ab-sculpting yoga moves

A Sculpting Yoga Flow You Can Do Anywhere

It’s French Girl approved.

By: Noah Lehava
Photography: Alec Kugler

Leave it to Parisian trainer and Tres Intense Hip Hop Yoga creator Clotilde Chaumet to turn a core-firing yoga flow into a superlative and cool experience. We guess it ~still~ rings true: French girls do it best. So when we heard Chaumet was landing on New York soil (while, sure, we would have liked any excuse to fly ourselves to Paris, even a workout), we booked a 1:1 session with the TIHHY founder and cycling master (yeah, she does that, too) for an intense ab yoga flow. Follow along, and we bet you’ll be cutting all your tops into crops in no time.

 


MOVE #1

Chair Pose to Crow

“Begin in Utkatasana (also known as chair pose) with your legs bent and arms up. Keep your spine straight and look forward. Slowly sit down and recline into Navasana (boat pose). Your legs should be parallel to the floor with your arms straight in front of you. Lower and extend your legs, then come back up into a very low chair. Using a fast transition, place your palms on the floor shoulder width apart and bring your upper body forward. Roll your back, put your knees on your arms and press them against each other. Keep your gaze in front of your hands on the floor. Lift both feet, transferring balance to your hands to come into Bakasana (crow pose.) If this is too much, modify by keeping one foot or both feet on the floor for balance while still transferring your weight. Come back to chair pose.

“This challenging three-in-one movement utilizes your entire core while teaching you to use momentum, strength, balance, and control at the same time.”

 


MOVE #2

Handstand Kick

“Begin in downward-facing dog and walk halfway to your hands. Make sure your shoulders are above your wrists, and with your fingers spread wide, use your hands to press against the floor—as if you wanted to push it away from you. Arms should stay straight and strong from this point on. Lift your right leg up, point your toes, and keep your leg straight, not bent at the knee. Contract your core by pulling your navel in, making sure your core and your back muscles are both tight and fully engaged. Bend the left leg and use it to kick up and bring your left heel either to your butt cheek, or fully extend the leg if you feel comfortable and able to do so. Try to bring your hips over your head so you are aligned with your shoulders. Change legs, and repeat.

“Handstands and other inversions are often scary at first, but this kick is super safe and is a great intro to being comfortable on your hands.”

 


MOVE #3

Warrior 2 to Scandasana

“Start in Virabadarsana (Warrior 2), right leg bent at a 90-degree angle, left leg straight, heels aligned, arms parallel to the floor, shoulders down, and gaze fixed on your right index finger. Shift your body weight backwards, extend your right leg, and flex your foot. Let your hips sink slightly as if you were going into a squat, but without touching the floor. Try to keep your left heel on the floor. Use your core to go back to warrior 2. Repeat, and change sides.

“This move is great to work hip and hamstring flexibility, and also to challenge your balance. It requires a lot of focus and core.”

 


MOVE #4

Full Back Stretch

“Start by laying flat on your back with your feet on the floor and hips wide apart. Put your hands under your shoulders, with your elbows parallel to each other. Push away from the floor, lifting your hips to go into bridge pose. Press away from the floor with your hands—you can put the top of your head on the floor first if needed—and try to straighten your arms as you push your head through them. Extend your legs, keeping your feet fully on the floor.

“Not only you will this give your back an amazing stretch, it will really open your upper back and shoulder when the legs are straight.”

 


MOVE #5

Reverse Abs

“Begin in a forearm plank pose, with your elbows and palms on the floor. Your arms should be parallel. Keep your shoulder over your elbows, and engage your core. Use a towel or socks (or a paper plate on carpet) and start to slide your feet toward your head without bending your legs. Once your hips are high as if you were in down dog, put the top of your head on the floor and wrap your hands around it. Come on to your tippy-toes, fully engage your core, and lift your legs, glued together, to the sky. Lower your legs, place your feet back on the towel, and slide back into a forearm plank position.

“This move is fun and will make your core and pelvic floor muscles burn. It’s a great exercise to begin using your core for advanced poses and to prepare the body to work strongly and slowly.”

 


MOVE #6

Split

“Begin in half split, right leg forward, right foot flexed, and square your hips over your left knee. Keep your hand slightly in front of your hips and start to flex your left foot and straighten your left leg. Slowly, with breath and time, let your hips open and come closer to the floor. Once you are there, arch your back and try not to put weight in your arms. Keep your hips square. Change sides.

“Opening the hips is super important, as we are always closing them (sitting on a chair, walking, running, etc.). Plus, the hamstring stretch here is very good to prepare for kicking for inversions.”

 


MOVE #7

Flying Plank

“Begin in a high plank pose and bring your right knee under your chest, rounding your back and gazing between your hands. Using momentum, kick your right leg to the sky, letting your body move backward to an almost down dog, and bring your right knee back under your chest as you move forward to plank pose. Repeat, and change sides.

“Abs and cardio! You will sweat from this one for sure.”

 

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