How effective is yoga when it comes to weight loss? The answer is, quite effective! The way it does so is not just by building strength in your body, but also by inculcating peace and calm in your mind. When the mind is not overly occupied with stress, you’re in a much better position to take charge of improving and maintaining your fitness.
As helpful as yoga is for losing weight, it won’t be enough if you don’t accompany it with healthy eating. A healthy diet is a necessary companion to any form of exercise when the goal is weight loss. Combine yoga with a good diet, and you have yourself a great weight loss plan! Moreover, you could bolster your efforts by including some form of aerobic activity in your regime, along with yoga. This could be anything, from playing your favorite sport to walking/jogging in the park.
Focusing our attention here on yoga, we’ll go over the top 7 poses that can help you shed the extra weight.
1. Surya Namaskar (Sun Salutation)
Comprising of a series of 12 yoga poses, Surya Namaskar offers a thorough body workout unlike any other, which makes it worth including in your yoga workout for weight loss. The practice of Surya Namaskar enables you to work in different muscle groups, and when performed at a decent speed, it can elevate your heart rate too. So, you not only build and tone your muscles but also get an excellent cardio exercise out of this one. Instead of rushing from one asana to the next, spend just a few seconds in each of them, challenging your strength and stamina. Depending on your current fitness level, start by performing maybe a few rounds of Sun Salutation at first, and then gradually increase this number as you find yourself becoming stronger.
2. Setu Bandhasana (Bridge Pose)
Here’s a great yoga posture for the core and the lower body. Make Setu Bandhasana a part of your yoga routine, to target your glutes, core, legs, and back and increase strength in these areas. You also get to stretch your shoulders and chest in this back bending posture. Setu Bandhasana offers other benefits too, better digestion, a relaxed mind, better blood circulation, just to name a few. While this pose is quite beneficial in its own right, it also serves as a great preparative pose for getting into more advanced backbends, like Chakrasana or the Wheel pose.
3. Vasisthasana (Side Plank Pose)
One of the best asanas in yoga to burn abdominal fat as well as tone and strengthen the oblique muscles is Vasisthasana or the Side Plank Pose. In this pose, you’re required to really put your core muscles to work, in keeping yourself stable and balanced. That’s not all, you’re also building strength in your upper body, starting right from your wrists, through your arms, and up to your shoulders. Holding Vasisthasana is an opportunity for you to nurture focus and enhance balance. If Vasisthasana seems too difficult right now, there are beginner-friendly variations of the pose that you may like to try out initially.
4. Dhanurasana (Bow Pose)
Dhanurasana is a deep back bending asana that does many things for your body. It helps with building strength in back, thighs, and core. The pose is beneficial for back flexibility and digestion as well. If you suffer from constipation, Dhanurasana may help with it. There’s quite a stretch for your shoulders and chest in this pose, this can encourage a better posture. The pose is also considered to support the good functioning of various vital organs of the body. So, the benefits of Bow Pose are not just limited to the muscle level, but they extend to the health of your internal organs as well.
5. Navasana (Boat Pose)
When you’re holding Navasana, you are engaging and strengthening the muscles in your back as well as abdomen. Additionally, your hip flexors work hard to hold you in this position. Working your core while balancing yourself in this posture enables you to improve your physical and mental strength. If keeping the legs straight in Boat Pose is too much, for instance maybe because of tight hamstrings, you could also do the pose while keeping your knees bent.
6. Utkatasana (Chair Pose)
Love squats? Then you’ll love this standing yoga asana! This pose works on pretty much all your leg muscles, from your hip flexors, calves, quadriceps, hamstrings, to even ankles. Not to mention, it also works on your glutes, core, and back. The many incredible strengthening benefits of Chair pose are what make this pose so great for trimming down fat. The challenge of the pose is quickly realized as one holds it for a few seconds. In addition to strength, Utkatasana tests the stability of your body and mind too.
7. Ardha Chandrasana (Half Moon Pose)
A standing asana like Ardha Chandrasana is great for building strength in your entire body, particularly in your glutes, legs, and core. Even your ankles get stronger on practicing this pose. It’s not just your lower body that is doing all the work here, your upper body is participating too as you work on keeping your shoulders properly aligned and chest open.
Half Moon Pose teaches you coordination too, encouraging your body and your mind to work together so that you remain balanced and focused in this strenuous pose. It may take time and practice for you to build up your strength to get into this balancing posture. Don’t hesitate to use props along the way as you learn your way around Ardha Chandrasana.
There are various types of yoga that can be practiced for losing weight, Vinyasa, Hatha, Ashtanga, etc. Some of these styles may be more demanding than others. It’s for you to decide which yoga style is the most suitable for you at the moment. Seek the advice and supervision of a yoga instructor before attempting any yoga pose to ensure the pose is appropriate for your body and to perform the pose correctly and safely.