Can you use yoga for weight loss? Yes! Losing weight isn’t easy for anyone, but with the right attitude, you can make a real difference in how you look and feel.
These fat-burning yoga poses will help kick-start your metabolism and build up lean muscle tone. For some extra guidance, check out Gaiam’s Quick Start Yoga for Weight Loss. This informative DVD is a useful part of any positive-thinking weight-loss program. Other favorites include Trudie Styler’s Weight Loss Yoga and Colleen Saidman’s new Yoga for Weight Loss.
1. Cobra Pose
Even beginners can get good results from this simple yoga pose, which works to firm the buttocks and tone the abs.
Lie face-down on the floor, with the tops of your feet flat against the ground.
Press your legs and hips down. Place your hands under your shoulders, plams down and fingers spread apart.
Press into your hands, lifting your head, chest and upper back off the mat. Keep your gaze forward and up and your shoulder blades down and back.
Push back your shoulders and feel the stretch spread evenly along the length of your spine.
After a few deep breaths, relax to a prone position on an exhale.
2. Wind-Releasing Pose
This fat-burning yoga pose is great for targeting your abdominal area.
Lie down on the floor and bring your knees up to your chest with your ankles together.
Clasp your arms together over your knees as you bring your head up off the floor.
Breathe deep as you feel the stretch work your abs, then relax slowly.
3. Bow Pose
This advanced yoga pose can really burn fat while toning your arms, legs and abdominal area.
Lie down on your stomach, bend your knees and reach around to grab your feet.
Pull in your stomach and extend your feet upward, raising your upper body at the same time. Keep your shoulder blades down and back.
Hold for several breaths, then relax.
4. Side-Stretch Pose
This yoga pose can help raise your heart-rate and burn calories.
Stand with your feet slightly wider than hip width apart.
Rotate your torso and turn both your feet to the right. Keeping legs straight, exhale and hinge over your right leg until your torso is parallel to the floor, reaching your hands to the ground (if you can’t touch the floor, you can rest them on a block).
Hinge further with each exhale, moving your torso closer to your right thigh.
Remember to keep breathing, then relax and repeat in the opposite direction.
5. Warrior I Pose
This yoga pose can work your abs, thighs and arms, and is most effective if used as part of a sequence like Sun Salutation.
Standing straight, step your left leg 4-5 feet to the left, then rotate both feet and your torso toward the left.
Bend your left knee over your toes while keeping your right leg straight.
Raise both arms high above your head with your fingertips pointing upward, looking up at your hands.
How can you use yoga for weight loss?
With all the chanting and seemingly stationary poses, one might wonder how you can lose weight through yoga. But the truth is it can be an effective weight loss tool, if you practice it regularly and correctly.
The first factor you should consider is that not every type of yoga is conducive to consistent weight loss. Some types are better for reducing stress and helping relaxation but don’t provide the cardiovascular workout needed for weight loss. The second factor is consistency. As with any fitness plan, yoga needs to be done regularly and with intensity. Finally, it is important to remember to maintain a healthy diet in combination with any workout regimen.
Vinyasa: Flow yoga
One type of yoga that’s good for weight loss is Vinyasa, or flow yoga. This style of yoga is made up of a series of Sun Salutations that you move through quickly, allowing for the increased heart rate required for caloric burn and weight loss.
The best part about Vinyasa is that its popularity has led to the production of many yoga weight loss DVDs. With so many options, it’s easy to find a Vinyasa DVD that matches your skill level that allows you to begin losing weight in the privacy of your own home.
Bikram: Hot yoga
If you want more of a challenge, try your hand at Bikram yoga. Similar to Vinyasa, it takes you through a series of poses, but, instead of a cool yoga studio, you are in a heated studio that is heated up to 105°F.
As you move through the Bikram poses, you not only burn calories and fat but temporarily lose water weight while eliminating toxins. But note that Bikram yoga for weight loss is extremely vigorous, and should not be undertaken if you are pregnant or have certain medical conditions.
Nowadays, many gyms are offering power yoga, which combines yoga poses with a cardiovascular workout by pushing you through the poses faster and with less rest time in between. If your gym doesn’t offers such a class, the good news is that power yoga is also offered on DVD.
These yoga poses also strengthen your muscles and, subsequently, increased muscle mass will increase your resting metabolic rate, resulting in greater weight loss throughout the day.
The final benefit of yoga is mental clarity. Yoga reduces stress and allows you to take a break from your busy lifestyle. This brief rest from the hustle and bustle of life can permit you to take a moment and reevaluate your lifestyle choices.
For instance, you may reflect on the health of your diet, as well as whether or not your activity level is sufficient to keep your body in good shape. Yoga’s meditative atmosphere can provide an opportunity for self-awareness, which is always the first step to a healthier and happier you.