Get ready for your life to change when you incorporate these simple ten yoga poses for weight loss into your daily routine. Yoga is a science of getting the systems of the body to communicate with each other to bring you to your optimum weight.
Don’t think you will suddenly look like Gisele, yoga also teaches us that we all have one of three body types and some of us are more muscular and always will be. Know your type and rock it with confidence. Let’s get started with our transformation!
Wait, before you start, engage your deep long breathing through your nose. This is called the Ujjayi breath and helps your systems communicate as mentioned above. It’s just as important to have this steady deep breath as it is to do the pose. If you hold your breath it won’t work as well.
1. Extended side angle
Here is a pose that targets the fat on your love handles and lengthens the muscles in your thighs. The father of yoga, B.K.S Iyengar recommends this one for weight loss and that is why it’s on top of the list.
Stand sideways with your feet wide apart and turn the toes on your right foot forward. Bend your right knee and keep your left leg straight. Lower your hips as far as you can and place your right elbow on your right knee. Raise your left arm straight up and look up at your left hand.
You want to keep your arms in one line and press your left foot flat on the mat. Make sure your back foot is turned in slightly and your hips are open to the side. It’s really important that you don’t let your right knee pass your right ankle. Elongate your stance until your knee stacks directly over your ankle.
If you are really flexible you may be able to place your right hand on the ground outside your right foot. Then you will want to connect your knee and right armpit. Hold the pose for three rounds of deep breath and then do the exact same thing on the left side.
2. Plow pose
In yoga, Iyengar calls this pose the mother of all poses because of its effect on our metabolism. It will bring your thyroid into balance whether it is over or under active. It gets the digestive juices working right away and it should be held for a few minutes if possible.
Keep in mind that this is an advanced pose and needs to be done with caution. Most importantly, protect your neck and do not turn your head from side to side when you’re in this pose.
How do you do it? Lay on your back with your legs straight up like you’re going to stand on the ceiling. Press your palms down on the floor next to your hips and lift your hips up. Hold your hips in your hands and keep lifting them up. This is phase one. You may not be able to do plow pose on the first try.
The goal is to stack your hips over your shoulders so your spine is straight. Keep your core tight and legs tight. This is phase two and it can take a while to master. At this point your legs are still pointing up. The goal in phase two is to connect your chest to your chin and have your back straight. The weight of your body is on your shoulder girdle.
If you’re ready for phase three you won’t be wobbly in phase two and your spine will be straight. To go to the full extension of the pose, while keeping your spine straight, bring your toes over your head to the ground. Keep your legs straight as well. Remember, it’s important you don’t look to the side in this pose.
You may feel a fire in your belly as your meridians get a much needed release and your digestion is fired up. Hold this pose for a few minutes to achieve the maximum benefit every day and if you have time, twice per day.
3. Crescent lunge twist
Twisting is a tool we use in yoga to stimulate the digestion. It’s essentially like wringing out the insides like a sponge. The buildup on the intestinal walls will be broken up and pushed along. I know it’s gross, but even so, it’s important for weight loss. If your digestion isn’t regular, it will be hard to lose weight.
Here is how to do the pose. Start standing with your feet together. Take a big step forward with your right foot (about four feet). Make sure your back leg is straight and your back heel is lifted. Press your palms together in front of your heart and lean forward.
Place your left elbow outside your right knee and twist. Voila! Keep breathing slowly and deeply through your nose for three rounds of breath, and if you’re having trouble balancing, drop your back left knee on the ground. Repeat the same thing on the left side.
4. Boat pose
This will tone your abs and your back. Sit on the floor with your legs bent. Hold the back of your knees and lift your chest until your spine is straight. Lean back and keep your spine straight. You will feel your abs engage as your lean back. Keep breathing to give yourself extra strength in the pose. You can do it, push yourself!
Let go of your legs and try to straighten them. Hold each boat pose for five rounds of breath and repeat the pose five times. Over time you will get better at holding your legs up. Try to isolate your lower abs instead of flexing the hip flexors (the muscles on the front of your hips).
We don’t need to reinvent the wheel to lose weight. This pose helps to burn fat on your arms and gives you great muscle definition as well as tones up your core. Holding the weight of your body is simple and you can do it anywhere. Yoga has been around for 4,000 years and it works.
The secret to getting the plank pose to work is keeping everything engaged while you breathe. That means your hands, arms, legs, core, everything is engaged.
