If you’re looking to lose a few pounds, then you might be thinking of taking up running or another form of high intensity cardio exercise.
However have you considered yoga?
One of the many health advantages of yoga is that it can transform your physique, it’s just a case of finding the perfect asanas!
To help you get started, we’ve put together a list of the best poses for weight loss:
1. Plank Pose (Phalakasana)
Struggling to shed the pounds, particularly around your tummy? Plank is a good asana to begin with.
Experts describe how it uses your abdominal muscles to the max!
By working your tummy muscles in this way, they’ll grow stronger, helping you to start shifting belly fat.
Plank is an isometric asana, as your body is held in one position throughout.
It’s this hold that causes you to burn between two and five calories per minute, depending on your weight.
Plus it gives your body a full stretch, ideal if you want asanas for back pain.
Pin it for later!
Don’t forget to pin these fat-burning asanas for later!
2. Bridge Pose (Setu Bandha Sarvangasana)
Yoga influencer, Adriene Mishler, explains how the bridge posture stimulates the thyroid gland.
It’s this gland that she explains is responsible for “energizing and fueling your calorie burning fire”!
Bridge also has a number of other health boosting advantages, including improving digestion and increasing your flexibility.
Focusing on the one-legged variation of the posture, Tarun Shah, an experienced yoga teacher based in India, states:
If this pose is practiced regularly, it has the ability to reduce thyroid problems, relieves menopause symptoms, and helps with digestion.
It works wonder for people with asthma, high blood pressure, osteoporosis, and sinusitis.
Watch Adriene Mishler demonstrate how to practice setu bandha sarvangasana effectively:
3. Shoulder Stand (Sarvangasana)
Shoulder stand is not the easiest movement to master, so certainly not an asana for beginners.
Sequence software builder Tummee reminds yogis that the shoulder stand is known as the ‘mother of all yoga poses’.
That’s because it engages all parts of the body, trimming down areas around the tummy, buttocks, thighs and hips.
Some even refer to it as “the ultimate yoga asana to shed fat and tone your body”.
Activating your core muscles, it helps shed fat around your middle and can even improve your blood circulation.
It’s also thought, like the bridge, that it stimulates the thyroid gland and aids your digestion.
4. Extended Side Angle (Utthita Parsvakonasana)
One way to get in shape is by boosting your metabolism. Extended side angle can give it the kickstart it needs.
Erin Dewar, owner of The Middle Way Yoga, describes how the stance stimulates the abdominal organs.
It also gives the legs a good stretch and helps you increase your stamina — perfect if you’re stepping up your exercise regime.
In fact, research published in 2012, proved that leg-related positions such as this one improve leg muscular strength.
5. Downward Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana)
Downward dog is one move you’ve likely heard of! It offers so many rewards, including being super powerful for your digestion.
Better digestion can be key to ensuring that you absorb the nutrients you need and can lead to healthier weight loss.
As you engage your abdominal muscles, you’re helping to strengthen and tone your stomach.
It’s this movement that gets your digestive organs moving and allows your body to digest food more effectively.
Downward dog can also stop food preoccupation that can develop as a result of weight management.
A study in 2010 looked at 50 adolescents aged between 11 and 16 years old with eating disorders.
Researchers found that obsessive concern about food was reduced after practicing.
6. Boat Pose (Navasana)
This is another metabolism boosting form!
Navasana was used in a trial in 2016 that focused on abdominal obesity in 60 young women.
The women undertook a maximum of 42 hours of supervised practice. Boat was included to work on the core.
Results showed that abdominal circumference was significantly reduced, with improvements also noted in waist/hip ratio, body fat percentage and self-esteem.
It’s worth noting that none of the participants embarked on a low-calorie diet while taking part in the study.
Researchers concluded that the practice should be recommended as a technique for combating abdominal obesity.
7. Twisted Chair Pose (Parivrtta Utkatasana)
If you’ve indulged a little too much lately then get back on track with this fat-burning posture.
