When you're doing a standing balance pose in class, the last thing you're thinking about is how it's working your abs. But what you may not know is that when you practice yoga, you learn to support every movement from your center, which is why yoga is such a great way to tone your midsection.
Some moves zero in even more on your abs, and my favorite of these is Boat Pose. It flattens your stomach so effectively that Joseph Pilates (who created Pilates to tone the core) developed a move just like it called the Teaser. In this position, you feel your core engage immediately—you're lifting and supporting your entire body from the lower abs while tapping your transverse abs and obliques.
To do it: Sit with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Tighten your core—imagine you're wearing a girdle that's holding you in—and sit tall. Lean your upper body back slightly, lift your arms (palms facing in) and float your legs up so your knees stay bent and shins are parallel to the ground. If you're feeling strong, extend your legs in front of you (this may take practice).
Hold for five to eight breaths, keeping shoulders relaxed, then return to start. Rest for one breath and lift again. Aim for three to five Boat Poses in a row and your core will get stronger—and your tummy slimmer.
Watch the video: Boat Pose