Start on your stomach and place your hands under your shoulders. Spread your fingers as wide as you can. At first, this pose may be hard on your wrists, but those muscles will build up overtime. You want to be straight as a plank, not a mountain or a hammock. Make sure your shoulders are in one line with your hips and heels.
Engage everything and if your shoulder blades are poking out, puff up the space between your shoulder blades. Hold plank for five rounds of breath and repeat the pose five times. There are many variations of plank pose that are more challenging, such as lifting opposite arm and leg and balancing on one hand and foot.
You can also drop your elbows and do plank pose on your forearms. You will feel the burn with that one. Side plank is a variation that tones your obliques (the side abs).
6. Dancer’s pose
This pose is great because it stretches your thighs, opens your shoulders and back, and when you do it right, it engages your full body. The body’s first response when you stand on one leg is to hold your breath. Resist the urge to hold your breath.
Start standing with your feet together. Bend your right knee and turn your right palm up. Grab the inside of your foot (grabbing the inside allows your shoulder to roll back). Bring your knees back together and reach your left hand forward like a tightrope walker for balance.
Kick your right foot into your hand and begin to arch your back. Keep your right hip spinning down and level with the left hip. Don’t let your right hip pop up to the side. Keep your heart lifted and continue to kick into your back hand.
At first you may have trouble balancing. This is normal. You can use a wall for balance at first if you need to but don’t become reliant on it. Repeat the same thing on the other side and hold each side for five rounds of breathing.
Don’t run away. Handstands don’t have to be scary if you learn them in phases. Start in downward facing dog. Hips up and hands and feet down, making a triangle with your body. Place your hands 6 inches away from the wall and lift one leg keeping it straight. You want your fingers to be spread as wide as possible and make sure your hands are in line with your shoulders, not wider.
Work on keeping your arms locked out. You will need to build up strength in your arms before kicking up into a handstand. You can just work on lifting one leg and then the other. This will get you used to having weight on your hands. At first, your wrists may get achy. That will go away overtime. Handstands are fun, even in the learning phases.
When you feel comfortable, give little hops with your foot that is still on the ground to stack your hips over your shoulders. Keep practicing every day and you’ll lose weight in the process. It doesn’t matter how long it takes for you to do it, all that matters is that you keep practicing.
Getting upside down helps your brain function better, builds confidence and keeps your immune system strong. Your nervous system will get used to being upside down overtime and will stop freaking out. This is how we develop muscle memory.
8. Eagle pose
Warning, this pose is a hard one! Start standing and then sit back into an invisible chair. Lift your right leg up and over your left leg and either create a kickstand with your right toes on the ground or see if you can begin to wrap your right toes behind your left calf muscle. Swing your right arm under your left and press your elbows together.
Bring your hands up and press your palms together. Bring your shoulders back so they are stacked over your hips. Compress your legs but keep your back straight. Lift your elbows to the height of your shoulders and push your hands away from your face. Hold for three rounds of breath and then do the same thing on the other side.
Why do we do this? This pose improves our circulation by creating tourniquets that allow the blood to flow better when we release the pose. It’s also extremely good for your immune system. Don’t give up on this one, it’s the one that will help to get those systems in your body talking and working out their problems.
9. Triangle pose
This one will get your whole body in shape. Stand sideways with your legs wide apart and turn your right toes forward. Turn your left toes in a little bit. Your legs will stay straight for this one. Reach your arms out over your ankles and push your left hip back. Reach your right arm forward as far as you can.
Do not drop your torso but take your arms to six and twelve o’clock, your right hand presses into the inside of your leg and you gaze up at your left hand. Don’t let the right side of the body collapse, keep it long. Get your arms in one line and keep your legs and toes engaged. After three long rounds of breath repeat, do the same thing on the other side.
This pose is often done incorrectly. You want to scoop your tailbone underneath you and don’t worry about grabbing your toe. Keep your hips in one line, that means don’t let your top hip roll forward past your bottom hip. This will open your hips as it is supposed to.
This pose helps reduce anxiety and helps your digestion. Stand with your feet wide apart and turn your toes in a little bit. Fold forward keeping your legs straight. You will feel a stretch into the backs of your legs. Stack your hips right over your ankles and relax your neck so your head hangs heavy. Eventually, your head will pop through your legs on the other side like a jack in the box.
Now that you’ve spent the time to read about these poses, do them. They are going to work best if you drink alkaline water and eat lots of fresh organic fruits and veggies. Reduce alcohol and processed sugar as well as grains and you will lose weight.
Thanks for taking a step towards becoming your best self here on YouQueen, and I’d love to hear how these poses are working for you in the comments below.