We have unique ways of ascribing a variety of emotions to the belly: "My guts are in a knot," "I knew it in my gut," "gut-wrenching," and "No guts, no glory." Yet, too often, we place more emphasis on the way the abdomen looks rather than how it feels and functions.
Yoga Abs outlines a series of exercises, yoga poses (asana), and breathing practices (pranayama), designed to achieve optimal health for this crucial area, which houses the organs of both digestion and procreation.
Drawing on her experience as a yoga instructor and physical therapist, Judith Hanson Lasater, PhD, discusses the anatomical and philosophical aspects of the abdomen, and offers a set of movements that create awareness of these important muscles, and develop and maintain abdominal strength. Each exercise and asana lists:
- the props or supports needed
- safety guidelines
- practice instructions
In addition, she has created a special section called "Everyday Abs," where you will experiment with moving mindfully through your everyday activites, such as driving, cooking, sweeping the floor, and more.
"In Yoga Abs, Judith Hanson Lasater provides a much-needed and fresh look at the abdominal muscles. Bypassing the usual curls and crunches, she examines their lesser-known—but more important—function as spine and torso stabilizers. The exercises integrate abdominal awareness into yoga poses, and range from very gentle, which are appropriate for postpartum mothers, to challenging enough for advanced yoga practitioners. She even includes a section about how to use the abdominals in daily activities. Yoga Abs will appeal to a wide audience." —Julie Gudmestad, P.T., director, Gudmestad Yoga Studio, Portland, Oregon; author of Yoga Journal's "Anatomy of a Yogi" column
"Well beyond cosmetic concerns, the lack of strength and flexibility in the abdominal muscles contributes to everything from back pain to falls in the elderly. In Yoga Abs, Judith Hanson Lasater shows how to tell if these muscles are weak and provides a step-by-step plan to remedy the situation. If you still think that stomach crunches are the best way to firm up your belly, do yourself a favor and buy this book." —Timothy McCall, M.D., medical editor of Yoga Journal and author of Yoga as Medicine
"Judith Hanson Lasater's expert yoga guidance will introduce you to muscles that you never knew you had and to new ways of using them! Both practical and compassionate, Yoga Abs is a vote for intuition and self-reliance." —Julie Lawrence, director, Julie Lawrence Yoga Center, Portland, Oregon