It’s great for digestion and detoxification, ideal if you’re looking for a way to cleanse your body.
Parivrtta utkatasana can also help you build muscle, so perfect if you want to practice yoga for strength.
Doctors are keen to highlight however that the form isn’t some magical fix!
It’s still important to eat a nutrient-rich diet and stay motivated to exercise regularly.
8. Bow Pose (Dhanurasana)
Take a look at this fun stance if you want to shed the pounds.
By creating the shape of a bow, the whole weight of your body comes to your abdomen, strengthening the muscles.
Dhanurasana is also thought to be powerful for anyone struggling with low mood and trying to find yoga poses for mental health.
It could be uncomfortable for people experiencing back pain, so if you’re struggling you might want to avoid this one.
Time to get moving!
If you’ve started to pull on your running shoes as part of your weight loss mission, then stretching can help there, too!
Both pre and post race, practice our yoga for runners to improve your posture and performance.
- Tummee.com (2023). Plank Pose Yoga (Phalakasana) [Online]. Available from: https://www.tummee.com/yoga-poses/phalakasana [Accessed 11 July 2023]. ↩
- Whelan, C. (2019). How Many Calories Does Planking Burn? [Online]. Healthline. Available from: https://www.healthline.com/health/exercise-fitness/how-many-calories-does-planking-burn [Accessed 11 July 2023]. ↩
- Mishler, A. (2023). Bridge Pose [Online]. Yoga With Adriene. Available from: https://yogawithadriene.com/adriene-mishler/ [Accessed 11 July 2023]. ↩
- Jha, S. (2020). Experts say, the one-legged bridge Yoga asana is something you must learn [Online]. The Times of India. Available from: https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/life-style/health-fitness/fitness/experts-say-the-one-legged-bridge-yoga-asana-is-something-you-must-learn/articleshow/78387371.cms [Accessed 11 July 2023]. ↩
- Tummee.com (2023). Sarvangasana Yoga (Shoulderstand Pose) [Online]. Available from: https://www.tummee.com/yoga-poses/shoulderstand-pose [Accessed 11 July 2023]. ↩
- Bhardwaj, N. (2020). Sarvangasana is THE ultimate yoga asana to shed fat and tone your body [Online]. Healthshots. Available from: https://www.healthshots.com/fitness/weight-loss/yoga-for-weight-loss-sarvangasana-is-the-ultimate-asana-to-shed-fat/ [Accessed 11 July 2023]. ↩
- The Middle Way Yoga (2016). Extended Side Angle or Utthita Parsvakonasana [Online]. Available from: https://themiddlewayyoga.wordpress.com/2016/11/22/extended-side-angle-or-utthita-parsvakonasana/ [Accessed 11 July 2023]. ↩
- Kim, S., Bemben, M.G. and Bemben, D.A. (2012). Effects of an 8-month yoga intervention on arterial compliance and muscle strength in premenopausal women [Online]. Journal of Sports Science and Medicine. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3737865/ [Accessed 11 July 2023]. ↩
- Andrews, J. (2023). Poor Digestion & Weight Gain [Online]. Livestrong. Available from: https://www.livestrong.com/article/13727234-10-minute-full-body-workout-stress-relief/ [Accessed 11 July 2023]. ↩
- Rain Carei, T. et al (2009). Randomized Controlled Clinical Trial of Yoga in the Treatment of Eating Disorders [Online]. Journal of Adolescent Health. Available from: https://www.jahonline.org/article/S1054-139X(09)00334-6/fulltext [Accessed 11 July 2023]. ↩
- Cramer, H., Thoms, M.S., Anheyer, D., Lauche, R. and Dobos, G. (2016). Yoga in Women With Abdominal Obesity [Online]. Deutsches Aerzteblatt Online. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5098025/ [Accessed 11 July 2023]. ↩