Yoga Poses for Weight Loss for Beginners | 12 Yoga Asana
Yoga Poses for Weight Loss: One of the most common questions we ask from a yoga teacher is “Will doing yoga help me lose weight?” The answer is definitely. The ancient wisdom of the healing system of yoga always addresses the root cause of health issues, not just the symptoms. Excess weight is the symptom of a deeper problem or rather an opportunity for improvement.
Yoga poses for weight loss can be achieved, not only for building muscle and burning calories, but because doing yoga engages your mind—and strengthens your mind-body connection. After all, it’s your mind that steers you toward a healthy lifestyle: wholesome foods, moderate exercise, sufficient sleep and a balance between work and play.
Yoga will also increase your range of motion and make you more limber, which will in turn make other types of activity more enjoyable. These yoga poses for weight loss focus on strengthening the larger muscle groups, including the legs, abdominals (core) and shoulders, which will help you burn more calories, even after your workout. To increase your metabolism, make sure you breathe deeply as you hold each yoga asana, and concentrate on the feeling of your muscles firing.
“A yoga retreat can be a powerful way to cultivate the empowered, grounded and centered state of mind required to make real inward or outward change, whether it’s losing weight, over-coming stress or grief, or stepping into our full potential to create the life we want.”
1. Vrkasana or Tree Pose
Although tree pose improves physical and mental balance, it’s also an excellent asana that anchors a yoga for weight loss routine, as it is weight-bearing and Tree Posestrengthens muscles in the legs and core. If you wobble, tighten your hamstrings, quadriceps and abdominals. You’ll feel more stable—and put those major muscle groups to work.
How to do it
Stand with your feet together, hands at your sides and your eyes forward. As you exhale, bend your left knee and grip your right leg with the left foot, heel in front, toe in back. Aim for your calf the first time, and as your fitness and balance improve, grip your right leg above the knee, with the left heel on the front of the thigh, and the left toes pointing back. (Never directly on the knee.) Inhale and raise your arms over your head like the branches of a tree. It helps to focus your eyes on a spot directly in front of you—a picture on the wall, or even a real tree. Imagine zipping your muscles tight from your toes to the top of your head, especially your core muscles. Hold tree pose for 6 to 8 breaths, then repeat standing on your left leg.
2. Urdhva Mukha Svanasana or Upward-Facing Dog
Upward-facing dog plays a key role in yoga poses for weight loss for by building muscle mass in the shoulders, arms, core and legs. upward facing dog pose to lift your hips off the floor, tighten your rear and thigh muscles.
How to do it
Lie face down with the tops of your feet on the mat. Place your hands in “push-up” position, but near your waist (instead of below your shoulders). Spread your fingers wide and feel the energy in your hands. Exhale, and press your hands into the mat and slightly back, then straighten your arms to lift your torso, hips and legs off the floor. Your weight is distributed between your hands and the tops of your feet. Pushing your hips forward, pull your shoulders back a little to broaden and open your chest. Look forward and breathe, working up to holding this yoga poses for weight loss for 6 to 8 breaths.
3. Adho Mukha Svanasana or Downward-Facing Dog
Following “up dog,” “down dog” feels like a relief, as you go from a backbend to a forward bend. As you gain more flexibility in your lower back, going from “up” to “down” and back again will feel like a massage for your spine. Downward-facing dog works your shoulders, arms and wrists, giving your upper body a long, lean look and supporting weight loss by working those muscles. By lowering the head below the heart, this yoga poses for weight loss also boosts your metabolism and combats fatigue.
How to do it
From upward-facing dog, turn your toes so the balls of your feet face the floor, then raise your rear and push back with your arms at the same time. Sometimes it helps to imagine a string pulling your hips toward the ceiling. Adjust your body so your weight is evenly distributed between your feet and hands. Relax your head and neck, with your ears between your arms. While keeping your arms straight, straighten your legs as much as you can, and visualize your heels dropping towards the floor. Work up to holding “down dog” for 6 to 8 breaths, balancing your weight between your arms and legs, and working towards an upside-down V-shape with straight knees. As a yoga poses for weight loss posture, downward dog is one of the most effective for long term muscle development.
“Engagement in yoga is about self awareness on a mental and spiritual level. You simply achieve that through physical practice.”
4. Uttihita Chaturanga Dandasana or Plank Pose
The plank asana strengthens your core and arm muscles, making it a perfect in yoga poses for weight loss. When you feel your arms burning, pull your plank poseabdominal muscles up and in to give your arms a break.
How to do it
From downward-facing dog, step your legs back one at a time so you are in the classic push-up position, as straight as a plank of wood. If you’re feeling energetic and nimble, try jumping both of your feet back together. Your weight is distributed between your hands and your toes. Take your mind off of your arms by concentrating on fighting gravity with your abdominal muscles. Pull them up and in. Your first time, you may hold this for one breath before collapsing. Work up to a full minute.
5. Vasisthasana or Side Plank Pose
Like plank pose, the side plank asana looks easier than it is—so concentrate on side plank posealigning your body and engaging the muscles along your sides. When practicing yoga poses for weight loss, a slow, steady pace will help you reach your goals. This pose works your oblique muscles, as well as your shoulders, legs and rear.
