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The No B.S. Approach to Obtaining Yoga Abs: 11 Yoga Poses for a Strong Core

Christian Pinedo


If you want to learn how to get abs with yoga without having to do a million crunches, then you want to read this article.


  1. While certain yoga poses can help strengthen your core and build “yoga abs”, you will not be able to seem them unless you lose the fat covering them first.
  2. Whenever performing an ab exercise, whether it be yoga or otherwise, make sure to breath out while contracting (the “crunch” movement) the abs to see the maximum benefit.
  3. Yoga, on it’s own, will not allow you to lose weight. You need to combine it with some sort of other physical activity (lifting, cardio, etc.) to see the best results, and of course, have your diet in check. Keep reading to learn more.

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Some Myths About Abs and Ab Training 

Most of the articles surrounding the topic on abs and yoga are really misleading…

There’s just some flat out WRONG advice around the web.

Let’s address some of it.

1. No Amount of Ab Exercises, Yoga or Otherwise, Will Get You Abs

If all it took was doing tons of crunches, we’d all have six-packs year round.

Unfortunately, that’s not how it works.

While certain ab exercises are better than others at developing a strong core, you’re going to need to do more than just ab exercises.

2. Doing Exercises Such as the Deadlift and Squat are Not Enough Either

If you have any kind of experience with lifting weights, you know that the squat and deadlift (these aren’t the only lifts) require a lot of core stability and strength. 

Especially if you’re trying to go heavy.

However, again, relying solely on these exercises for your ab development isn’t the right path to take either.

There’s no way to target all areas of the “abs” to get great results.

3. “Just Lose Weight and You’ll See Your Abs” 

Have you ever heard of the phrase “skinny fat?”

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This is “skinny fat.” (Source)

It’s essentially losing weight without any sort of lifting or very little muscle development.

Mike Matthews has a great article on how to get rid of this look if you want to check it out.

So while losing weight does help, but it won’t matter unless you develop those abs first!

Do all 3 to see the best results

My advice to you is to do the following yoga workout, while still lifting weights regularly, and getting your diet in check.

That is the only way to get abs.

For all of you seasoned yogi’s out there, you already know that the core is heavily involved in the majority of yoga poses.

For you beginners that have yet to practice yoga regularly, you’ll know what I’m talking about very soon.

It’s why people who’ve lost weight with yoga have incredible “yoga abs”.

Recommended Reading:

Everything You Need to Know About Yoga For Weight Loss

I also have a small section at the end of this article on how to get the most out of yoga and weight loss so make sure to check it out before you leave 🙂

Core Yoga Poses and Why You Should Do Them

Having a strong core is super important for a variety of reasons: 

  • Being able to lift heavy weights safely
  • Having a healthy spine
  • And of course: showing off your awesome yoga abs

When doing these poses that I’m about to show you, remember to follow these rules to get the maximum benefit: 

1. BREATH OUT when contracting your abs. 

  • An example of contracting your abs is the “crunch” motion. When you’re bending at the spine and “crunching,” make sure to exhale.
  • If you don’t and you have a stomach full of air while contracting your abs, you’ll end up bloated afterwards.

2.  If the pose doesn’t require you to contract your abs, but has you hold the pose, squeeze your abs and exhale anyways. 

My last recommendation, but equally as important, is to not get discouraged in the beginning. 

Some of these are not beginner-friendly and require a lot of practice.

You will probably fail at some of these poses.

So don’t get down on yourself.

The Yoga Abdominal Workout

If you workout with weights in the gym, then I recommend you do this workout after your lifting session. 

Or, if you plan on doing cardio, do this workout before your cardio session to see the best results.

1. Plank

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The plank is a great core-strength builder. The longer you can hold this, the stronger your core will become.

  • Get into a push-up position with your arms directly under your shoulders and your back straight. Your body should look like a straight line.
  • Don’t sag or let your hips sink to the ground.
  • Squeeze the abs while holding the pose.

2. Forearm Plank

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The forearm plank is the same as above, just a little closer to the ground on your forearms.

This one can be harder for some people and easier for others.

3. Sunbird Crunches

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The Sunbird pose is a basic pose for beginners that can help strengthen the core and stretch the spine.

However, we want to do a crunch with this movement to get the maximum benefit.

  • Start on your hands and knees with a straight back.
  • Extend one arm and the opposite leg (pictured above).
  • Bring the extended arm and leg together and contract the abs (pictured below). 

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4. Sunbird Plank

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This plank variation is tough and requires a ton of balance and core strength.

  • You begin by getting into a normal plank position.
  • Then, just like the sunbird pose, you lift one arm and the opposite leg and try to keep your body straight without dipping your hips to the ground.

Remember to not be discouraged if you cannot hold this pose for a long time.

