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17 Proven Yoga Poses for Weight Loss: Get Better By Being Fitter
Embarking on a weight loss journey may seem daunting, but incorporating yoga into your daily routine can make it enjoyable and achievable. With the right poses, yoga can help you build strength, improve flexibility, and burn calories.
The Origins of Yoga and Its Core Principles
Yoga, a practice with roots dating back over a thousand years, has evolved through periods of innovation, training, and development. Refined by Rishis and Brahmans, yoga has transformed into a holistic discipline with five fundamental principles:
Can You Lose Weight Through Yoga?
Many people aspire to achieve weight loss. With its numerous asanas (poses), yoga is crucial in helping people achieve a healthy body weight. At the same time, it promotes better mental health and physical benefits.
There is some evidence that weight loss can result from practising yoga, including poses such as:
Upward-facing dog pose
By increasing physical activity and reducing stress levels, the stress hormone cortisol can be decreased. However, it’s important to note that weight loss is a complex process influenced by various factors, including a healthy diet, exercise, genetics, and overall lifestyle.
Of note, yoga enhances mindfulness, improving your relationship with your body and encouraging healthier food choices.
Some practices offer significant benefits due to their intense nature and focus on building lean muscle. Examples include:
These combine cardiovascular exercise with strength training, helping practitioners burn fat and improve their body fat percentage. For instance, the heat in Bikram Yoga encourages sweating, which can help detoxify and improve circulation.
Another effective approach to losing weight is Vinyasa yoga, a dynamic and flowing style that links breath with movement. This style can increase your heart rate, burn calories, and improve muscle tone. Check here for more information on how Vinyasa yoga can contribute to weight loss.
17 Proven Yoga Poses for Weight Loss
Several yoga poses target the abdominal muscles and helps burn belly fat. Some of these effective yoga asanas include:
1. Plank (Kumbhakasana)
The Plank Pose, or Kumbhakasana, requires holding the entire body parallel to the ground, supported only by the arms and toes.
Start in a push-up position with your hands directly under your shoulders and your body straight and parallel to the ground. Keep your core engaged and your glutes and legs active. Hold the pose for 30 seconds to a minute, or as long as you can maintain good form. Then, release.
Doing the plank pose regularly can help strengthen your core muscles, improve posture, and increase overall body strength. Remember to breathe deeply and maintain good form to avoid any strain on your back or shoulders.
2. Warrior II (Virabhadrasana B)
Warrior pose is one yoga asana that is incredibly helpful in weight loss. Warrior II, specifically, helps tone the thighs, hips, and shoulder muscles.
To perform this pose, stand with your legs wide apart, turn your right foot out, and your left foot slightly inward. Bend your knee on the right while keeping your thigh parallel to the ground. Extend your arms out to the sides, palms facing down, and gaze over your right fingertips.
Hold for 5-10 breaths, then switch sides. Warrior II also helps improve balance, stability, and concentration.
3. Warrior III (Virabhadrasana C)
Warrior III is a challenging pose that strengthens and tones the legs, glutes, and core. Begin in Warrior I, bringing your right foot in front. Transfer your weight on the right foot and raise your left leg backwards, aligning it with the level of the floor. Lower your torso and extend your arms forward, keeping them parallel to the ground. Maintain your balance and take 5-10 deep breaths before switching sides.
Some tips are to:
Engage your abs to improve balance and flatten your belly.
Hold this pose for an extended period to maximise its benefits.
Beware if you have chronic knee pain or other health problems.
Bonus: Warrior III also improves focus and mental clarity.
4. Triangle (Trikonasana)
The triangle pose may not make your muscles shake like other postures, but including this in your regular yoga practice will yield impressive results. The twisting motion of Trikonasana helps improve digestion and reduce belly fat while stretching the hips, groin, and hamstrings.
To execute this position:
Begin by standing upright with your feet wide apart.
Bend down, then turn your right foot out and your left foot slightly inward.
Straighten your right leg, reach your right hand toward your right ankle, and extend your left arm upward.
Maintain the position for about 5-10 breaths before alternating sides.
Trikonasana also improves blood circulation and relieves stress and backache well.
5. Downward Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana)
Downward dog is a total body toning pose. This asana can transform from a restful position to a dynamic way to build strength in your arms, back, and thighs by intentionally targeting specific muscles.
To strengthen your thighs, concentrate on engaging them as you rotate inward. Do the same with your upper arms. Press down through your hands and heels, and remember to breathe!
6. Shoulder Stand (Sarvangasana)
The shoulder stand is a versatile pose with numerous benefits. It balances thyroid levels to boost metabolism, improves the respiratory system, strengthens the upper body, legs, and abs, and promotes better sleep. Incorporate this inversion into your daily practice for a rejuvenated you.
7. Bridge Pose (Setu Bandha Sarvangasana)
Bridge pose is excellent for the thyroid, glutes, and weight loss. When you bring your chest towards your chin, the thyroid gland is provided with a gentle massage. This can stimulate the production of hormones that regulate metabolism. Pressing down with your feet engages your thighs and glutes while stimulating abdominal organs for healthy digestion.
Moreover, it is good for controlling high blood pressure and menopause symptoms. Combined with a healthy lifestyle, including the bridge pose in your yoga practice is excellent for weight management.
