Yoga can be a great tool for weight loss if done correctly. When you feel like you’d like to make changes in your body, you may want to look into a variety of fat burning yoga poses, some of which we’ll outline in this post. However, the first thing we need to mention is that weight loss has to be a holistic exercise. Yoga teaches self-awareness, and it is in this state that it’s possible to make changes, as it sets the precedence for behavioral change, and ultimately lasting weight loss.
Why Should You Try These Fat Burning Yoga Poses?
Yoga targets a variety of muscle groups, and is done in conjunction with timed breaths that go along with poses in order to activate your internal organs. The basic weight loss rule as preached by modern medicine is true when it comes to yoga for overweight people as well: you want to raise your base metabolic rate to help burn the calories introduced into your body via food.
Some of the Advantages of Yoga for Weight Loss
Yoga promotes self-knowledge, and enables you ask yourself the basic questions that you need to confront if you feel that your weight is getting out of control.
Most of the time, we hold deeply ingrained unconscious attitudes about food. Many people turn to food to placate their emotions and switch from feeling sad, depressed or frustrated to feeling happy. After some time, food doesn’t seem to be able to work for emotional issues, so we eat more, hoping to get back those pleasurable feelings. Yoga helps you identify these patterns, giving you that first push towards behavioral change.
Yoga also builds muscle, which is one of the requirements for fat burning. Your body uses muscle mass to burn through excess calories in problem areas such as the hips, thighs, buttocks and tummy. With time, you gain an impeccable frame and body tone that will help set of the fat-burning mechanism even when you’re seated or when you’re not exercising.
Yoga builds confidence, enabling you to have the needed self esteem to make lasting life changes. Most people who have gained weight for an extended period of time got there due to the fact that they didn’t have the best self esteem in the first place. Yoga corrects this if done for some time, and as you lose fat in targeted areas, you become more comfortable in your own skin and accepting of yourself.
Fat burning Yoga poses we’ll look into:
- Cobra Pose
- Humble Warrior Pose
- Bow Pose
All these fat burning yoga poses target specific regions of the body and muscles, so pick one and stick with it for a couple of weeks to a month. You should ideally do these exercises three times a week, and go through them in repetitions of about five each to get the maximum effect.
Before we get into the poses listed above, here’s a quick warm-up sequence to get you into the groove of things:
- Stand firmly on your mat. Breathe in and out about three times, and then pull your shoulders back. Don’t arch your lower back as this will compress the spine. Make sure that your tailbone doesn’t rise up, keeping your pelvis slightly jutting out. Keep your stomach muscles engaged, and then raise your hands up to clasp them above you.
- Breathe in, and then lift your body off the floor so that you’re balancing on the tips of your toes, or balls of your feet. Bring your arms slowly down to your sides as you breathe out. Lower your legs, making sure that your feet are placed flat and firm on the floor.
- Repeat sequence two three more times, and when you’re done, come down using the swan dive, and bring your hands behind you, holding them at the hip area on both sides.
- Bend your knees, and slide your arms down from your hips, all the way to the back of your thighs, coming to rest at your shins. It’s OK if your pelvis doesn’t completely bend forward. At the same time, if this is your first time, you might have tight hamstrings and hip flexor muscles, so you may not be able to completely unbend your knees. This will improve with time, so make sure not to force yourself.
- Stay here, and take a few breaths. When you’re ready, place your hands down on the floor, walking them towards the front of your yoga mat. Walk your legs back, and come to a downward facing dog position.
- Lengthen your spine, and push your heels down into the floor. Don’t force them if your hamstrings feel tight. You want to gain some length in your spine, which effectively engages and relaxes your back and the surrounding muscles, getting them ready for the fat burning poses we’ll be covering.
- Bring your knees down, and fold your upper body over them, coming into child pose. You can stay here for as long as it will take to normalize your breathing pattern.
This simple pose targets the back and digestive organs, helping activate the psychic energy located in these regions, and making the digestive process work better. This is because most people who’ve gained weight find that it takes time for them to digest food, leaving them feeling lethargic and with low energy.
- Lie on your stomach, stretching your spine and upper body, place your hands next to your shoulders, and breathe easily. Bring your stomach muscles in, while taking care not to lift your upper thighs off the floor.
- Raise your torso and upper body off the floor, and extend through your spine. Hold this pose for about three breaths, all the while listening to your body.
- Bring your head up and look straight ahead, and feel the shoulder muscles working that burn.
- Bring your torso down, and place your forehead on your mat.
- Bend your hands at the elbows, and then lift your torso again without using your hands to support yourself. You’ll feel the muscles of your lower back engaging. Hoist yourself up as far as you can come, and then bring your upper body down. Repeat this about four times.
- The breath sequence should be: Breathe in as you come up, and breathe out as you go down.
- On the fourth repetition, hold your torso up, and then lengthen your whole back. Be careful not to compress your spine as you may end up injuring it.
- When you’re done, lie on the floor and then come up to child pose, stretching and relaxing your body intuitively.
This pose should take you about seven minutes to do, and a bit longer if you’re a beginner.
Humble Warrior Pose
This pose is great for building leg strength and balance, as well as toning your shoulders and giving you the muscle tone needed to boost your metabolism. At the same time, this pose targets the fat located around your hips, legs and tummy, trimming down these three areas that are considered problem spots for people looking to burn fat.
- Start by positioning yourself into downward dog pose. Stretch out through the spine and back, and then raise your right leg up while breathing in.
- Step it in front of you as you breathe out, bringing it to rest in-between your hands.
- Find your center of gravity by making sure that your feet are firmly positioned on the ground.
- Turn your left foot slightly to the left, and then come up in an upright stance, with your right foot still being bent at the knee.
- Reach both your hands up, and clasp them above your head.
- Bring them down, take them behind you, and them clasp them together.
- Raise your chest while keeping your tailbone down, and pelvis forward. Look up, and then dive down into your right leg.
- Reach as far down as you’re able to without straining or hurting yourself.
- Take a couple of breaths here, and lunge down further.
- Bring your shoulders back, and don’t let them droop down into both sides of the head.
- When ready, come back up and unclasp your hands. Reach up into the sky, and breathe deeply.
- Breathe in, taking your body back into downward facing dog.
- Repeat the sequence above with the other leg.
This back exercise is great for improving digestion, improving concentration and awareness, stimulating the pancreas (which might help you avoid diabetes brought about by weight gain), and strengthens your back muscles.
- Lie face down on a mat, and bring your hands down next to both sides of the body, ensuring that your palms are facing down.
- Bend your knees, and hold your ankles with your hands.
- Lift your heels up and off the floor, which in turn will lift your chest off the floor.
- Ensure that your shoulders are down and away from the ears in order to relax your inner shoulder muscles.
- While in this position, your body weight should rest on your stomach and not hips. Hold this pose for about 30 seconds, and then let go, slowly bringing your legs down.
- Curl into the child pose, and relax your back muscles by stretching your spine.
- Stay in child pose for as long as you’d like, bringing your body back into equilibrium.
These fat burning yoga poses should be done in conjunction with other moderate exercise, as well as drinking lots of water throughout the day.