Yoga is a known stress buster, but it is also one of the most effective workouts for fighting stubborn fat stores. Yoga, when done routinely and correctly, is actually an incredibly powerful weight-loss tool. Studies show that yoga lowers levels of stress hormones and increases insulin sensitivity, a signal to your body to burn food as fuel rather than store it as fat.
Here are 12 yoga poses for weight loss will help you achieve your fitness goals faster. Hold each move for 30 seconds, or to your comfort level. Complete all pose then repeat 2-3 additional times.
1. Warrior I (Virabhadrasana A)
Warrior I is a natural pose that gives your back a nice stretch as it strengthens your core, thighs, and buttocks. Not only does it help you reduce belly fat, but it is also a calming position that promotes clarity and peace. The longer you hold warrior I pose, the more you will challenge your thighs. If you feel yourself shaking, that means it is working.
2. Warrior II (Virabhadrasana B)
Warrior II is similar to Warrior I, except it also allows you to open to the side, stretching and elongating different areas. You too can tone the muscles in your thighs and shoulders with this pose. To get the most out of the posture, try to bend your front knee so your thigh is parallel to the floor. The longer you can hold this position, the tighter your quads will get. The secret is to calm the mind and just breathe. Once you are done switch sides.
3. Warrior III (Virabhadrasana C)
Warrior III is the best for the tones butt. It is also a great way to strengthen your back, legs and arms. Trying to maintain your balance while holding the pose will require engaging all your leg, core, and back muscles. To get even more out of it, contract your abs while you hold the position. Not only will it help you balance, but it will flatten your belly too. The longer you can hold this pose, the more your butt will benefit. The first time you work on this pose, you might notice some serious soreness in your legs.
4. The chair (Utkatasana)
The chair is like holding a squat, so it really gets your quads, hamstrings, and calves burning. This pose strengthens the spine, pulls in the abs, and supports the hips and thighs. Since it activates such large muscle groups, the chair pose is great for burning calories.
Stand with feet together, toes forward, arms at sides. Inhale and raise arms overhead, palms facing each other. Exhale and sit back about 45 degrees, keeping knees behind toes and abs tight to support your back; gaze forward.
Note: you should not do this pose if you have a back or knee injury and should avoid if you suffer from chronic headaches or insomnia.
5. Boat pose (Naukasana or Navasana)
The boat pose firms your abs and back. So, it requires strong abs to hold yourself up, so focus on keeping your legs and back straight to avoid straining. Sit with knees bent, feet on floor, hands on thighs. With torso straight and head in line with body, lean back about 45 degrees, raising feet so calves are parallel to floor, toes pointed. On an inhale, extend arms and legs, keeping legs together. Exhale, and as you inhale, lower torso and legs 3 to 4 inches so body forms a wider V shape. Exhale and raise torso and legs. Repeat 3 to 5 times.
6. Plank pose (Kumbhakasana)
Holding a plank may be one of the best ways to strengthen your core. It may not look like much, but drop into plank and it will not take long to feel it in your abs. Planks will engage your abs, arms, and shoulders. Your body should be in a straight line, without sagging or raised hips, to maintain proper posture. Subtle adjustments can increase the intensity even more.
Draw your heels and the top of your head in opposite directions and keep your chest moving forward between your arms. Do this daily for develop rock-hard abs.
7. Downward dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana)
The downward dog is great for stretching your legs, arms, back and spine, so it is one of the most popular positions. For the most muscle-toning benefits, engage your thigh muscles as you rotate them inward, and do the same with your upper arms. Continue to press down through your hands and heels. Hold it and do not forget to breathe!
8. Upward dog (Urdhva Mukha Svanasana)
The upward dog is a back-bending yoga posture that lengthens and strengthens the spine, torso, and arms. This is good for upper body since it stretches the chest and spine, while strengthening the wrists, arms, and shoulders. It improves posture and can be therapeutic for asthma. Upward Dog creates suppleness in the back torso and abdomen, which stimulates the abdominal organs and improves digestion.
9. Triangle pose (Trikonasana)
Trikonasana is a standing yoga pose that tones the legs, reduces stress, and increases stability. It may not make your muscles shake like some other postures, but do it often for your abs. The twisting motion of trikonasana opens the chest and shoulders, helps to improve digestion and reduce fat deposits in the belly. It is a great aligning and stretching pose that works your entire body, including hips, thighs, calves, and shoulders, while toning the knees and ankles. It also stimulates the organs of the torso, improving metabolism. By engaging the muscles of the legs and arms, you can build more muscle and burn more fat.
10. Sun Salutations (Surya Namaskara)
Sun salutations slowly stretches and warms up the muscles, gets the blood flowing and all that good stuff. It has amazing weight reduction properties since it employs various forward and backward bending pose that flex and stretch the spinal column giving a profound stretch to the whole body. It builds internal heat while at the same time stretching and toning most of the major muscles. They can help trim your waist, tone your arms, balance your metabolism and stimulate your digestive system.
11. Bridge (Setubandhasana)
Bridge pose is great for the thyroid, high blood pressure, improve digestion and curb symptoms of menopause. This pose has a number of benefits including relief for stiff muscles, strengthening the hips and spine while also stretching the abdominal muscles to promote useful exercise.
The action of reaching your chest toward your chin gently massages the thyroid gland to produce this all important metabolism-regulating hormone. Pressing down with your feet engages your thighs and back end to help tone those muscles too.
12. Bow Posture (Dhanurasana)
The bow posture is ideal for strengthening the core and tightening abdominal muscles. It offers a full body stretch that increases energy and promotes easy digestion. Lie stomach down on the mat with your legs stretched out and your arms to your side. Bend the knees upward while reaching your arms back to hold your ankles or feet. Hold the position 15-30 seconds while breathing normally. Exhale and return to the lying position allowing your body to rest for 15 seconds. Repeat 5 times with rest time in between each pose