We live in a crazy fast-pace world, with high stress levels and a hectic lifestyle that can lead us to crave junk food, which affects our tummy and thighs. A great fitness routine and healthy diet can help and yoga for weight loss is a great alternative to running, cycling or jogging.
While a lot of people think that yoga is only about stretching and reducing stress, it can actually help you stay in shape and reduce weight. There are certain yoga poses that stimulate your metabolism and help you to get strong arms, toned legs and a flat tummy.
Here are our TOP 10 Yoga Poses for Weight Loss.
#1 Sun Salutation
Sun Salutations are a traditional yoga sequence that connect the breath with the movement into 12 yoga poses, which have a major impact on your entire body. You get your heart rate up as you fold forward and bend backwards alternately, which helps to detoxify your body. Start in Mountain Pose with your feet together, quads engaged, belly button pulled towards the spine, shoulder relaxed and your arms by your side, palms facing forward. Inhale and reach your arms out and up overhead, adding a slight back bend with your abs tight. Exhale and swan dive down over your legs with a straight back for as long as you can, trying to touch your knees with your forehead and reaching the hands for the ground. Inhale and come halfway up, lengthening the spine and prepare and on your exhale bend your knees, plant the palms and step or jump back into Chaturanga Dandasana. Inhale roll over your toes, straighten the arms and bring the chest forward into Upward Facing Dog, making sure only the tops of your feet and palms of your hands are touching the ground. Exhale, tuck your toes under, lift the hips up towards the ceiling and push back into Downward Facing Dog. Hold Downward Facing Dog for 5 breaths and at the bottom of the 5th exhalation, bend your knees, lift your heels and look in between the hands. Step, jump or float your feet in between the hands. Inhale lengthen the spine into a flat back and exhale fold back down over your legs. Inhale reverse swan dive all the way back up to stand with your arms reaching up towards the ceiling and on your exhale return to mountain pose. Repeat this sequence 5 to 10 times.
#2 Downward Facing Dog
Downward Facing Dog is a classic staple of any yoga class and it’s a great pose to rejuvenate and energize your entire body. It gives you a deep stretch in your hamstrings and builds strength in your shoulders, arms and legs. As your hips are higher than the heart, Downward Facing Dog is considered an inversion, which calms down the nervous system and is the perfect antidote for stress, while at the same time giving you increased memory power and improved concentration. From a plank pose with your shoulders right above the wrists, your body in one straight line and your feet hip-width distance apart, pull your belly button towards the spine to initiate the lift of your hips up towards the ceiling. Reach the hips as high as you can, keep your spine straight and reach your heels towards the ground. You should look like an inverted V shape. Hold for 45 to 60 seconds and repeat 3 times.
#3 Chaturanga Dandasana (Also Known as Low Push-Up)
The yoga push up will strengthen your arms, shoulders, core and leg muscles. The most important part is to keep proper alignment to benefit from this pose. Start in plank pose with your shoulders right above the wrists, belly button pulled towards the spine, tailbone slightly tucked under, legs straight and engaged and your feet hip-width distance apart. Shift your weight slightly forward and bend your elbows to a 90-degree angle, making sure your elbows stay hugged in to your body and your hips don’t sag or spike. Go up and down between Chaturanga Dandasana and Plank pose 12 to 16 times.
#4 Dolphin Pose
Dolpin is a great combination of strength and stretch, with similar benefits as the Downward Facing Dog. Start in a forearm plank with your shoulders right above the elbows, your forearms parallel to each other, your body in one straight line from the crown of your head to your heels and your feet hip-width distance apart. Engage your core and lift the hips as high as you can while walking the feet forward as much as you can. Hold for 30 to 60 seconds before walking the feet back out into forearm plank and repeat 3 times.
#5 Boat Pose
Boat pose is a power-packed exercise to tone your abs. Sit on the ground with your legs stretched out in front of you, knees bent. Lean slightly back with your spine straight and slowly raise your feet off the ground, one at a time. Extend your legs so they are at a 45-degree to the ground and extend your arms straight forward at shoulder height. Your body should look like a V shape. Hold for 30 to 60 seconds and repeat 3 times.
Locust strengthens the muscles in your back and legs, while at the same time opening up the chest and lengthening your spinal column. Like every back bend, locust boosts your energy and gets you going. Lie on your belly with your arms alongside your body, palms facing up. On an inhale, lift your head, upper body, arms and legs off the ground, making sure your abs are engaged at all times to protect your lower back. Keep your arms and legs active and hold for 30 to 45 seconds before lowering everything back down onto the ground and turn your head to one side. Repeat 3 times.
#7 High Lunge
High lunge increases your heart rate, which helps to give your metabolism a boost. Start in Downward Facing Dog and step your right foot forward in between your hands. Let your hips sink low so your right knee is bent to a 90-degree angle in a low lunge. Lift your torso and reach your arms up towards the ceiling, palms facing each other and make sure your shoulders stay relaxed and your belly button is pulled towards the spine. This can be a challenge for the balance, but aim to hold the lunge for 45 to 60 seconds before switching sides.
#8 Eagle Pose
Eagle helps with digestion, energizes your entire body and builds lean, strong legs. Start standing tall with your feet together, tailbone tucked under, core engaged and shoulders away from the ears. Bend your knees slightly, lift your right leg up and bring it over your left leg. If your flexibility allows, hook your right ankle behind the left calf. Sink your hips low as if you were sitting down on a chair and reach your arms out to the side. Swing the right arm underneath the left, bend the elbows and aim to get the palms of your hands together. Lift the elbows up to shoulder height, the hands away from your face and make sure your shoulders are down the back. Hold for 45 seconds to 1 minute before releasing the pose. Shake your legs and arms and switch sides.
#9 Twisted Chair
Twisted Chair is great for your weight loss efforts, because it increases circulation and the twist wakes up your internal organs and aids in digestion. Stand with your feet together, tailbone tucked under, belly button pulled towards the spine and your shoulders away from the ears. Bend your knees and sink your hips low as if you were sitting in a chair, aiming to get the thighs parallel to the floor. Bring your hands together in front of your heart and on an exhale, rotate your spine and hook the right elbow to the outside of your left knee. Look down for a moment to make sure your knees are in line with each other and then bring the gaze up towards the ceiling. Keep your chest lifted the whole time and hold for 30 to 45 seconds before switching sides.
#10 Bridge Pose
Bridge can be considered a gentle inversion and because your chest is lifted towards your chin, your thyroid gland is being massaged. The thyroid produces the hormones that regulate your metabolism so going into bridge can help speed up your metabolism. Lie face-up on the ground and bend your knees. Your feet are hip-width distance apart and close to your butt. If you extend your arms forward, you should be able to touch your heels. Pull your belly button towards the spine and lift your hips up towards the ceiling, interlace your hands underneath you and wiggle your shoulders underneath you. Hold Bridge for 45 to 60 seconds and slowly roll back down to the floor. Repeat 3 times.
While these yoga poses help you to tone your body and lose weight, you need to watch what you eat, because you can never out-train a bad diet. Rely on fresh, organic foods and home-cooked meals. If you can stay on track with your eating habits and combine it with a consistent yoga practice, a killer physique will be yours in no time.
YOGA AND NUTRITION GETS YOU BACK IN SHAPE
Joschi & Monika