Many people think of yoga as this Zen-inducing routine of stretching that focuses on flexibility only. However, there is more to this ancient Indian meditative practice.
Yoga is a great way to lose weight because it transforms fat in your body into lean muscle mass, which helps your body lose weight easier since it focuses on boosting your metabolism.
This article will introduce you to yoga exercises that will help you shed the extra pounds while building strength and muscle. Many poses detailed here activate several muscle groups with one movement; this is the number one reason for the body to burn fat faster. On the other hand, yoga helps lower levels of cortisol, the hormone responsible for an increase if fat in the abdominal area, so its de-stressing properties help the body rid of weight.
The moves detailed here are ideal for yoga beginners and experts alike. Get a yoga mat, a water bottle, and get started with this efficient workout. We would however recommend you see your physician before attempting this exercise as is advised before starting any exercise plan. Their professional approval will help make you safe and avoid injury. You may find this 20-minute workout challenging at first, but you will get better with time and you will slowly become flexible and light physically and mentally.
Goddess Pose (Utkata Konasana)
This is a simple yoga pose that can stretch your core. It focuses on toning your glutes and strengthening your hips and quadriceps. It also helps integrate the upper and lower energy centers of the body
Start by standing with your legs wide, about 4 feet apart. Bend your knees and lower your glutes towards the floor as if you are going for a squat. Squeeze your butt muscles, keep your back straight, and push your hips forward for a nice stretch. Pulse up and down for one minute. Rest, and repeat again for one minute.
Chair Pose (Utkatasana)
This is the yoga version of a squat. It works the muscles of the arms and legs, tones the shoulders, hips, butt, and back, and helps tone your diaphragm and heart.
To perform this pose, stand with feet shoulder width apart. Inhale and raise your arms overhead with the palms facing in. With your back straight, exhale and bend your knees for a squat. Allow your knees to go over your toes, your thighs to be parallel to the floor, and your shoulder blades against the back. Hold this position for one minute. Rest and return to standing, then repeat one time.
This pose, also called Navasana, is perfect for beginners. It will help you lose belly fat as it focuses on abdominal muscles. Start by sitting with your legs extended in front of you. With your hands on the floor for balance, slowly lift your legs up to a 45-degree angle while leaning your body back. Once you feel steady enough, lift your hands off the floor slowly and place them on the outside of your knees. Try and strengthen your legs creating a V-shape and maintaining deep breaths throughout. Hold for one minute. Relax, and do it again.
This yoga pose stretches your neck, thorax, and spine and it is versatile in that it can energize and rejuvenate your muscles. Start by lying flat on the ground with your knees bent and heels touching your buttocks. Lift yourself using your gluteal muscles and core. Keep your hips high using you feet and shoulders for balance, without placing any strains on your neck. Your knees should be at a 90-degree angle so extend your arms underneath your body and reach higher with your hips to achieve that. Hold this position for 30 seconds while breathing deeply. Relax and repeat for two more times, each for 30 seconds.
Superman Pose or Viparita Shalabhasana is an easy move and a great exercise for working your lower back. Lie on your stomach, and then gently raise your head, chest, arms, and feet of the ground at the same time. Raise them as high as possible while keeping your lower belly and hips flat on the floor. Hold your gaze to the front ahead of you and maintain the pose for one minute. Relax, and then repeat for another minute.
Downward-Facing Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana)
This pose is the most iconic yoga pose, and for a good reason, as it works major muscles and offers an all-over stretch. Start on all fours with your back flat, knees below hips, and hands below shoulders. Inhale and hold it, then exhale while raising your pelvic area towards the ceiling. Help your body take the shape of an inverted V by pushing back into your heels. Stay in this pose for one minute keeping up deep breaths. Repeat for another minute.
Standing Forward Bend
Uttanasana will help soothe your mind and bring life back to your hamstring. It can be used as a resting pose through standing poses, or can be practiced as a pose in itself.
Stand upright with hands on hips. Exhale and bend forward from your hip while extending the front torso. Allow your head to hang from the root of the neck, and bring your fingers closer to your feet on the ground if possible. Lift the sitting bones up while pressing the heels firmly down for a better stretch. Hold this for 30 seconds to one minute at a time.
Plank Pose (Phalakasana)
This pose is also common among fitness lovers as it tones the abdominal muscles and it strengthens and balances your upper and lower body. Start with your hands and knees on the floor, and then extend your legs behind you as if you are aiming for a push up. Round your shoulders and inhale as you extend your spine. Keep a straight line, and keep your buttocks and the rest of your body from sagging. Hold this pose and feel your core tighten up for one minute. Relax and repeat.
