If you think of core-carving yoga poses, Boat, Crow, and Planks probably come to mind, but I've discovered one pose that fires up my core so intensely, it hurts to laugh the next day.
While Headstand is meant to challenge your sense of balance and also work your upper body, holding your body upside down requires a tremendous amount of core strength, especially if you move your legs in space. Try these variations the next time you're upside down and see how quickly the ab burn comes on. I do these at least three times a week:
- Lower your knees halfway and hold.
- Lower your knees as close to your face as possible, then raise them back up to Headstand.
- Take your legs out wide in a straddle and hold.
- While in straddle, lower your toes as close to the floor as you can (touch if you can), then raise them back up to a straddle.
- Make large, slow circles with your legs by taking them out wide, bringing them together just above the floor, raising them into Headstand, and then keep going. Be sure to reverse the direction of your circles for even more of a challenge.
- Lower your straight legs halfway and hold.
- Lower your straight legs as close as you can to the floor (touch if you can), then raise them up to Headstand.
- Bend your knees and slowly twist them from side to side.