8. Twisted Chair (Parivrtta Utkatasana)
Twisted Chair is yoga’s intense version of a squat. It works the quads, glutes, and abs, as well as the lymph system. Combine all these benefits into one move for an effective weight loss method.
To perform the twisted chair pose:
Stand with your feet together.
Flex your knees and bring down your hips into a squat.
Bring your palms together at your chest, and twist to the right, placing your left elbow outside your right knee.
9. Bow Pose (Dhanurasana)
Bow pose is a fast way to burn belly fat and achieve a toned body. To intensify your yoga practice, draw your hands and feet in opposite directions. Let only your abdomen and pelvis touch the floor.
This asana does the following:
Stimulates the digestive system
Strengthens the thighs, chest, and back
Alleviates menopause symptoms
Regulates the blood pressure
10. Sun Salutations (Surya Namaskara)
Sun Salutations, also known as Surya Namaskara, serve as a gentle way to ease into your practice. They involve gradually stretching and warming up one’s muscles. This gets the blood flowing and increases the strength of the core.
They help stretch and tone most major muscles, promoting a balanced metabolism and stimulating the digestive system. Regular practice of Sun Salutations can lead to a trimmer waist and toned arms while providing stress relief and a sense of well-being.
11. Boat Pose
Boat Pose, also known as Navasana, is a beginner-friendly yoga pose that requires balance and core strength. As the name suggests, the pose involves balancing your body in a shape that resembles a boat.
To perform the pose:
Assume a seated position on the floor.
Extend your legs straight in front.
Slightly tilt your body backwards and lift your feet off the ground, ensuring that your knees remain bent.
As you exhale, straighten your legs to a 45-degree angle while simultaneously lifting your arms to shoulder level, parallel to the floor.
Engage your core muscles and balance on your sitting bones while keeping your spine straight. Hold the boat pose for 10-20 seconds while breathing deeply, then release and return to the starting position.
Regular practice of Boat Pose can strengthen your abdominal muscles, improve digestion, and boost confidence. Just like with any other yoga pose, it’s essential to pay attention to your body and avoid overexertion.
12. Chair Pose (Utkatasana)
The chair pose is a powerful pose that strengthens the legs, glutes, and core muscles.
To perform this pose:
Stand with your feet together and bend your knees, lowering your hips as if sitting in a chair.
Raise your arms overhead, palms facing each other, and keep your chest lifted.
Hold the pose for 5-10 breaths.
Utkatasana does wonders for better concentration and balance.
13. Locust Pose (Salabhasana)
The locust pose is a backbend that strengthens the back, glutes, and legs while also stretching the chest and shoulders.
To perform this pose:
Assume a prone position with arms positioned at the sides of your body, palms facing up.
Lift your chest, arms and legs off the floor while focusing your eyes in front.
Keep this up for 5-10 cycles of deep breaths.
This asana can help relieve stress and improve posture as well.
14. Three-Legged Downward-Facing Dog Pose (Tri Pada Adho Mukha Svanasana)
The three-Legged downward-facing dog is a variation of the downward dog pose that strengthens the arms, shoulders, and core. At the same time, it stretches the legs and hips.
To perform this pose:
Start in downward dog.
Lift your right leg straight up toward the ceiling, keeping your hips square.
Maintain the pose for 5-10 cycles of inhalation and exhalation, then switch sides.
This pose is good for enhancing balance and stability.
15. Cobra Pose (Bhujangasana)
Cobra pose is a gentle backbend that stretches the chest, shoulders, and abdomen while also strengthening the spine and glutes. To perform this pose:
Lie on your stomach with your palms underneath your shoulders, your elbows kept close to your torso.
Press your hands into the ground and lift your chest off the floor, keeping your lower ribs on the ground.
Hold the cobra pose for 5-10 breaths.
Bhujangasana helps relieve stress and fatigue.
16. Bound Angle Pose (Baddha Konasana)
Bound Angle pose is a seated pose that stretches the hips, groin, and inner thighs while promoting relaxation. To do it:
Sit on the ground with the soles of your feet together, knees open to the sides.
Hold your feet with your hands, and gently press your knees toward the ground.
Hold the pose for 5-10 breaths.
The bound angle pose is good for digestion and stress reduction.
17. Mermaid Twist
Mermaid Twist is a deep hip opener. It promotes flexibility in the hips, quads, and spine. Additionally, it is one of the yoga poses that can help to stimulate the digestive system.
To perform this pose:
With your right leg in front, begin in Pigeon pose.
Bend your left knee and reach back to grab your left foot with your left hand.
Bring your right arm across your body and clasp your left hand or wrist.
Gently twist your torso to the right, opening your chest and gazing over your right shoulder.
Hold the mermaid twist for 5-10 deep breaths before switching sides.
This pose can help release tension in the hips and lower back while improving digestion and spinal flexibility.
To Wrap Up
Yoga can help a person become fitter. Incorporating poses that target the upper body, like the eagle pose, and those that alleviate hip pain or provide relief for pregnant women, such as the inside side stretch, ensures a well-rounded practice.
Strive to lose weight by doing yoga through consistency and variety. Explore different styles to keep your body challenged and engaged. With dedication and persistence, you’ll be on your way to a fitter, healthier you.