Place left hand on ground to outside of right foot. If that is not possible, rest hand on outside of right shin or upper thigh. Turn head to look underneath right arm. Gaze up. Hold. To release un-twist and return left hand to mat. Come back into Downward-Facing Dog. Repeat on other side.
Alternatives: Dolphin.
Benefits: Stretches spine, hams, shoulders. Calms nervous system.
Video: https://www.youtube.com/embed/ZnJ2f9AHWyM
Modifications: Use wall. Head on block.
Precautions : Pregnant. High blood pressure. Headache.
yoga pose Revolved Side Angle IIIf in full Revolved Side Angle, you have trouble balancing bring knee to mat. Stabilise front leg by pressing inner thigh down. Press down through root of big toe. To deepen the twist as you bind, keep outer thigh strong and press arm against outer thigh. Use bottom shoulder pull bottom side of ribcage past thigh. Pull top shoulder and top side of ribcage back. Hold. Switch sides.
Alternatives: Revolved Side Angle.
Benefits: Uses all muscles.
Video: https://www.youtube.com/embed/DePdxjk_ZaI
Precautions : Neck, lower back injury. Headache. High or low blood pressure.
yoga pose Dolphin StrapMake a small loop on the strap. Slide strap onto arms (like putting on a shirt). Make sure you can feel tension in the strap. Come onto forearms. Engage core. Spread fingers wide. Pull strap away (feel triceps and biceps engaged). Come into Dolphin by raising hips.
Benefits: Stretches shoulders, hams, calves. Strengthens arms, legs.
Video: https://www.youtube.com/embed/8roo6mCDHYQ
Modifications: If upper back rounds bend knees.
Precautions : Shoulder or neck injury.
yoga pose End Of Sequence
yoga pose Piriformis Stretch StrapOption 1: Loop around left foot. Bring left ankle on right thigh. Push knee away while pulling on strap to bring ankle towards you (right foot will raise off mat). Option 2: Take strap around thigh instead of ankle and do the same thing.
Benefits: Opens up piriformis and hips.
Video: https://www.youtube.com/embed/ZXXQBoUj664
Modifications: Option 2 (strap around thigh).
Precautions : Knee injury.
yoga pose Supine Twist StrapLie on back. Lift right leg. Grip onto inside of right foot with left hand (or use a strap). Internally rotate leg so toes turn in. Take right leg across body to the left, keeping right side of sacrum (boney tail at base of spine) anchored to floor. Turn head to the right. Hold. Switch sides.
Alternatives: Reclined Hand To Big Toe I or II.
Benefits: Stretches hips, thighs, hams, calves. Relieves sciatica.
Video: https://www.youtube.com/embed/rX7Q0Av3o8k
Modifications: Blanket under head. Hold ankle (instead of big toe). Belt.
Precautions : High blood pressure.
yoga pose Supine Leg Side I StrapLie on back. Lift right leg. Take hold of right big toe with right hand (or wrap belt around right foot and hold onto belt with right hand). This is Reclined Hand To Big Toe I. To come into Reclined Hand To Big Toe II, place left hand on left thigh. Roll right leg out in the hip socket and, drawing right leg up towards you, lower it out to side. Do not let weight roll into the right leg so that you tip over. Hold. Repeat on other side.
Alternatives: Reclined Hand To Big Toe I or II.
Benefits: Stretches hips, thighs, hams, calves. Relieves sciatica.
Video: https://www.youtube.com/embed/rX7Q0Av3o8k
Modifications: A) Blanket under head. B) Rest leg on a block. C) Slightly bend raised leg.
Precautions : High blood pressure.
yoga pose End Of Sequence
yoga pose Half Lord Of The Fishes IVSit with legs straight. Raise right knee. Place right foot on outside of left leg. Bend left leg. Place left foot outside of right hip. Place right arm behind. Raise left arm. Hook elbow behind knee. Twist to right. Ground sitting bones into floor. Lengthen through spine. Twist on each exhale. Repeat on other side.
Alternatives: Easy. Hero. Half Lotus.
Benefits: Stretches shoulders, hips, neck, spine. Sciatica.
Video: https://www.youtube.com/embed/OMGUMuUbK4Q
Modifications: Twist on a chair.
Precautions : Back or spine injury.
yoga pose Lifting LotusSit up tall. Extend legs (Staff Pose). With help of hands, place right foot on left thigh and left foot on right thigh. Pass arms through the gaps between calves and thighs and place palms firmly on ground. Lift body off floor.
Alternatives: Easy. Hero. Half Lotus.
Benefits: Engage abs. Strengthen arms.
Video: https://www.youtube.com/embed/magggwZr27w
Precautions : Ankle or Knee injury.
yoga pose Both Big ToeSit with legs wide apart. Bend legs, so you can grab toes with thumb, index finger and middle finger (can also grab hold of outer edges of feet). Engage core. Lift heels. Find your balance on sit bones. Stretch legs. Keep core engaged. Draw shoulder blades towards each other. Open your chest. Push heels away from you.
