yoga poses you can use for weight loss

Beginner Yoga Poses You Can Use For Weight Loss

For the longest time, I always assumed yoga was great for only two things, decreasing stress and increasing your flexibility.

Little did I know, it’s also an excellent way for helping you rid yourself of body fat. So it should be no surprise I am going to be covering some basic yoga poses you can use for weight loss.

yoga poses you can use for weight loss

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Even though it CAN BE considered a relatively lighter form of exercise, it still allows you to burn up calories. You see, most people assume weight loss is the simple formula of burning more calories than they are taking in. Unfortunately, it’s just not that simple.

Factors that come into play

There are many factors that come into play such as stress, age, hormones, poor diet, insulin resistance, and metabolic issues are just a few. While yoga can’t fix everything I’ve listed above, it can strongly improve most of them. Let’s start with the most obvious one, stress!

Related: Top Ten Belly Fat Burning Foods

If you weren’t aware of how big of an impact stress has on your body, I’ll definitely inform you about this today. Stress releases cortisol, which can wreak havoc on your body in several different ways. According to the Mayo Clinic, being overly exposed to cortisol can cause:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Digestive Issues
  • Headaches
  • Heart Disease
  • Disrupted Sleep
  • Weight Gain
  • Memory and Concentration Impairment

Bottom line, it’s important to keep stress levels minimized as much as possible. Yoga is an EXCELLENT way to keep stress related cortisol out of the picture.

Now let’s switch our focus to the other main benefit of yoga, and that’s weight loss. Not all yoga routines are relaxing and low intensity believe it or not. Believe it or not, there are quite a few yoga exercises that get your heart rate up and allow you to burn away fat.

Related: 6 Kettle Bell Workouts For Beginners

That being said, you aren’t truly going to reap weight loss benefits from yoga if you’re eating poorly. This stands true to any exercise routine. The best formula for weight loss is a fitness routine (yoga included) incorporated with a good diet.

Alright, enough about the benefits already. Let’s get to the exercises!

Yoga Poses You Can Use For Weight Loss

1. Warrior 2 Pose (Virabhadrasana)

This is definitely a beginner friendly yoga pose. While it’s easy to understand, it’s also intense enough to get your body working enough to stimulate weight loss. It’s a great way to help open up your hips and strengthen up your core and thighs as well. It’s also a great way to relieve upper and lower back pain by stretching out the muscles and strengthen up around the midsection. Alright, let’s cover how to perform this exercise.

  1. You want to start by making sure your feet are spread apart. Next, move your right foot so that it is parallel to your body and make sure your right knee is bent. Now you want your left leg to be straight, and your left foot facing forward.
  2. Hold this position for 45-60 seconds, and then switch to the other side.
  3. You want to do 2-3 sets on both sides.

2. Eagle Pose (Garudasana)

This is a slightly more difficult pose to perform, but still relatively beginner friendly. The benefits you can experience from this pose are more strength in your legs, arms, and core stabilizer muscles.

The eagle pose is also great for improving flexibility in your neck and shoulders. Great for decreasing stress and improving concentration.

The primary muscles that are engaged are going be your thighs, arms, and core. In order to do this exercise you must:

  1. Start out in a standing position. Next, slightly bend your knees with your feet directly next to each other. Also, make sure your is nice and straight.
  2. Now lower the shoulders down so that they are nice and relaxed and begin to reach both arms forward. While bringing your arms forward, begin to drop the right arm underneath the left arm, and swing the fingertips up towards the sky so that your elbows are hooked in a V-shape.
  3. Cross your right leg over your left leg. Your left toe should be barely touching your yoga mat (almost floating), and hold this position.

You want to hold this position again, for 45-60 seconds, 3 sets on both legs.

3. Downward Facing Dog

This is also another one of the great yoga poses you can use for weight loss. Not to mention, it is an extremely popular pose. Some of the initial benefits of this pose are increased core strength, leg strength, spinal flexibility, and shoulder flexibility. In order to perform this exercise, you want to:

  1. First, start by positioning yourself in a tabletop position. You should be on your hands and knees. You want to start walking both your knees back a few inches and bring your butt into the air and stand on your toes.
  2. Assuming you have tight hamstrings, you do NOT want your legs completely straight. You want to focus on getting length in your spine. You can do this by simply putting a slight bend in your knees.
  3. Next, bring yourself into a plank position by bringing your body into almost a push-up position. Your hands should be placed shoulder width apart and your back should be nice and straight.
  4. Again, bring yourself back up to downward facing dog, and don’t forget to keep your knees slightly bent if you don’t have the flexibility yet.

This should be held in each position for 45-60 seconds and can do anywhere from 3-5 sets.

4. Boat Pose 

Yet another one of the great yoga poses you can use for weight loss. It’s great for improving hamstring and spinal flexibility, and of course for increasing core strength. The first thing you want  to do is:

  1. Begin slowly raising your legs up so that they are at a 45-degree angle. Next, raise your arms forward so that you have a good center of balance and they are just slightly past your knees
  2. You want to hold this for 45-60 seconds. For beginner yogi’s, start by aiming for 30 seconds.

You want to do 3-5 sets and aim to hold as long as you can for each set.

5. Plank Pose (Phalakasana)

Another simple, yet very effective yoga pose. Plank pose is great for building upper body strength as well as core strength as well. It incorporates all of the stabilizer muscles that often don’t get the exercise attention they need. To perform this yoga pose, you want to:

  1. First, start out by putting yourself into almost a push-up position.
  2. Hands should be shoulder width apart, and your weight should be balanced between your hands and the tips of your toes. 
  3. Keep your butt in line with the rest of your body, and make sure your body doesn’t drop down at all (your body should look like a straight line).

You want to hold this position anywhere from 30-120 seconds. Beginners should aim for 30 seconds and aim to improve their timing. 

Alright, this wraps up the yoga poses you can use for weight loss. Remember that it takes time to see progress. Just remember to continue and healthy diet and be consistent, and will see results.

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