The 8-Move Quickie Yoga Flow for a Super-Tight Core
If you've ever tried boat pose or continuous chaturangas, you know that yoga requires some serious core strength. This workout from rockin' yogi Sadie Nardini will have your core burning in less than 8 minutes-guaranteed. Her creative variations of boat pose will have your abs screaming, but will make you feel more cinched and centered than ever. (Like her style? Also give her yoga for weight loss flow a try.)
1. Sit in a cross-legged position, hands on knees. Inhale and fold forward, then lead with the head and chest and arch back to rise up. Exhale and scoop belly button toward spine, rounding back and tucking chin. Repeat for 5 breaths.
2. Inhale and fold forward, this time extending arms forward and then up as you rise. Exhale, untuck legs and lift them in front so that ankles are crossed and shins are parallel to the ground, feet hovering about 12 inches off the floor. Hands are pulled into fists next to hips. Keep chest lifted. Inhale, place feet back in cross-legged position, reach forward with hands, and fold forward over legs. Repeat for 5 breaths.
3. On the final breath, pause with feet lifted. Uncross ankles and press big toes together, knees slightly apart. Either hold behind the knees or reach forward between knees and clasp hands together with index finger outstretched. Inhale, lean torso back a few inches, and lower legs a few inches. Exhale and lift torso and knees to come toward center. Inhale to elongate the body again. Repeat for 5 slow breaths, then increase speed for 20 breaths.
4. Lower outsides of feet onto the floor and let knees fall wide. Inhale and fold forward over legs with arms still outstretched and index finger pointing forward. Exhale, and lift chest and knees up so feet hover about 12 inches off the floor-shins are parallel to the ground, knees are wide, and balls of feet are pressed together (goddess boat pose). Repeat for 10 breaths.
5. Pause after the last exhale in goddess boat pose. Press knees together and place hands on the floor just behind hips, rolling shoulders back and pressing chest forward. Inhale, then exhale and twist knees to the right while twisting chest to the left. Inhale to come back to center, extending legs out a few inches and leaning back slightly. Then exhale and repeat the twisting motion on the other side, twisting knees to the left and spiraling chest to the right. Come back to center between each twist. Repeat for 5 to 10 breaths on each side.
6. Coming back to center, inhale and stretch arms overhead. Exhale and lower torso down onto elbows, knees lifted with shins parallel to the floor and feet flexed with toes pointed toward the ceiling. Inhale, then exhale and kick right leg straight, pressing heel forward and keeping left leg in place. Inhale to return right left to center, then exhale and kick left leg straight. Continue alternating with forceful exhales, increasing the speed each time, for about 30 breaths.
7. Immediately come into boat pose, with shins parallel to the ground and feet, arms, and chest lifted. Inhale and stretch arms toward the ceiling, then exhale and slowly lower torso to the floor, clasping hands behind head and keeping feet lifted, shins parallel to the floor. Inhale and straighten legs so they form a 45-degree angle with the floor. Then exhale to crunch knees and elbows together, bending and widening knees and reaching elbows in between them. Inhale to extend legs and lower torso. Repeat for 15 breaths.
8. Exhale to straighten legs and point them directly toward the ceiling, with hands behind head and shoulder blades lifted off the floor. Inhale and exhale, lowering straight legs toward the floor. Just before they touch the floor, lift feet a few inches higher and hold for 3 seconds, then release and lower everything to the floor. Inhale and stretch arms and legs long, then exhale and squeeze knees in toward chest. Release body to the floor and relax in Savasana for as long as needed.