If you are looking to slim down your midsection, this yoga routine will do the trick! As with all yoga, don’t forget to breathe—and maybe turn the corners of your mouth up—while you are moving through these. Do these poses once a day at least four times a week (or every day, if you wish), and watch your stomach shrink as you tone up and lean out.
Photos: Vera Boykewich
Warrior III Roll-Ups: From standing, hug right knee into chest, inhale arms high and leg long, and roll down, reaching right leg behind you and fingertips to the ground or, for extra balance and core work, reaching arms on either side of waist, fingertips pointing toward right foot. Take a big breath here in warrior III (shown at left). Round right knee into nose and come up to stand, starting from the top. Do 5 times, then repeat on the other side.
Half Moon-Revolved Half MoonRepetitions:
Start in a supported warrior III with both hands on the ground, standing on left leg with right leg high behind you. Reach left arm to the ceiling, keeping right fingertips on the ground. Look up at left thumb (shown at left), take a big breath, and, staying soft through knees, take left hand to the ground and start to reach right arm to the ceiling, opening through the hips. Take a big breath here, then reach right fingertips back down to the ground to warrior III. Do this sequence 5 times, then repeat on the other side.
Forearm Plank Hip Taps:
Come to a forearm plank with elbows underneath shoulders. Tap right hip to the ground (allow feet to sway to the side), then come back to forearm plank. Tap left hip to the ground, then come back to forearm plank. Repeat 10 times on each side.
Down Dog Hip Rolls:
From down dog, inhale right leg high, open the hip, bend the knee, then engage navel to spine and reach right knee toward right shoulder. Sweep it across to the left shoulder, back to the right shoulder, and all the way back to down dog split. Reach right knee across to left shoulder, sweep open to the right, and all the way back to down dog split. Do this sequence 5 times, then repeat on the other side.
Side Angle-Reverse Warrior Flows:
From high lunge with right foot in front, spin back heel so foot is planted on the ground, turn right toes to face front and left toes slightly in so hips and shoulders are facing torso, and reach right arm in front of you and left arm behind you, palms down. Look over front hand. Bend right knee so thigh is parallel to the ground, coming into warrior II
. Release right forearm to right thigh and reach left arm to the ceiling and then toward the front of the mat overhead to come into side angle (shown at left). Reach left fingertips back to warrior II and keep reaching hand down left leg as you reach right arm toward the back of the mat to come into reverse warrior
. Reach right arm forward back to warrior II to complete the sequence. Do this sequence 10 times, then repeat on the other side.
From high lunge with right foot forward, inhale to straighten legs and lift arms high. On exhale, come back down to high lunge, reaching left arm forward and right arm back. Inhale back to center. Do 10 to 20 reps, then repeat on the other side.
Boat-Low Boat Repetitions:
Sit on the mat with knees bent in front of you and feet flat on the ground. Hold arms in front so that hands brush the sides of knees, palms face up. Lean back so torso is at a 45-degree angle to the floor. Slowly lift feet off of the ground as you straighten legs, forming a “V” with body. Use core muscles to hold the position and bring arms slightly away from body for more balance. Take a breath here in boat pose (shown at left), then lower middle back to the floor, keeping abs engaged and head and shoulders off the floor. Simultaneously lower legs, engaging quads and abdominals (and breathing!), so that feet are about six inches off the ground in low boat. Repeat this sequence 10 to 20 times.
From standing, sink hips, reach arms high, and bend knees to come into chair pose. Look in front of knees and make sure you can see toes. If you can’t, sit back until you can. Take hands together at center of chest, take a big inhale to lengthen through spine, and use exhale to twist to the right, taking left elbow outside of right thigh. Inhale back to center and use exhale to twist to the left. Repeat this sequence 5 to 10 times on each side.