Not many think of yoga as a serious way to shed some excess weight. Rather, it’s believed to be something gentle and mindful. That may help tone the body to a certain extent – but has nothing to do with weight loss. Yet, there are a surprisingly large number of yoga devotees that swear by the fact that yoga has turned out to be incredibly effective for them at knocking off those annoying pounds and getting in a great shape. However, even researching is increasingly suggesting that yoga and weight loss may be deeply linked. This is especially given that many of the positive health changes it’s often associated with can very well lead to burning excess fats and increasing the metabolism rate.
A particular study also found that a group of people aged 53-57 who practiced yoga every week lost weight over a period of time, while those who didn’t gained quite a bit. And given that losing weight when you’re over 50 is quite a task to pull off, the results were indeed very impressive to say the least.
This also suggests that yoga can definitely turn out to be a great way to ditch some pounds, and achieve a whole lot of positive health benefits while doing so.
So let us dig deeper into the concept of yoga and weight loss, and then discuss some of the best yoga poses and workouts to perform to achieve your weight loss goals.
Understanding the Concept of Yoga for Weight Loss
First things first, you need to understand that yoga workouts are not one of your typical weight loss techniques or workout. They work in a very different way, and actually bring about a whole lot of positive changes in your body – the weight loss just being one of them.
In fact, some experts seem to believe that weight loss is actually just a (positive) side effect of the many health changes yoga brings about in your body. And this is exactly why yoga can be a great way to lose weight effectively and safely.
It may not be quick like some of those drastic weight loss techniques, that can be more dangerous than beneficial. However, the way it improves your health and strengthens your body in more ways than you can imagine perhaps makes it totally worth the patience and relatively slow weight loss progress.
That being said, it’s also not that you cannot lose weight quickly with yoga. There’s something known as “power yoga”, and if you’re looking to knock off some pounds real quick, it may likely turn out to be your best bet.
Now that we have explained you the concept of yoga and weight loss, let us go into the details and talk about specific yoga workouts that are not only going to help you lose weight, but also tone and shape your body and improve your overall health significantly.
Getting Started with the Basic Poses
When you follow the “yoga weight loss process” in a planned way, you manage to get the most out of it. Some of the first few poses that we will be discussing work great when you’re just getting started with this process. Besides helping burn calories, they help you get into a healthy posture and energizes your body.
All the poses and yoga workouts that we will be discussing in this article also offer many other benefits, including an improve blood circulation, organ detoxification, improved strength and stamina, among many others.
So with that said, let us take a look at a series of yoga poses that include the mountain pose and the swam dive pose.
While doing the mountain pose, you need to stand upright, with your feet almost together or just at a bit of gap between them, and your palms must be in a prayer position. You also need to make sure your arms are just at your sides, and there’s not much gap in between.
Then, you need to inhale deeply, and take your arms all the way to above and behind your head. After that, you need to bend forward in a downward position, touching your feet and getting as close to it as possible. You need to exhale deeply after getting into this position. This is known as the swam dive pose.
You can bend your knees a bit if you feel some stress on your hamstrings or are having problems with your back.
Ashtanga is a more advanced form of yoga. If you have big weight loss goals, it would probably be crucial to include it in your yoga workout plan.
Ashtanga is often known as ‘power yoga’, simply because it requires more “power”, and is also more effective. It’s significantly more fast-paced than the basic yoga poses, and involves getting into one pose from another quickly. This process – from getting into one pose to another while following a series of poses – is known as Vinyasa.
The reason Ashtanga is known to the world as an important form of yoga is because of an Indian yogi, K Pattabhi Jois. He developed this yoga exercise, before passing away in 2009, when he was aged 93.
While Ashtanga can be one of the most effective exercise for a variety of health issues and comes with many health benefits, it’s not recommended for everyone. This is because, as you could already tell, it requires more energy and stamina than other yoga workouts.
You may find it very challenging and exhausting if you can’t move swiftly, as it’s is all about those quick movements. Flexibility and being in a good shape is a key to be able to perform this exercise safely and effectively.
It’s designed to produce internal heat in your body, so you will also sweat a lot. And this means that you would likely be burning chunks of calories, too.
Sun Salutations or Surya Namaskars, as they are originally known, are an important part of Ashtanga. They refer to a series of postures that are aimed at strengthening your spine. A key aspect of the process would be to breath the right way. You would have to synchronise your breath-ins and breath-outs while getting into each pose.
Some of the famous names who are said to be practicing the Ashtanga regularly include Madonna, Ralph Fiennes and Gwyneth Paltrow. Madonna is believed to perform Ashtanga for 2 hours every day.
