Yoga Postures for Weight Loss

Benna Crawford
Woman doing yoga

The Skinny About Yoga

Get flexible, firmer and fitter with a yoga practice that delivers inner calm and visible toning. Yoga poses work from the inside out to build confidence, burn fat, and speed you on your weight-loss journey. Include these asanas in your routine for a better, more beautiful body.

Sun salutation

Sun Salutations

Greet your day and sculpt your size with morning sun salutations. Yoga is credited with lengthening and strengthening muscles, lowering stress, enhancing weight loss, and promoting healthy weight maintenance. Pick your poses to boost the slim-down potential of time spent on your mat. Surya Namaskar typically provides a sequence of eight or nine asanas that can even deliver a light aerobic, calorie-burning workout if you increase the speed and the number of repetitions.

Plank position

Plank

Plank builds endurance and challenges your core, increasing physical and mental strength. Combat the inevitable spread that comes with aging by tightening and toning muscles to shift weight from fat to fit, lean muscle. Increase the time you spend in Plank pose daily, aiming for a truly impressive three to five minutes. You may never last that long, but your flatter abs will thank you for every extra ten seconds you manage.

Chair pose

Chair

A practice that improves mindfulness results in a better read of your body's signals. You recognize when you feel full, so you eat less. Try holding and breathing in chair pose to calmly observe any discomfort and tap into your body awareness. It's harder than it looks!

Shoulder Stand

Shoulder Stand

When your metabolism is up to speed, you burn calories faster and more efficiently. Shoulder stand is just one pose that helps to balance and boost metabolism, in this case by stimulating the thyroid and parathyroid glands. The inversion also improves digestion and can be modified with a folded blanket under the shoulders to protect your neck.

Bridge pose

Bridge

Bridge pose is a backbend supported by the shoulders or upper back and soles of the feet on the mat. It stretches the front of your body, too, so bridge stimulates your digestive organs, as well as your thyroid. The net result is better metabolism and digestion, along with a stronger, more supple back.

Marichi I Seated Twist

Marichi I Seated Twist

Marichyasana, the pose dedicated to the sage Marichi is a seated twist that gives a good stretch to your shoulders, spine, and waist. It squeezes and massages your abdominal organs to improve digestion. But marichyasana, sometimes called marichi I seated twist, also loosens joints and muscles tightened by a sedentary lifestyle. That increases your range of motion so you move more -- and more freely. The more you move, the more calories you burn.

Plow pose

Plow

Plow pose is an inversion, so it increases circulation in your thyroid, adrenal, and pituitary glands. This helps send feel-good endorphins and hormones throughout your body, balancing your metabolic system. Plow also works your core, nicely tightening your abs for an encouraging, slimmer midsection.

Boat pose

Boat Pose

Boat pose gives your abs, spine, and hip flexors a workout as it wakes up your intestines, thyroid, and kidneys. The result? Lowered stress and improved digestion. It doesn't hurt to think about that tightened tummy as you focus on holding the pose. Modify boat at first by bending your legs so your shins are parallel to the floor. As you get stronger, practice with fully extended legs.

Seated Forward Bend

Seated Forward Bend

Tush on the mat and stretch to your toes in seated forward bend. The long reach massages internal organs, lengthens the hamstrings and spine, and improves digestion. Traditional yoga scriptures teach that the pose stimulates a healthy appetite, even as it prevents obesity.

Warrior 1 position

Warrior I

Warrior I, the first of the three warrior poses, instills confidence and stimulates digestion and elimination. The strong standing pose aligns your digestive organs and strengthens leg muscles for better fat burning. It just might give that power boost to your diet on a day when the needle on the scale doesn't move, and your resolve is a bit shaky.

Warrior 2 pose

Warrior II

Warrior II strengthens your core and increases endurance. You can move longer and stronger when you make warrior II a regular weapon in your arsenal in the war against excess weight. The more calories you burn, the sooner that muffin top sculpts into a curve. BKS Iyengar liked warrior II for toning the abdominals, leading to a sleeker stomach and more efficient digestion.

Pranayama breathing

Pranayama

Pranayama, or yoga breathing, does more than just focus the mind and calm the emotions. The Patanajli Research Foundation in Hardwar, India, studied the effects of yoga breathing on hormones and found pranayama boosts leptin levels. Leptin is a hormone generated in fat tissue which tells your brain you're not hungry. Magic. Follow your daily asana practice with a session of yoga breathing to decrease appetite.

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Yoga Postures for Weight Loss