Practice is key.

If you can only hold for 5 seconds the first time, aim to hold it for 7 seconds the next time, and longer each and every time you practice.

5. Extended Plank

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Like the Sunbird Plank, the extended plank will challenge your core strength

  • This time, instead of having your hands directly under your shoulders, like in a traditional plank, your hands will be further in front of you.
  • Only go as far as you can.
  • Every time you try this, walk out a little further each time and try to hold the plank for as long as possible.

6. Side Plank

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  • Begin by getting into a normal plank position.
  • Put one foot on top of the other and roll onto the foot that is touching the ground.
  • Make sure your hand is directly under your shoulder and lift your other hand above you.

If you have any wrist pain, you can do the side plank on your forearm as pictured below.

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7. Boat Pose

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  • Begin by sitting on your yoga mat and lifting bringing your knees to your chest.
  • Slowly lean back until your body makes a V-shape and hold the position.
  • Bring your arms straight out ahead of you to balance.

Quick Tip

The picture above is the “beginner-friendly” variation of the boat pose.

If you want to challenge yourself further, try extending your legs all the way straight and make a true “V-shape.”

8. Downward Dog Variation

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This pose from shape, of the one-legged dog is one of the best yoga moves for abs.

Here’s how to perform it:

Begin in downward facing dog. Extend your left leg up to the ceiling, pointing your toes. Shift your weight forward and begin to lower your hips into a plank pose but instead of putting your left toes down, bend your left knee into your chest, lifting your abs into your spine during the entire movement. Press your hips back up and extend your left leg behind you as you return to downward facing dog. Repeat 10 times with the left leg, 10 with the right.

If this is too challenging, practice the transition from downward dog to plank pose until you feel ready to add the leg movement.” – Shape

9 & 10. Cat & Cow Pose

does yoga burn fat
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Cow Pose

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Cat Pose

  • For the Cow Pose, bend your back and your neck into a curve as much as you can without overextending.
  • For the Cat Pose, round your back, and look towards your navel.

11. Wheel Pose

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Finish off your ab routine with a wheel.

This is a great pose to end off with because it not only stretches the abdomen, but it also eases the pain on the spine.

Here’s a video explaining the pose entirely (1min 53sec).

Quick Tip

The wheel is amazing for energy and relieving back pain.

If you suffer from back pain like I do, you can start doing the wheel every morning when you wake up.

Not only does it give you a rush of energy, but it feels amazing 😀

Remember to follow these steps for this whole abdominal workout:

  1. Complete all poses, then repeat for 1-2 additional rounds (remember to perform each side of the body for certain poses). 
  2. BREATH OUT when contracting your abs.  
  3. If the pose doesn’t require you to contract your abs, but has you hold the pose, squeeze your abs and exhale anyways. 

How to Actually Get Abs and Show Them Off

As I said in the beginning of this article, Yoga, on its own, will not allow you to lose weight and get abs.

You need to combine it with some sort of other physical activity (lifting, cardio, etc.) to see the best results, and of course, have your diet in check.

This is extremely important for you to understand.

Your abs won’t begin to show until you get to about 20% body fat (about 10% for men).

That’s where Yoga Burn comes in (almost).

Yoga Burn – Almost a Complete Solution

Yoga Burn is a fat loss yoga system that is taught by Zoe Bray-Cotton, who is a certified personal trainer and yoga instructor.

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The program comes in “phases,” pictured below.

Each phase consists of three, 45 minute yoga workouts.

Each phase lasts 4 weeks, making it a 12-week transformation program.

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Each workout comes in video format and can be viewed on your mobile device as well.

You can download them to your computer or listen to the included audio version which is also downloadable.

You also get the Yoga Burn DVD with the program that ships within a few days.

I believe that Yoga Burn is one of the best yoga workout programs on the market today, however,on its own, it is not enough to get you the results you want.

It only shows you the yoga workout routines, which are excellent, but I do believe you need an extra push to really ramp up your fat loss results.

That’s why I recommend some sort of strength training along with following the workouts in Yoga Burn.

So, use the workouts found in the Yoga Burn program as your cardio and follow this strength training routine and you’ll see amazing results.

Combining my strength training with the Yoga Burn fat loss workouts is the perfect 1-2 punch for losing fat fast.

Yoga Burn is currently $37.

It is one of the best yoga programs for carving up your abs.

That’s going to be it for this article you guys. 

What are your favorite poses for your abs? 

Leave a comment below and let me know!

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Christian Pinedo

Hey there, Christian here. I'm a former fat guy who just wants to help you succeed in your fitness journey. I share my own experiences and experiments right here on this site. Let me know how I can be of help by leaving a comment below. If you want to learn more about my 50 lb weight loss journey, click here.

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