Benefits: Stretches hips, back of body and groins. Balance. Engage core.
Video: https://www.youtube.com/embed/LPDBfSkwbGc
Modifications: Blanket under buttocks and/or knees. Use a strap.
Precautions : Back or knee injury. Pregnancy. Sacroiliac joint pain
yoga pose Bound LotusSit crossed legs. Place right foot on left thigh. Place left foot on right thigh. Sit tall. Bring right hand behind back toward left hip to hold right big toe in right palm or index finger. Bring left hand behind back toward right hip to hold left big toe in left palm or index finger. Hold. Release. Repeat with right foot placed on left thigh and left foot placed on right thigh.
Alternatives: Easy pose (legs crossed). Hero pose (sitting on knees).
Benefits: Stimulates pelvis, spine, abs. Stretches ankles. Strengthens leg joints.
Video: https://www.youtube.com/embed/t5PG21u_Nbg
Modifications: Use blankets below buttocks. Half Lotus (one foot on thigh).
Precautions : Ankle or Knee injury.
yoga pose Knee To EarFrom Plough Pose release knees to both sides of head and point toes. With toes on floor, lift top thighs and tail bone toward ceiling and draw inner groins deep into pelvis. Continue to draw chin away from sternum and soften throat. To deepen the pose, stretch arms along length of lower legs, then curl forearms behind thighs and interlace fingers.
Alternatives: Plough. Half or full shoulderstand.
Benefits: Stimulates abs, thyroid gland. Stretches shoulders, spine.
Video: https://www.youtube.com/embed/Nv5AfMhDlAE
Modifications: Stretch arms behind.
Precautions : HBP. Neck injury.
yoga pose Double Closed LotusSit upright with legs in lotus (with help of hands, place right foot on left thigh and left foot on right thigh). Come into Lotus Shoulderstand (Padma Sarvangasana) and slowly bring legs towards head until knees touch floor beside ears. Support back with hands. Relax whole body. Hold.
Alternatives: Easy. Hero. Half Lotus.
Benefits: Engage abs. Stimulates circulation and breath.
Video: https://www.youtube.com/embed/Pup8xhAx7jE
Precautions : Ankle or Knee injury.
yoga pose Upward Facing LotusBegin in Shoulderstand (Sarvangasana) with both legs straight and hands supporting the back. Bend left leg away from body by extending at hip, then fold right leg into place (take one hand away from back to assist if necessary). Once right leg is in position, bring left leg into Lotus, switching hands if necessary to work legs into Lotus. Flex at hip to bring thigh bones parallel to floor. One at a time, take hands to knees and push arms straight. Create stability by pressing knees into hands and hands into knees. Lift sitting bones and engage Mula Bandha and Uddiyana Bandha. Avoid rounding your back as you draw scapula together and down by imagining you're "squeezing a walnut" between your shoulderblades.
Alternatives: Boat Pose.
Benefits: Stretches hips, back of body and groins. Balance. Engage core.
Video: https://www.youtube.com/embed/Pup8xhAx7jE
Modifications: Cross legs (Sukhasana) instead of Lotus.
Precautions : If you feel pressure on back of neck or C7 vertebrae, exit.
yoga pose End Of Sequence
yoga pose Root Lock Mula BandhaSit or stand. On exhale gently pull up area between anus and genitals. Do not hold breath.
Benefits: Mula Bandha is a way to contain and channel energy associated with the mula-dhara (root place) chakra. Represents stage of consciousness for survival. Pelvic floor gains strength. Calms the autonomic nervous system.
Video: https://www.youtube.com/embed/qgHt9y0RPGg?rel=0
Modifications: Set a root chakra themed intention such as: grounding, trust yourself, release fear, balance, let go, surrender, compassion, unconditional love.
Precautions : Pregnancy. Intestinal disorders.
yoga pose Chin MudraSit with legs crossed (or in Lotus). Place left hand on left knee and right hand on right knee. On both hands the index finger touches thumb. Keep other 3 fingers straight.
Benefits: Connected with Heart Chakra.
Video: https://www.youtube.com/embed/Vs-ovpbR760?rel=0
Modifications: Chant bija mantra: Om Yum Namaha.

Why such devotion to such a small area of the body?

Because a strong rectus abdominis (core) has a myriad of glorious benefits such as:

Weakness in the core can result in:

If you don't know how to get centred in your core, you can easily turn into a doormat for anyone with a strong personality. With a weak core you can become easy pickings for anyone who wants to push you off balance, whether it's a controlling family member or an advert on the TV trying to get to you buy something that harms your body. 

The good news is that every asana is potentially a core-strengthening exercise, if you engage your core (pull abs toward spine). And even more good news is that core abdominal strength improves nearly every pose, offering a sense of balance and ease.