Yoga Journal

Fab Abs

Source: SOFTEN FACE AND THROATSOFTEN BELLYPRESS THROUGH HEELSDON’T arch lower backDO release shoulder blades away from ears.

THOUGH IT SOUNDS impressive in Sanskrit, Urdhva Prasarita Padasana rendered in English becomes the decidedly clunky “Raised Stretched-Out Foot Pose.” The name is much ado about a fairly simple exercise that has deep benefits—but most teachers save the syllables and just call it by its initials. UPP involves nothing more than lying on your back and swinging your extended legs through a slightly less than 90-degree arc, from perpendicular to the floor to nearly—but not quite—parallel, and back again. And again.

In Light on Yoga, B.K.S. Iyengar says that UPP is “wonderful for reducing fat round the abdomen, strengthens the lumbar region of the back, and tones the abdominal organs.” What’s not to like about that?

The pose has a well-deserved reputation as an abdominal strengthener, but we aren’t talking about the rectus abdominis, the long, flat muscle

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