Resume: Yoga is a practice that is mental, spiritual, social and physical. The breathing and posture exercises help to strengthen, flex and strengthen the muscles. There are several exercises to help the body with specific needs. Here are 8 asanas to help you achieve well-defined abs.
An Introduction to Yoga – What is Yoga?
The word yoga is derived from the Sanskrit word “yuj”, which means to unite and bring about internal integration. Yoga is an all-encompassing union of body and mind. You can use it as an exercise form to safely shape and strengthen the muscles of your body. Yoga is the spiritual path to moksha (ultimate liberation) and samadhi (highest meditative consciousness). It is better than other forms of exercise because of its restorative ability.
Yoga exercises and postures are called asanas. It is important to learn the techniques of any asana under supervision to avoid injury. A balanced meal makes it easier to reap the benefits of yoga faster and in a more permanent way.
Simply put, yoga is an exercise to achieve inner unity to feel whole and complete. A practice as old as time in our country, yoga is of knowledge.
What is the concept of yoga based on?
Yoga is a state of wholesomeness that includes a few philosophies together.
- Goal-oriented discipline
- Developing the ability to control the mind and body
- Attending a philosophy yoga school
- Developing Yoga Exercises
- Following a certain yoga technique
What are abs?
The abs are made up of a set of 4 muscles that make up the core of the body. These form a protective wall of 3 layers and are important for trunk movements between the rib cage and the pubis. From the outside in, these are the external oblique, internal oblique and transverse abdominis, which extend between the pubis and the spine.
The rectus abdominis, on top, has white fibrous tissue that runs horizontally in 3 or more parts, dividing the muscle into 10 packets. This is the muscle responsible for the appearance of the abdominals on the surface, while the transverse abdominals include the deeper abdominals on the side or narrowing downwards. A smaller muscle called the pyramidalis is located on the lower part above the pubic bone.
These muscles are strengthened by working the criss-cross through the muscle fibers. This is achieved through the movement of the external oblique down and forward, the internal oblique up and forward, while the transverse abdomen moves forward horizontally.
Functions of the abdominal muscles
- Act as exhalation muscles
- Provide lumbar support
- Help with childbirth, urination, defecation, vomiting
- Helps with coughing and singing
- Important for attitude
- Flexing the spine
Knowing the finer details about these muscles can help us realize which exercises can bring about a desired change in the physical appearance of these muscles.
Yoga Asanas for Tight and Shaped Abs
This asana helps in strengthening the shoulder, back and abdomen. It is a sitting position in which the upper body is rotated and there are 4 variations. This helps to tone and strengthen the abs, build a strong core for the body, lengthen the spine and aid in flexibility.
Avoid this asana if you suffer from an abdominal deformity such as a hernia or a back injury.
#2 Utthita Parsvakonasana
This asana opens up the body. It works on the transverse abs that are located on the side of the body. It involves a side stretch of the body in a balanced squat position.
Utthita means stretched out, Parsva means side, Kona means angle and Asana means posture.
Avoid this asana if you suffer from a shoulder or knee injury.
Pasrva means side plank, Kona means angle and Asana means posture. This asana works to strengthen the spine, hamstrings, and abs. It is a lateral exercise where you keep your knees bent while maintaining your balance and straightening your arms.
Avoid this asana if you suffer from low blood pressure, back pain, knee injuries.
#4 Supta Baddha Konasana
This is also known as the reclining butterfly pose. Supta means lying down, Baddha means bound, Kona means angle and Asana means posture. This asana, performed seated with legs bent sideways and flat on the floor, is great for opening the hips and working the lower abs.
Avoid this asana if you have a knee injury or a back injury.
#5 Eka Pada Rajakapotasana
This asana is meant to work the abdominal organs and muscles. Extend one leg back completely straight under the body and flat on the mat, folding the other leg as the heel is just in front of the pubic bone. Keep the back straight and straight and hold for a few seconds before repeating on the other side.
This asana involves kneeling upright on your legs and bending back to touch your heels with your hands. Holding in this pose is important for strengthening and strengthening the abs.
#7 Viparita Shalabhasana
This is also known as the Locust Pose. It is a back bend exercise that strengthens the abs by stretching them. You should lie on your stomach and lift your legs from behind while simultaneously lifting your neck while keeping your arms straight in front of you.
#8 Setu Bandha Sarvangasana
This is also known as the bridge pose. This is an exercise supported by the shoulders and is a reverse back bend. It involves raising the hip while keeping the shoulders and feet on the floor.
Avoid this asana if you have hypertension, spinal or neck injury.
Yoga for developing abs helps to stimulate the underlying abdominal organs and aids in the smooth digestion of food, reducing the build-up of fluid or gas. While other workouts mainly focus on specific body parts, each form of yoga has multiple benefits. The effects on these muscles are long lasting and permanent. Some workouts tend to mainly add muscle mass or tone, but yoga allows muscles to stretch, strengthen, develop and strengthen, all at a rate unique to one’s body type.
- BD Chaurasia’s Human Anatomy Sixth Edition
- Gray’s Anatomy for Students Second Edition by Elsevier
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Q. How is yoga different from working out at the gym?
A. Yoga is a gentle, ancient practice that strengthens and defines multiple muscles in the body, while also focusing on centering the mind with discipline and general awareness. It is also less prone to injury.
Q. What is the purpose of yoga?
A. The ultimate goal of yoga is to free yourself from materialistic burdens, achieve liberation from worldly problems and have full body-mind integration with full consciousness.
Q. Is it important to have prominent abs?
A. Abs is developed by those who want to work on a certain aesthetic look. It is important to strive for a healthy body and mind.