11 Powerful Yoga Poses for Weight Loss

There’s a lot more to yoga than meets the eye.

It’s not just gentle stretching or crazy awesome handstands. And it certainly doesn’t require flexibility from the get-go.

These are all things that come with consistent practice, as with anything else in life.

So what is yoga, then?

To many, it’s a way of life. From your very first practice, you’ll finally understand what all the hype is.

And honestly, yoga is such an easy practice to fall in love with, which is what makes it such a phenomenal weight loss tool.

 

Can You Lose Weight with Yoga?

Short answer: yes, yes, a thousand times YES! (sorry for the drama)

Now before we get into the specifics about yoga for weight loss, lets first answer the age old question:

“Why do I gain weight?”

Because many people honestly don’t understand the real reasoning behind gaining weight and losing weight.

While there are several factors that can influence weight gain, like poor sleep and underlying medical issues, it really comes down to calories in versus calories out.

By this, I mean how many calories you’re consuming versus how many calories you’re burning each day.

Every second of every day, your body is constantly burning calories for basic functions, even when you’re sitting around watching TV.

Your daily caloric needs are different from everyone else’s since they’re based on your age, sex, body size and composition, and activity levels.

So the reason you’re gaining weight is because you’re eating more than you need to.

When you consistently consume more than your body needs in a day, your body has to do something with all the excess calories you’re giving it.

As a result, those extra calories – whether they’re coming from carbohydrates, fat, or protein – end up being stored as fat. So the more you overeat, the more fat your body starts storing.

Regardless of what you may have heard, you don’t gain weight overnight. Sure, the scale may change from one day to the next, but that’s usually from water weight, bloating, or other momentary causes.

Consistently overeating is what leads to weight gain.

End of story.

So in order to start losing weight, you have 2 options:

  1. Eat in a slight caloric deficit
  2. Exercise more

Or you can do both for faster results.

But you have to make sure you’re not going overboard and depriving your body of the important nutrients and rest it needs.

An easy way to get an idea of how many calories and grams of each macronutrient you need to consume for healthy weight loss is by entering your information into MyFitnessPal.

So aside from watching what you eat, you should also exercise. You don’t have to exercise for weight loss, but it sure helps speed up the process AND it’s extremely important for your health.

And yoga is here to help!

Weight Loss Benefits of Yoga

The truth is, any form of exercise can help you lose weight.

But not all can benefit you in the same ways that yoga can. Plus, yoga is really f*cking awesome.

So the first, most obvious benefit of yoga for weight loss is the fact that you’re getting in a full body workout. Almost, if not every, muscle is being utilized at some point during your yoga flow and that’s helping you build muscle.

Now I’m sure we’ve all heard at some point in our lives that “muscle burns more than fat.” What this means is that muscle and fat have different energy requirements, and muscle burns more calories than fat, even when you’re resting.

So by building muscle from your full body workouts, courtesy of yoga, you’re going to eventually start burning more calories naturally since your body will have more muscle and less fat.

And believe it or not, your heart rate’s gonna be kickin’ and you’re gonna sweat a lot, meaning yoga will give you a run for your money and help you burn that fat.

But yoga goes beyond just moving your body and burning calories.

Perhaps one of the best benefits of yoga is its ability to naturally reduce anxiety and stress.

When you’re stressed out, not only are you holding onto bad energy, you’re also holding onto extra weight.

By practicing yoga, you’re reducing stress while also lowering the levels of the stress hormone, cortisol, that directly impacts weight gain.

Just by reducing stress and cortisol levels, your body will naturally start to lose weight. When you’re in Savasana (final resting pose), you’ll definitely see why this is true.

Yoga is just an all-around awesome way to keep your health in check, both physically and mentally.

And yoga’s so easy to stay consistent with because you literally cannot do a yoga flow and not feel amazing afterwards.

 

11 Powerful Yoga Asanas for Weight Loss

All types of yoga are beneficial and can help you burn calories, but the more challenging, fast-paced flows work your body even harder and therefore help you burn more calories.

And the challenge of getting into a difficult yoga pose is what makes it so fun.

The more you want to stick a pose, the harder you work and the more accomplished you feel afterwards.

So to get you started on your weight loss yoga journey, give this flow a try.

These are some of the best yoga poses to lose weight fast so you can feel great, both inside and out.

Perform each pose for 10-30 seconds until you can make it up to 1 minute each, making sure to switch sides halfway through when necessary.

 

1. Chair Pose (Utkatasana)

Sitting without a chair is more difficult than you may think.

Chair Pose engages your thighs, abdominal muscles, shoulders, and arms, basically giving you a full body workout in one exercise.

Benefits:

  • Stretches the chest and shoulders
  • Strengthens the hips, thighs, glutes, calves, and spine
  • Increases abdominal strength
  • Reduces flat feet

 

2. Downward Dog Crunch (Adho Mukha Svanasana)

Downward Dog is a foundational yoga pose incorporated in most, if not all, yoga flows.

A great way to kick this posture up a notch is by adding in crunches to increase abdominal strength.

Benefits:

  • Stretches the hands, shoulders, hamstrings, calves, and arches
  • Strengthens the abdominal muscles, shoulders, wrists, and legs
  • Improves digestion
  • Relieves fatigue, headaches, stress, anxiety, mild depression, and back pain

 

3. High Lunge (Utthita Ashwa Sanchalanasana)

The High Lunge is a powerful pose that does more than just strengthen and grow the glutes (ya booty).

