10 Best Yoga Poses for Fat Loss
Yoga is a great option for fat loss. I don’t claim to be an expert yogi, but I am great at doing research (not to toot my own horn!).
I’ve been doing yoga on and off for years and it’s something I’ve recently tried to add as a regular into my fitness routine. I’ve found tons of research boasting the amazing benefits of yoga. Everything from building strength, toning muscle, increasing flexibility, improving balance, and fat loss. This caught my eye, because I kept seeing fat loss – not weight loss.
If you follow me, you’ve probably seen one of my rants about how weight loss does not equal fat loss. I could literally help you lose 10 pounds in week – but you’ll quickly gain it back because sustainable fat loss takes time – general weight loss could be anything from water, fat, or *ahem* cleansing results..
I won’t bore you too much with the science behind it, but the gist of it is that yoga helps regulate cortisol levels (your stress hormone) and insulin sensitivity. The best summary I found was:
“More stress = more cortisol = higher appetite for junk food = more belly fat,” says Shawn M. Talbott, PhD.
Okay, now that we’re all clear on that, I found the 10 best yoga poses for fat loss. The first 9 poses are great for beginners and intermediate level. Challenge yourself with the last, more advanced pose!
1. Warrior III
Start with both feet on the ground and arms together raised towards the sky. Slowly lift one leg off the ground and begin to lean forward until your arms and leg are perpendicular.
This one can take some time before you really get the balance down, so in the beginning try to focus your attention on keeping your core tight and your body aligned.
This pose is great for your legs, core, shoulders, and back.
2. Plank Pose
Get into plank pose the same way you would begin a push up.
The most important part of plank is to make sure everything is aligned. Your hands should be shoulder width apart and your back, legs, and neck should create a straight line. Pay special attention to not let your butt rise or fall out of alignment.
This pose will primarily work your core and shoulders.
3. Bow Pose
Start by laying flat on the mat with your palms up. Bend your knees and try to grab your ankles. Be sure to keep your knees hip width apart.
You may not think you’re flexible enough for this one at first. Focus on your breathing. Deep inhales and exhales. Try to stretch a bit deeper with each breath.
It’s important to keep your back relaxed in this pose. Don’t rush yourself.
4. “Superman” Pose
Begin this pose similar to the last, laying down, forehead on the mat. This time, palms facing down, legs together. Squeeze your absand your glute muscles as you lift your arms and legs off the ground.
There are 2 variations to this pose. You can eithr keep your arms stright out in front of you or reach behind your back and gran your own hands as in the picture for a deeper back and shoulder stretch.
Try to hold the pose for at least 5 deep breaths.
5. Upward Facing Dog
Lie down on your mat with the tops of your feet against the floor and your hands under your shoulders.
Following your breathing, slowly begin to raise your chest off the ground.
Focus on stretching your back, and keeping your face up.
This is a great flexibility exercise for your back, hips, and wrist.
6. Warrior 1
Step into a deep lunge. Your bent knee should be at a 90 degree angle with your hips pushing forward. Turn this foot in slightly to about a 45 degree angle.
Turn your opposite foot outward to a 90 degree angle as well.
Reach your arms up, lengthening your torso. Gently tilt your head back.
There are different hand position variation for this one. You can interlock your fingers, press your palms together, or keep your hands shoulder width apart.
7. Reserve Plank
Start laying on your back on your mat. Have your arms slightly bent with your hands to your side near your waist.
Raise yourself up, paying close attention to keeping your back and legs in alignment.
Try to hold it for at least 30 seconds. Challenge yourself by increasing the time slightly each time you try it.
8. Camel Pose
I think you’ll surprise yourself with this one, give it a try!
Start by kneeling on your mat, knees shoulder width apart and feet flat against the floor.
Reach back and grab your heels.
While following your breath, focus on stretching your back and pushing your hips forward.
9. Split Downward Dog
Start on your hands and knees with them being shoulder and hip width apart.
Press your weight into your palms and balls of your feet as you lift your knees and hips into the air. Try to straighten your legs, being careful not to lock your knees.
If this is challenging for you, stay here. If not, try to lift one leg off the ground straight into the air while keeping the rest of your body aligned.
For even more of a challenge, do a few reps from here bringing your knee back down to touch your elbow, then raise it back up and repeat!
10. Crow Pose
This is my bonus, ‘challenge’ pose. It probably won’t be perfect your first time, but keep trying – think of it as a stretch goal!
Start standing with your toes pointing out at a 45 degree angle. Squat all the way down as far as absolutely possible with your arms on the inside of your legs (this is called Garland pose).
Place your palms on the mat in front of you and try to rest your knees on your elbows. Slowly lean forward until your weight is being held here!
Let me know if you try these! Were you able to get the crow pose? If not don’t feel bad, I can’t do it yet either, lol!
Side note, because I tend to get a little extra when I get into something, I made an Amazon wish list of some Yoga accessories I have my eye on. One of the items I put on there was a yoga mat that is basically a cheat sheet with all of the moves on it! I love the idea of that, I thought it would help when trying to do some moves at home! But – I’m torn because there’s another mat I found that’s super cute! Let me know which one you think I should get! 🙂