You’ve probably heard of the myriad mental benefits of yoga. However, a good yoga routine can also help you to lose weight. If you’re new to yoga or out of practice, it may seem daunting to start. Below are five of the most effective yoga poses for weight loss, listed in no particular order.
1. Half-Moon Pose
The half-moon pose is a great core strength and stability pose. It also can help you maintain good posture throughout the day. Since good posture can help you avoid injuries, this is a great pose to do first thing in the morning. To do this pose, you’ll need to do the following:
- Stand with feet together and stretch your arms up to the ceiling, with hands together.
- Slowly bend to one side, being careful not to tilt your chest
- Hold the pose, then return to center. Repeat on the other side.
While you’ll need to make sure your diet is in check to lose weight, the core development this pose can give you will help speed the process along. This and other effective yoga poses for weight loss can help ensure that you develop a toned body as you lose weight.
2. Warrior II
This classic pose is easily recognizable. It also can help build your balance and your stamina, both mental and physical. These benefits earn it a place as one of the most effective yoga poses for weight loss. To do this pose, you’ll need to take the following steps:
- Stand with one foot in front of the other, about 3.5 feet apart.
- Extend your arms out at your sides, parallel to the floor.
- Rotate so your shoulders are over your pelvis. One hand should be facing to your front, and the other reaches behind you.
While this pose sounds simple, it involves a good amount of balance. It also improves proprioception and awareness of your body in general. These things can improve your effectiveness as a yoga practitioner.
3. Four-Limbed Staff
This pose is part of the Sun Salutation sequence. However, done by itself, it offers a challenging alternative to the traditional plank. To do this pose, do the following:
- Start with a plank pose.
- Slowly lower yourself so that your torso and legs are a few inches from the ground.
- Keep elbows close to your sides and brace your core.
- Hold the pose 10-30 seconds, or longer if desired.
The four-limbed staff pose, like the plank, can help develop core muscles. As one of the more effective yoga poses for weight loss, it is a challenging movement that you can easily integrate into your workouts for a new challenge.
4. Extended Side Angle Pose
The extended side angle pose offers a challenge of balance and core stability, and it also is useful for strengthening and building thigh muscles. To do this pose, do the following:
- Start in Warrior II, and bend your front knee, so it is directly above the ankle.
- Keeping your arms out, bend so your right arm reaches toward the floor next to your front foot.
- Keep your other arm extended to the ceiling, being careful to keep your chest open.
Like many effective yoga poses for weight loss, this is a pose that often looks easy until you’ve done it yourself. When doing this pose, making sure you pay attention to each limb is important. It works as a full-body exercise due to the amount of tension you need to hold the pose.
5. Boat Pose
If you’ve done calisthenics exercises in the past, you may recognize this as part of the dynamic boat exercise (also called the doubletuck). This excellent core strengthener also works your hip flexors. Because it targets the core and requires a lot of stability, it is one of the most effective yoga poses for weight loss. To do the boat pose, do the following:
- Start by sitting on the floor. Slowly raise your arms out in front of you.
- Lean forward slightly while keeping your back flat.
- Bending the knees, lift your feet off the floor, keeping your thighs at a 45-degree angle from the floor.
- Hold the pose, focusing on balancing on your seatbones.
This pose may take some practice to master. For an added challenge, work on holding the pose for longer periods of time as you become accustomed to it.
Yoga can be a great way to improve mental and physical health at the same time. By doing these exercises alone or combining them with an existing routine, you can move toward weight loss and better health. Comment below if any of these effective yoga poses for weight loss have helped you lose weight, or if there’s a pose you think needs to be added to the list!
Image sources: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5