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Weak abdominal muscles contribute to low back pain and prevent you from progressing to more advanced yoga poses. But practice boat pose (navasana) regularly and correctly and you will be on your way to abs of steel. As an added bonus, boat poses also help relieve tight hip flexors, which are epidemic among the desk-bound.
Begin by sitting with your legs straight out in front of you. On an exhale, bend your knees and slowly lean back so you are sitting on your sit bones and tailbone. Don't lean too far back or too far forward; you should try to maintain an equal distribution of weight. Slowly extend your legs and try to keep your feet at eye level. If this is to difficult, keep your knees bent slightly. It's more important to sit up on your tailbone than to keep your legs straight. Extend your arms forward towards your feet, keeping them parallel to the floor. Hold the pose for 10 to 20 seconds if you are new at it, and eventually strive to hold it for one minute.
Remember to keep the lower belly firm, but it should never feel hard and clenched.