Most people that practise yoga do not think that it can help to lose weight, but it definitely can. You can try these 7 yoga poses for weight loss next time you hit the mat and see it for yourself.
Although yoga is usually a calm practice in which one gets in touch with own mind and body, you may get sweaty after doing some of these yoga poses for weight loss.
How to Promote Weight Loss
There is one rule above all else that explains how to lose weight. You must spend more energy than you consume. It is knowns as caloric deficit, a fundamental law of thermodynamics.
In other words, the number of calories you consume should be smaller than the number of calories you burn. Sounds simple, right? It is not.
That is because every body is different. How much calorie your body burns depends on gender, age, height, weight, physical activity level and even genetics.
One thing is for sure, though, working out increases the energy your body consumes to maintain functioning and this is where some yoga poses can help.
Disclaimer: yoga poses for weight loss alone will not help you lose fat. As with any other sport, it is necessary to maintain a healthy eating habit as well as practice physical activity daily.
Read More: 5 Common Fat Loss Mistakes
Ok, you know how to promote weight loss, but how can yoga help with that? It is a simple matter of finding the correct yoga poses.
Positions that tackles multiple muscles are the golden nugget of yoga poses for weight loss.
With that in mind, standing yoga poses might not be the best approach if you are planning to do yoga and lose weight at the same time.
Types of Yoga for Weight Loss
There are numerous types of yoga to choose from. When choosing your type of yoga, you may prefer a slower pace focusing on breathing, or perhaps a more dynamic movement.
For weight loss, we suggest power yoga, a general term used to describe a fitness-oriented approach to vinyasa-style yoga. Power yoga incorporates a series of poses done in sequence, making your body work harder in a shorter time.
The next X yoga poses for weight loss, however, will not focus solely on power yoga, but rather any movement that promotes weight loss.
7 Yoga Poses for Weight Loss
1. Chair Pose – Utkatasana
Simple and effective, that is how you can characterise Utkatasana. Well, at least it looks easy, but maintaining the position could be one of the hardest yoga poses for weight loss we listed here.
Chair pose can be considered the squat of yoga as you will be holding on to the squat position in the middle of the movement. Your quads, hamstrings and calves will feel the burn after a few seconds doing the chair pose.
- Stand tall with your hands on the side of your body, close to your hips.
- Lift your arms to shoulder height, in front of your body.
- Continue lifting upwards towards the ceiling.
- Bend your knees close to a 90-degree angle. Feel the weight of your body on your ankles and calves.
- Hold the position for 20 seconds. Repeat as many times as you want.
If you want to add instability, you may stay on the tip of your toes during the movement, instead of having your feet planted on the floor.
2. Twisted Chair Pose – Parivrtta Utkatasana
The Parivrtta Utkatasana will work on your lower body muscles and it quickly can drain you out of strength. This is a standing yoga pose variation of the previous pose mentioned and it will target your thighs, glutes and hips.
- Stand tall with feet together. Raise your hands above your head with arms straights.
- With arms stretched out upwards the ceiling, bend your knees. Now you should be in the chair pose.
- Lower your arms and put your hands clasped together in prayer position at your chest.
- Twist your torso to the right and put your left elbow on the outside part of your right thigh, resting your arm there.
- Go back to the previous position and repeat the movement, this time twisting to the left.
3. Bow Pose – Dhanurasana
The bow pose is a basic posture of Hatha Yoga, it improves digestion and appetite, improves blood circulation and strengthens back muscles while giving a good challenge to your abs.
- Lie down on the floor. Face and stomach down on the mat.
- Inhale and bend your legs backwards. Grab your ankles with your hands. Your body should be in the shape of a bow.
- Your entire body weight should be on your abdomen, the only body part that is touching the floor.
- Hold the position for 20 seconds and take a deep breath in.
- Exhale and slowly come back to the first position, laying on the floor.
4. Boat Pose – Naukasana
Another one of the simplest yoga poses for weight loss that targets your back and your core while giving a bit of a challenge for arms, thighs and shoulders as well. The more muscles you work in one pose, the more calories you are likely burning.
- Lie on the mat, look to the ceiling.
- Keep your legs and arms straight at all times.
- Slowly raise your hands and legs together. Feet pointing to the ceiling and hands forward.
- Aim to get your body in a V-shape, holding your belly in and contracting your core muscles. Hold it for 60 seconds and take deep breaths in and out.
5. One-Legged Downward Dog = Eka Pada Adho Mukha Svanasana
The one-legged downward dog is a variation and intermediate level of the downward dog pose.
This exercise does what yoga is all about: it stretches, strengthens and lengthens your muscles, from your hips, legs to arms and shoulders.
- Get into a plank position with hands pressed down on the mat and arms straight. Keep your back straight as well.
- Lift your hips up, but keep hands and feet pressing against the mat. Your body should be in an inverted V -shape. That is the normal downward dog pose.
- Straighten one leg and lift it up to make it a three-legged downward dog.
- Hold position for a few seconds then change the leg that goes up in the air.
6. Sun Salutation – Surya Namaskar
Considered one of the most complete asanas, Surya Namaskar, or sun salutation, works your entire body, making it one of the best yoga poses for weight loss. It consists of 12 different yoga poses combined in one cycle.
- Stand on the mat, feet together, expand your chest and relax your shoulders. Breath in, lift both arms, exhale and bring palms together in front of your chest in prayer position.
- Breath in, lift your arms above your head towards your back to stretch your whole body.
- Breath out and bend forward, keeping the spine erect. Press the palm of your hands on the floor beside your feet.
- Breath in and push your right leg back and stay in a lunge position. Keep the left foot between your hands. Breathe out.
- As you breathe in, bring your left leg back and stay in a plank position.
- Bring your knees down to the floor and exhale. Hips slightly back, you slide your body forward resting your chest and chin on the floor. Raise your butt a little. In contact with the floor should be hands, feet, knees, chest and chin.
- On to the cobra pose, you slide your body forward and raise your chest up. Look up and breathe in.
- Breath out and move to the downward dog position – hips off the floor, up in the air, chest points downwards in an inverted V.
- Breath in and move your right foot forward, in a lunge position, with that foot in between your hands. Left knee touches the floor.
- Breath out and bring your whole body forward, keep your palms pressed against the floor and tuck your head close to your knees.
- Breath in and roll your spine upwards. Lift your hands up in the air stretching your entire body once again reaching backwards and pushing your hips slightly outwards.
- Breath out and bring your hands next to your body. Relax in this position.
Perform the same movement with the left leg going forward.
7. Bridge Pose – Setu bandha Sarvangasana
This yoga pose will activate the biggest muscle you have on your body: your glutes. And if it is the biggest muscle in your body, then it needs the most energy to function, hence burning more calories.
- Lie on the mat facing up. If necessary, have a towel or blanket under your shoulders to protect your neck before you start the movement.
- Bent your knees to 90 degrees, but keep your feet touching the mat. Your hands on the side of your body should barely touch your heels.
- Press your feet, inner thighs and glutes to elevate your tailbone off the mat. Keep feet parallel.
- Lift your buttocks until thighs are almost parallel to the floor.