To complete the move, press back up onto the right palm followed by the left palm, returning to high plank. Hold here for one full inhale and exhale.
Really get into the lower muscles in your abdomen with this move! From high plank, drop down onto your knees, coming into table-top position. Position your wrists directly underneath your shoulders, and your knees directly underneath your hips. Remove any arch in the low back by slightly tilting the tailbone down toward the floor — this is a subtle movement. Pull the abdominals in toward the spine and find your breath. Tuck your toes and engage the quadriceps to lift the knees and shins off the floor to one to two inches above your mat. Hold this position for four breath cycles. To move on to the next pose, shift the hips up and back, coming into downward facing dog.
From downward facing dog, inhale the right foot up toward the ceiling — keep your toes pointing down toward the mat and your hips square. On the exhale, round the back (like in cat pose), shift your weight over the hands, and pull the right knee as close to the nose as possible. Inhale to return the right foot back into downward facing dog. Repeat this movement 5 times before switching to the left side. Come into high plank to move on to the next pose.
Wrists hurting? Take breaks! It’s common after being on your hands for some time to have achy wrists. Be sure to protect them by taking breaks and stretching them out. As your yoga practice continues, you’ll be able to support your bodyweight on your hands for longer periods of time.
Get ready to work every muscle in your torso! From high plank, shift over onto the right hand, turning the hips to the left side of your space. Your right wrist should be directly under the shoulders (which are stacked one on top of the other), completing a straight line out through the left fingertips that are reaching upward.
Your feet can be stacked on top of each other, or side by side, and hips are lifting up toward the sky. From this position, inhale and lower the hips down toward the floor, keeping the upper body open toward the left side of your space. Exhale to return back to side plank, lifting the left leg up away from the right leg. Inhale to bend the left knee, driving it up toward the left armpit (shortening, or “crunching”, the left obliques).
Modify: This move can be done from the knee of the bottom leg. Keep your top leg extended straight, and support yourself with the bottom leg.
Repeat the hip drop and left leg tuck 3 times before moving through high plank to repeat on the left side.
Boat pose is super effective in toning the core and it allows for many modifications to fit all ability levels. Come to a seated position on the mat. Bend your knees to bring your ankles in toward your sit bones. Start to lean back from the hips, keeping your heart lifted and your head in line with your spine. You may wish to stop here and hold this position if it feels challenging.
You’ll need a yoga block for this static ab burner! Lay on your back and bring your knees up to form a 90 degree angle above the hips and flex your feet up toward the ceiling. Place the block in between your thighs and hold it there by squeezing the thighs together. Next, place your palms on the tops of your legs and press the legs into the hands while pressing your hands back into the legs. Push hard! Keeping your gaze up toward the ceiling lift the shoulder blades off of the mat. Hold this position for six breath cycles. It may not feel like much at first, but keep pressing and breathing.
Just like the frozen stair steps, you’ll use your block for this exercise. Move your block to the left thigh just above the knee. With your hands positioned behind your ears, twist at the belly button to bring the right elbow to hold the block in place on the left leg. It’s imperative to your spine health that you NOT pull on your head to do it. A good tip is to only touch your head behind your right ear with your right fingertips. Straighten your right leg until it hovers two inches from the mat with your toes flexed. Hold this position, pressing the right elbow into the block on the left leg for five breath cycles. Release to rest on your back before completing the move on the other side.
You might enjoy trying the pose with the aid of two blocks that are the same height, but they are NOT necessary. Start in a simple, cross-legged posture (if lotus is a part of your practice, you can take it here). If you’re using blocks, place them by each hip, a few inches away from your body. If not using blocks, place your hands firmly on the floor next to your hips. Keep the heart lifted and the crown of the head reaching toward the sky.
On an inhale, contract the lower abdominal muscles up into ribs while pressing down into the palms to lift the sit bones off the floor. You will NOT lean forward to accomplish this move correctly — keep the chest lifted. Hold for one to two complete breath cycles before lowering back to the mat. Repeat five times, maybe challenging yourself to hold for three to four breaths on your last set.
That was a hard sequence! Try running through the sequence one more time if you have any gas left in your tank!