How to do it
From the plank position, shift your weight to your right arm and your right toe. Turn your right foot so the outside edge is on the floor. See if you can balance. Can you lift your right hand? Adjust as necessary. Stack your left foot on top or your right and put your left hand on your left hip. You’re balanced on your right hand and the outside edge of your right foot. Press up through your right arm and out through your feet, keeping your body straight. Again, it may help to imagine your body as straight as a plank of wood. When you feel ready, stretch your left arm toward the ceiling. After a few seconds, go back to plank and repeat on the other side. Work up to a half minute.
6. Virabhadrasana or Warrior II Pose
Yoga poses for weight loss work major muscles in the lower body to build muscle. Warrior II builds muscles in the quadriceps, as well as the glutes and hamstrings.
How to do it
Stand with your feet together, hands at your sides and your eyes forward. As you exhale, take a big step forward about the length of your leg with your right foot. At the same time, point your right arm forward and your left arm back. With your left toes turned out about 45 degrees, concentrate on balancing your weight between your front (right) and your back (left) feet, putting real energy into the back leg. Your hips, eyes and right arm all face forward, as if you are going into battle. On your next exhale, bend your right knee until your right thigh is parallel with the floor, continuing to hold your left leg steady. Look forward in the direction your right toes and arm are pointing, and hold for 6 to 8 breaths. Stand up straight and reverse.
“Yoga is a self sustaining isometric system that incorporates physical exercise with deep rhythmic breathing and meditation.”
8. Mountain Pose or Tadasana
Considered one of the easiest yoga poses for weight loss this pose improves your posture and balance. It also helps to slowly warmup the body.
How to do it
Stand with feet together, hands at your sides, eyes looking forward. Raise your toe and fan them open to the floor. Feel your heel, outside of your foot, toes and ball of your foot all in contact with the floor. Tilt your pubic bone slightly forward. Raise your chest up and out. Raise your head up lengthening lifting the base of your skull toward the ceiling. Push into the floor with your feet raising your legs. Breathe and hold the posture, staying relaxed. Breathe again. As you inhale, visualize your breath coming up from your toes, rising through your legs and torso and up to your head. Reverse the process as you the exhale. Hold for breaths, and repeat 5 times.
9. Forward Bend Pose or Uttanasana
Yoga poses for weight loss often focus on the legs to build muscle. This pose stretches your legs and spine. It also works your hamstrings, a major muscle area that burns calories.
How to do it
Begin standing straight in the Mountain pose described above. Inhale and raise your arms overhead. Exhale and bend at your hips. Bring the arms forward and down until you touch the floor. Bend your knees if your hamstrings are not fully warmed up. You can grab your ankles or just leave hands resting on the floor. Breathe slowly several times. Repeat this 3-5 times. On your last asana, hold for 5 breaths. You will want to curl upward as you release from the pose pulling yourself up one vertebrae at a time.
10. Triangle Pose or Trikonasana
Working on yoga poses for weight loss that stretch the spine open the torso lead to strength gains. They also improves balance as this pose does. It also works your leg’s quadricep muscles contributing to higher levels of calorie burning.
How to do it
Start with your feet apart about 3 to 4 feet and parallel. Turn your left foot 90 degrees left and your right foot about 45 degrees inward. Inhale then raise both of your arms so they are parallel to the floor. Turn your head to the left as you exhale. Look down your left arm toward your fingers. Make sure your left knee is in line with the left ankle. Take a breath and stretch out to the left. Tilt your left hip down and your right hip up. When you’ve stretched as far as possible pivot the arms, allowing your left hand to reach down and rest against the inside of your calf. Your right arms should point straight up. Turn and look up at your right hand. Breathe several breaths. Then inhale, and straighten up. Exhale and lower the arms. Put your hands on your hips and pivot on your heels, bringing both feet to face front. Perform the pose on the other side.
11. Cobra Pose or Bhujangasana
Yoga poses for weight loss should also focus on the back and arms to develop triceps, shoulder and abdominal muscles for increased fat loss.
How to do it
Lie on your stomach and keep your legs together with your arms at your side. Keep them close to your body and keep your hands by your chest. As you inhale, slowly raise your head and chest as high as possible. Keep your butt muscles tight so as to protect the lower back. Keep your head up, pushing your chest and heart out. Breathe 3 times and then come down. Repeat five times.
12. Bridge Pose or Sethu Bandhasa
All yoga poses for weight loss should also help you to increase your flexibility. This challenging pose strengthens the lower back, abdominal and chest muscles.
How to do it
Lie on your back with your knees up and your hands at your side. Your feet should be near your buttocks, six inches apart. Gently raise and lower your tailbone. Slowly raise the tailbone and lift up your spine, moving one vertebra at a time until your back is completely arched upward. Push your feet firmly downward. Make sure your knees are straight and close together. Breathe into your chest. Clasp your hands under your back. Then push against the floor. Take five deep breaths. Bring your body down slowly and repeat five times.
Remember: All the yoga poses for weight loss are only effective if combined with a healthy, natural diet. You need to consider the types and amounts of calories you eat for a holistic weight loss approach.
To conclude, try going back to tree pose, and see how different it feels now. Do you feel stronger and more balanced? Yoga involves using large muscle groups and burning calories by flowing from one pose to another. Combining these asanas with a balanced diet and healthy lifestyle are a long term approach to successfully practicing yoga poses for weight loss —as well a strong body and a calm mind.