There is a very good reason that we refer to the abdominal muscles as ‘the core’. Not only are they situated in the core of your body, but they protect the core functions of your body. The lungs, liver, and heart (and lots of other good things) are shielded behind the rectus abdominus.
And we’re not just talking about the core biological functions, we’re also talking about the core spiritual functions: breathing, processing, and loving. Those are kind of important, yes?
In the yogic tradition, the core of the body houses not only the life energy (called both ‘prana’ and ‘chi’) but also the energy centers of power and love. When you attend to this area physically, you also develop it spiritually and mentally.
Workin’ In to Work Out
Now, there are lots of ways to work on your abs. You can do plank pose (highly recommended). You can do crunches (please, use this guide and breathe OUT when you crunch UP). You can try a whole lotta other stuff.
But you know me: I like efficiency. Let’s make your effort produce multiple results.
With that in mind, the best ab workout I can recommend is a good, whole-hearted guffaw. I mean laughing with your whole body until your sides ache.
This might sound a little strange, but this kind of laughter not only works all your abdominal muscles (and also your facial muscles and lungs), but it aids your spirit, too.
The research literature shows that positive humor aids wellness. Don’t get me wrong, I love me some sarcastic and dry humor! But positive humor- think slapstick or knock-knock jokes- is what helps us actually feel better.
Does this mean that YouTube videos can help you feel better and give you an ab workout? Yes, it does. So here’s one we enjoyed at our house a few days ago.
If you feel the tiniest bit of laughter bubbling up, follow it. And let it bloom into a full-tilt giggle. It will work your abs and your spirit. Do that three times a week, you’re going to have stronger abs and a lighter spirit.
Lookin’ for more?
If you’re looking for a more focused, athletic-type ab workout, I recommend this video: Quick-Fix 10-Minute Post-Natal Workout (yes, even for men, and even for those of you without kids or beyond child-bearing).
I’ve used it for more than 8 years (three times a week) and have very lovely abs (and obliques I’m quite proud of). Sorry, no picture of that!