This pose helps stretch and lengthen the psoas muscle, a primary hip flexor that connects the torso and legs, which plays an important role in proper posture and stabilizing the spine.

In today’s world, the psoas muscle tends to shorten due to excessive sitting, so by practicing High Lunge you can fix your psoas and improve flexibility.

Benefits:

  • Stretches the psoas and hips
  • Strengthens the quadriceps and glutes
  • Improves balance and concentration
  • Increases awareness to the abdominal muscles

 

4. Extended Triangle Pose (Utthita Trikonasana)

Mastering Triangle Pose is something that will take time if you have tight hips and hamstrings, which is most likely the case.

So the more you practice, the quicker you’ll be able to successfully create a triangle with your body.

Benefits:

  • Stretches the chest, shoulders, spine, hips, and calves
  • Stretches and strengthens the thighs, knees, and ankles
  • Relieves stress, back pain, and symptoms of menopause

 

5. Warrior I (Virabhadrasana I)

Warrior I is the first of the three Warrior poses and is almost identical to High Lunge except for the placement of your back foot, so pay attention to that.

With that being said, Warrior I is a foundational yoga pose great for stretching the hip flexors and improving balance, so you’ll be seeing a lot of it in your yoga practice!

Benefits:

  • Stretches the chest, lungs, shoulders, neck, and psoas
  • Stretches and strengthens the quadriceps, glutes, calves, and ankles
  • Strengthens the arms, shoulders, and back

 

6. Warrior II (Virabhadrasana II)

The Warrior poses are great yoga poses for weight loss.

Just like Warrior I, Warrior II actively engages your leg and arm muscles for a welcome burn (spoiler alert: so does Warrior III).

Benefits:

  • Stretches the chest, lungs, shoulders, neck, and psoas
  • Stretches and strengthens the quadriceps, glutes, calves, and ankles
  • Strengthens the arms, shoulders, and back

 

7. Warrior III (Virabhadrasana III)

Warrior III really challenges your balance by moving your body to form a ‘T’ shape with only one foot on the ground.

As a result, a multitude of muscles will be activated and strengthened, giving you a nice burn pretty much everywhere.

Benefits:

  • Strengthens the shoulders, back, quadriceps, glutes, calves, and ankles
  • Increases abdominal strength
  • Improves balance and posture

 

8. Revolved Chair Pose (Parivrtta Utkatasana)

Similar to the traditional Chair Pose, Revolved Chair Pose stretches and opens up the chest while strengthening the legs and spine.

The gentle side rotation increases spine flexibility while improving posture. It’s definitely therapeutic for the spine and lower back but at the same time, a killer for your legs.

Benefits:

  • Stretches the chest
  • Strengthens the mid- and low back, hips, thighs, glutes, and spine
  • Increases spine flexibility and abdominal strength
  • Improves balance and posture

 

9. Plank Pose (Kumbhakasana)

Plank Pose is not only great for strengthening your core but also your shoulders and wrists, too.

That’s what makes it such a beneficial beginner-friendly pose to prepare you for more challenging arm balances.

Benefits:

  • Strengthens the abdominal muscles, shoulders, and wrists
  • Improves balance and posture
  • Relieves back pain

 

10. Boat Pose (Paripurna Navasana)

You can never have too many yoga poses for tight hip flexors or core work, especially if you want a hard*core* workout. See what I did there?

Benefits:

  • Strengthens the abdominal muscles, hip flexors, and spine
  • Helps relieve stress
  • Improves digestion

 

11. Candle Pose (Salamba Sarvangasana)

Inversions are where it’s at in yoga.

Trust me when I say this beginner-friendly inversion is a lot easier than it looks. Even if you don’t think you can do it, I highly recommend shutting off that voice in your head and giving it a try!

We all have to start somewhere, and Candle Pose (aka Shoulder Stand) is the perfect pose for learning inversions.

Benefits:

  • Relieves anxiety and insomnia
  • Improves digestion

Note: This pose will also make you feel flippin’ awesome for beginning to learn inversions and will motivate you to keep practicing them until you’re a pro!

 

BONUS: Corpse Pose (Savasana)

You should always finish off your yoga sessions in Savasana, a pose meant for completely relaxing and letting go of any pent up tension and stress.

Think of it as resting with intention.

But that’s easier said than done.

Often times, this is actually one of the most difficult poses, simply because it’s hard to relax and calm your mind.

But I encourage you to try it anyway.

Benefits:

  • Calms the mind
  • Relieves stress and mild depression
  • Reduces headaches, fatigue, and insomnia

 

Yoga is an Amazing Weight Loss Tool

Taking up yoga will improve both your physical and mental health, which honestly, everyone can benefit from.

Yoga is such a calming, yet heart-racing practice that makes you want to keep pushing yourself to see what you’re fully capable of.

The more challenging the poses, the more intense a workout you’ll get.

Consistently practicing yoga will not only help you lose weight, but also feel calmer and more relaxed, while also feeling accomplished from your body’s abilities.

So the next time sometime rolls their eyes and asks you, “But can you really lose weight with yoga?” you’ll be able to tell them what’s up.

 

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