Here’s a step-by-step guide to perform the Ashtanga exercise:
- Inhale, and bend forward to get in a half standing position, with your fingertips touching the ground. Make sure you’re looking ahead and not at the ground.
- Exhale, and put your feet behind you, bend forward with your chest touching the ground. Your arms should be just underneath your shoulders, supporting your body.
- Make sure your back is in a flat position, your head is slightly raised, your feet is flat is flattened to the ground, and your elbows are close to your ribs. Your elbows don’t need to be too close to your ribs, though, as that would make it difficult to stay in the pose.
- Inhale, and use your arms to pull your upper body, head and shoulders upwards while your lower body still being in contact with the ground. But be careful, don’t try to raise your upper body beyond the point where it starts straining.
This final pose is known as the Cobra pose. You can stay in this pose for a bit, especially if you’re doing it for the first time. Then, you need to move your shoulders back and down; and then move the upper part of your body a little upward and downward in a way that your tummy is touching the ground every time you move it towards the ground.
Yoga As An All-Round Solution
We know you’re looking to use yoga for weight loss and to get in shape, but there’s actually much more to it that you should be aware of. While the yoga workouts we are discussing in this article are likely to work great for weight loss, some of them will offer much more than that – helping you achieve an all-round better health.
Some of the yoga workouts we will be discussing below are well known for these all-round effects. Perhaps the people who live a sedentary life would benefit the most from them. This is because the typical results of a sedentary lifestyle are usually back pain, joint pain and other similar health issues. And most yoga workouts are an excellent way to deal with them.
In fact, if the experts are to be believed, yoga is actually quite underrated. This is because not many are aware that it can help treat a wide range of health issues, as well as lead to an all-round development of your body. Some have even express great faith in yoga’s ability as an effective treatment for conditions such as arthritis, and pretty much anything that has to do with your joints.
And even scientific research does back such claims, as it has already proven that anything that improves your flexibility, strength and stamina, is going to work wonders for conditions like arthritis. And yoga certainly ticks all the boxes here.
What’s more, however, is the fact that it’s one of the rare few, if not the only form of exercise that ensures both physical and mental well-being. Some of the yoga workouts discussed in this article, while helping you lose a considerable amount of weight over time, also come with a ton of physical and mental health benefits.
Some of the physical benefits – apart from the ones we have already talked about – include healthier joints, muscle strengthening, a stronger back (and hence no back pain) and bones, as well as even eliminating the need of a hip replacement.
However, what you probably don’t know is that yoga was originally practiced for the many mental health benefits it used to offer. If you put in some thought into coming up with an all-round yoga workout that not only deals with your body weight but also improves your mental health, then a significantly reduced everyday stress, a clear, more focused mind, and a better approach towards everyday challenges is something that you’re almost assured to get from your yoga sessions.
The reason we are also talking about all these things, instead of just telling you how to go about using yoga for weight loss, is that your physical and mental health are linked more strongly to your body’s weight than you can imagine.
A poor mental strength would make it incredibly challenging for you to overcome your cravings for sugar and other foods that are crucial to avoid to reduce your calorie intake. Similarly, with an improved mental health, you will be in a much better position to control your hunger and appetite and stick to only the right foods. See, how pretty much every health benefit yoga has to offer can help you inch closer to your weight loss goals.
A Series of Yoga Poses for All-Round Health Benefits
This is the last yoga workout that we will be talking about. And as discussed above, it may help you achieve some great all-round positive changes that will bring much more to you than weight loss, in terms of health.
You start with exhaling while getting into a downward facing dog-like pose: which is putting your hands forward, while keeping more width between them than your shoulders. Spread your fingers wide for balance.
Then, push your feet in a bit so that they help you have better balance while getting in the pose, and raise your hips upward so that you get in a triangle position, with your hips being the apex. Make sure you’re feeling relaxed, and that you’re not feeling any strain in your shoulders or neck while doing this.
If you find that you’re hamstrings are not comfortable, you can bent your knees a bit and you would probably be fine. Then take five deep breaths while being in this pose.
Now, you need to get right into another pose. Known as the forward bend, from the downward facing dog pose that you’re in. Do this by moving one foot forward, and then another. Then make sure they are both between your hands, and look through the gap between your legs.
Exhale deeply while still in the pose. Then inhale, get up into a standing position with your arms above and a little behind your head. Your arms must also be in a prayer position, meaning that your palms are touching each other.
Finally, get into a simple standing pose, with your hands along your sides. Pretty much the way you would normally stand.
As far as weight loss is concerned, this series of yoga poses would help burn a lot of calories. As it produces a considerable amount of internal heat. Also, many of the other positive health changes that we discussed above would help increase your metabolism. Which would actually improve your body’s ability to burn fats by itself. Read our information below: