Yoga For Weight Loss: 5 Poses to Try Now

The concept of practising yoga is gaining prevalence across the globe. However, is yoga helpful in managing your body weight too?

Well, yes. Yoga for weight loss is an actual concept. And today, we will get you through the best yoga poses you can practice for weight loss.

What is Yoga?

The term yoga is derived from the Sanskrit term “Yuj,” meaning “union” or “yok.” It combines several physical postures, and mental exercises called asanas to strengthen and balance psychological and physical well-being.

The ultimate goal of yoga is to attain inner peace and a state of complete oneness or “samadhi1,” where the body and universe are one.

The Yoga Sutra of Patanjali, considered one of the foremost texts on yoga, says that traditional yoga comprises eight limbs called Ashtanga, which includes asanas (physical postures), pranayama (breathing techniques), Dharana, and dhyana (meditation).

Types of Yoga

What are the different types of yoga? | Hatha, Vinyasa, Ashtanga, Iyengar, Bikram, Hot Yoga and Yin

There are various styles of yoga poses you can try practising according to your body composition and level of intensity. Some popular types of yoga poses include:

  1. Hatha Yoga: A combination of gentle yoga asanas often preferred by beginners, this form of yoga introduces practitioners to basic asanas and relaxation techniques. These include Tadasana or the mountain pose, and Adho-Mukha Svanasana 2or the downward-facing dog pose.
  2. Ashtanga yoga: A series of intense styles and postures collectively known as power yoga is an extremely effective tool that helps you achieve your weight loss goals and burn calories efficiently. Some common asanas of this yoga practice are Kapalbhati pranayama, Anulom vilom pranayama, Padmasana.
  3. Iyengar yoga: This style focuses on maintaining proper body posture and alignment. It involves the use of various props that aid in stretching the body. This is an ideal form of yoga to increase body flexibility and improve digestion.
  4. Vinyasa yoga: Also known as flow yoga or restorative yoga, this style involves slow-paced transitions between asanas. An ideal sequence of vinyasa yoga3 consists of the plank pose (Kumbhakasana) followed by the knees-chest-chin pose (Ashtanga Namaskara), the cobra pose (Bhujangasana), and finally, the downward dog pose (Adho Mukha Svanasana).

Yoga for Weight Loss

Yoga For Weight Loss | Yoga For Beginners | Weightloss Yoga | Yoga At Home | Cult Fit | Curefit

Weight loss has two important aspects, healthy eating and regular exercise. Yoga requires you to use your body to perform challenging poses, which can help strengthen and tone muscles.

Some common asanas help you lose weight and manage stress levels efficiently.

1. Boat Pose

Yoga for weight loss
By: Fizkes on Shutterstock

Procedure:

  • Sit straight on the yoga mat and extend your legs so your knees are straight and your toes are stretched properly.
  • Bend your knees and bring them closer to your chest so that your shins parallel the floor.
  • Extend your arms and align them parallel as well. Hold for approximately 30 seconds. Repeat this asana 8 to 10 times.

Benefits: It stretches your hamstring muscles, strengthens the spine and hip flexor, and stimulates the kidney, thyroid, and prostate glands.

Contraindications: People suffering from asthma4, diarrhoea, and headache should avoid this asana.

If you underwent a hip pathology or lower back surgery or are suffering from joint pain, this asana should not be performed by you.

2. Plank Pose

Procedure:

  • Start on all fours from the tabletop, move your feet backwards and keep your heels raised.
  • Strengthen your arms and core to hold the position for the next 40 seconds.
  • Repeat the same at least 5 times.

Benefits: Performing this asana regularly helps improve mental health and body posture and reduces stiffness. It also improves metabolism and aids in burning calories.

Contraindications: The plank pose should not be performed by people who underwent surgeries on arms, wrists, ankles, shoulders, and feet.

3. Supported Shoulder Stand

Supported Shoulderstand

Procedure:

  • Place 2 or more folded blankets or mats on the floor and lie on them with your shoulders supported and your head on the floor.
  • Lay your arms alongside your torso, bend your knees, and set your feet against the floor with heels closer to the sitting bones.
  • Now, exhale and slowly push your feet away from the floor, drawing your thighs into the front torso.
  • Continue to lift by curling the pelvis and torso away from the floor so that your knees come towards your face.
  • Stretch your arms outwards such that your fingers are pressed against the floor.
  • Bend your elbow, draw them toward each other, and spread your palms against the back of your torso.
  • Please take a deep breath and raise your knees toward the ceiling. Align your thighs with your chest and hang your heels by your buttocks.
  • Turn your upper thighs slightly inside while pressing your tailbone toward your pubis.
  • Finally, take a breath and straighten your knees while lifting your heels toward the ceiling.
  • Hold the pose for 30 seconds.

Benefits: It helps alleviate insomnia, reduces fatigue, and improves digestion. It also helps in stimulating glands and the lymph system and aids muscle tone.

Contraindications: Avoid performing the shoulder stand pose if you suffer from a neck injury, headache, or diarrhoea.

4. Power Yoga and Weight Loss

Power yoga is a rigorous form of yoga that involves many fast-paced asanas. It is a structured cardiovascular workout routine that rejuvenates your mind and body, aids in weight loss, and supports muscle strengthening.

Power yoga is a modern form of yoga and has its roots in Ashtanga. It is a strength-building exercise that boosts your stamina and provides a workout for your whole body.

Here are some common power yoga poses that help you shed excess weight

5. Dhanurasana (bow pose)

Dhanurasana | Bow Pose | Steps | Benefits | Yogic Fitness

Procedure:

  • Lie down on the ground with your belly touching the floor.
  • Fold your legs backwards to form an arch, and try to hold your feet with your hands.
  • Stay in this position for at least 30 seconds and repeat the same asana 7-8 times.

Contraindications: People suffering from high blood pressure, hernia, peptic ulcer, or heart ailments should restrain from performing this asana. Pregnant women should also avoid it.

6. Garudasana (Eagle Pose)

Procedure:

  • Stand straight with hands on the sides.
  • Lift your left leg and balance the body weight on the right leg by slightly bending your knee.
  • Now raise your arms so the elbows are parallel to the ground, and twist your arms.
  • Hold the position for 10 seconds. Come to the resting place and repeat 10 times.

Contraindications: Avoid performing this asana if you suffer from joint pain or arthritis or have undergone recent knee surgery.

Restorative Yoga Practice

Research funded by the American National Institutes of Health (NIH5) claims that practitioners who join therapeutic yoga classes for at least 6 months show significant progress in weight loss.

It reduces cortisol levels, a hormonal steroid produced by our body in excess response to stress. It is also known to increase abdominal fat.

A calm mind keeps the unwanted fat away. It also helps you boost stamina and is a preferred choice for overweight women and pre and post-natal women after seeking expert advice.

Sun Salutations and Calorie Burning

How To Do A Sun Salutation | The Right Way | Well+Good

The most reliable form of yoga is the sun salutation or the Surya Namaskar. It is a sequence of 12 powerful poses that work on your body’s core muscles. Repeat at least 10 cycles of sun salutations to burn calories and achieve weight loss targets.

  1. Pranamasana (prayer pose) – Stand straight on the mat, balancing your weight equally on both feet. Lift both arms as you breathe in and exhale, and bring both palms together in front of your chest, such as in a prayer position.
  2. Hastauttasana (raised arm pose) – Breathing in, lift the arms back up, keeping the biceps close to your ears. Press your pelvis forward and stretch yourself.
  3. Hastapadasana (standing forward bend) – Bend forward from the waist as you breathe out. Make sure to keep your spine erect.
  4. Ashwa sanchalanasana (Equestrian pose) – Breathing in, stretch your right leg back as far as possible. Keep the left foot exactly between your palm.
  5. Dandasana (stick pose) – Take the left leg back such that the whole body is in a straight line. Breathe in as you do so.
  6. Ashtanga Namaskara (salute with eight parts or points) – Gently bring your knees to the floor and exhale. Take your hips back slightly and slide forward to rest your chest and chin on the floor.
  7. Bhujangasana (Cobra pose) – As you slide forward, raise your chest upwards into bhujangasana. Stretch your upper body and look at the ceiling.
  8. Adho Mukha Swanasana ( Downward dog pose) – Form an inverted V pose by lifting your hips and tailbone upwards. Keep the heels to the ground as much as possible.
  9. Ashwa sanchalanasana (Equestrian pose) – Ashwa sanchalanasana (Equestrian pose) – Bring the right foot between both hands and place the left knee on the floor. Press the hip down and stretch your neck upwards.
  10. Hastapadasana (standing forward bend) – Bring your left foot forward as you breathe and place your palms on the floor.
  11. Hastauttanasana (raised arm pose) – Breathe and roll the spine up. Bend backwards and stretch your arms upwards. Ensure that your hips are pushed slightly outward, and your biceps are aligned parallel to your ear.
  12. Tadasana (mountain pose) – As you exhale, slowly straighten your body and bring your arms down. Relax and focus on your breathing.

With this, you complete one cycle of the sun salutation. It is an extremely efficient exercise for fat loss and shedding loads of calories.

Other Benefits of Yoga

Harvard medical school explains that the overall benefits of yoga extend way beyond the yoga mat. Regular yoga practice not only pushes you to promote weight loss and increase your physical activity levels but also helps you improve your lifestyle by inculcating healthy eating habits and heightening mindfulness. Yoga helps maintain a healthy lifestyle and improves hair and skin quality.

Consistent yoga practice also decreases stress and cortisol levels, enhances mood, decreases anxiety and depression, improves sleeping patterns, and manages chronic conditions such as hypertension and diabetes, reducing the need for steroids that can cause weight gain.

Mindful eating not just promotes weight loss but also has many health benefits associated with it. It encourages you to choose healthier food and follow a structured diet plan. Regularly practised yoga helps you develop a sense of mindfulness in your living patterns.

Studies claim that people practising yoga regularly are less likely to depict disordered eating patterns and are significantly less indulged in the practice of emotional eating; yoga connects you to your body and helps you listen to your body’s cues.

Role of a Yoga Community

Researches prove that social network significantly impacts behaviours that affect weight loss or weight gain. Being a part of a safer, comfortable, and motivating community can go a long way in your journey of gaining or losing weight.

A welcoming yoga community also helps reduce stress and a lot of calories6! It enables you to improve your self-esteem and confidence. Beginners should start slowly, without laying excessive pressure on their bodies.

If you cannot find one such group in your locality, you can always look it up on Youtube or Instagram.

Role of Eating Healthy

While yoga is an excellent way to increase your physical activity levels and burn fat, a yoga diet based on whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables, and healthy, nutritious meals can help you achieve and sustain better health and reduce weight.

These foods naturally nourish the body and eliminate toxins supporting the immune system and aiding calorie burn.

Conclusion

The benefits of yoga are not confined to weight loss or reducing excess fat. They are universal — no matter your shape or size, physical exercise helps you maintain your well-being. A yoga practice can take weeks or months; you might want to try a few different classes and many other workout routines.

However, yoga helps you sustain the benefits and is a lot of fun, beginner-friendly, and easily doable practice. All you need is a yoga mat and a lot of motivation!

But remember, frequent practice is key to long-lasting benefits.

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