Four-Limbed Staff Pose (Chaturanga Dandasana)
Also goes as the low plank pose; it is great to build strength in your wrists, arms, and toes. Start with the plank position, and then slowly lower your entire body down. Make sure your torso is parallel to your upper arms, and that your butt is lifted slightly higher than your torso. Hold this position while breathing deeply for 30 seconds.
Full side plank (Vasisthasana)
This pose is great for stretching and strengthening your arms, wrists, and legs. Of all the variations of side planks, we picked this specific one to focus on. Start in a side plank position with your feet extended while your left hand is under your left shoulder on the mat, supporting your upper body. Then, slowly raise your right leg while reaching for the toes with your right hand. Your legs and arms should be in a straight line. You can bend your right leg if it is difficult for you to extend it fully. Hold your right arm up towards the ceiling while fixing your gaze upwards as well. Keep the pose for 30 seconds, then rest and repeat on the other side.
Extended side angle pose
Also called Utthita Parsvakonasana, is a pose that focuses on strengthening your legs, knees, and ankles. It also stretches your shoulders, back, chest, and abdomen. To do this pose, start with a lunge pose where your left knee is bent forward at a 90-degree angle and your right leg straight back and your toes pointing forward (Warrior I pose). Bend your left elbow and let it rest on your left knee, or reach it down to the ground for a better stretch. Lift your right arm behind you so it forms a straight line with your right leg. Extend your fingertips to increase your stretch. Hold while breathing for 30 seconds, and then repeat on the other side.
Crow Pose (Bakāsana)
This pose is a little more advanced, but it will help you challenge your abilities. It helps improve balance and stretch the upper back while engaging the arms, wrists, and abdomen. Begin in a squatting position on your heels, and your hands out in front of you. Slowly lift your toes off the floor while resting your knees on the back of your upper arms, as close to your armpits as possible. Little by little, shift your weight forward while taking your feet off the ground and support that weight with your arms. Hold this pose for 30 seconds. If this pose is difficult for you to maintain, place your knees closer to your elbows.
Wheel Pose (Chakrasana
This is also a more advanced pose; it will help make you more flexible by stretching and strengthening your wrists, arms, abdomen, legs, and back. Start the pose by laying flat on your back, knees bent and heels touching your buttocks. Bend your elbows, and place your palms face down on either sides of your head. Gently push yourself up using your arms and feet. Make sure your elbows are not sticking out. Try and hold this position for 30 seconds. You will get better with time and practice.
Child's Pose (Balasana)
This is where you can take a break. Balasana is a resting pose that can be incorporated in the end of the routine or in between more challenging poses. It helps stretch the hips, ankles, and thighs while reducing stress and fatigue. Begin on your arms and feet, and then separate your knees about as wide as your hips while your big toes are touching. Rest your bottom on your heels, and bend forward while laying your torso on your thighs. Your chest and heart should sit comfortably on top of your thighs. Allow your forehead to touch the floor, and your arms to extend on the mat with your palms facing down. Relax your lower back and allow your upper back to broaden. Breathe in and out, keep your gaze inward, and hold this position for 1 minute.
Corpse Pose (Savasana)
Savasana may seem like the easiest pose but it is actually very challenging as it requires total relaxation. It helps relieve stress, calm the brain, and relax the body. When done right, it also helps lower blood pressure and reduces headache and insomnia.
Lie on your back in a comfortable position. Let your arms and legs drop open with the arms about 45 degrees away from your sides. If you are cold, use a blanket to keep warm. Close your eyes and take slow deep breaths through the nose and allow your body to relax entirely. Release any areas of contracted muscle in your body, and allow your body and mind to sink into a state of total relaxation. Keep this pose for 1 minute to 5 minutes for every 20 minutes of exercise.
To exit this pose, deepen your breaths, and then slowly stretch your whole body. Bend your knees into your chest and go into a fatal position by rolling over to one side. Inhale when ready and go up to a seated position.
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This is the ideal solution for those looking to lose weight, get more flexibility, and relieve pains and aches with a calm yoga practice. It will tighten and flatten your stomach, give you a strong metabolic boost and shape and tone your body all from the comfort of your own home.
Remember, getting yourself on that mat is the first step to losing that weight in a natural healthy way!