While most people wouldn’t associate yoga with weight and fat loss, even the most gentle yoga exercises can help you shed those unwanted pounds.
Yoga still requires movement, and even though it might not require the same rigor and endurance as sports, yoga works better, in some cases, since it involves quieting the mind and working on your breathing. In fact, multiple studies find links between yoga and weight loss, which actually baffles most scientists since many yoga practices don’t even involve breaking a sweat.
However, the studies suggest that by changing and moving the body through yoga, changes the brain, which then changes behavior. The driving force behind the weight loss that people see from doing yoga, then, has more to do with one’s mental state than their physical one. Most of us live with an incredible amount of stress, and doing yoga can help you to manage this stress better so that you don’t give in to bad habits, such as emotional eating, bingeing, drinking too much alcohol on the weekends, etc.
10 Yoga Poses That Melt Belly Fat
1. Tadasana (Mountain Pose)
This pose works well for a warm-up to get your body loose for the rest of your practice. To do this pose, stand up straight with your feet flat, heels spread out a bit, and the your big toes touching. Keep your palms facing your body. Now, bring your hands to the front and put your palms close to each other. Inhale now, stretch out your spine, and then raise your hands above your head. Stretch your body out as much as possible.
If you’d like more of a challenge, try to lift your ankles a bit and stand on your toes, with your eyes facing upwards. If you don’t want to do this step, keep your feet flat. Breathe deeply and try to hold the pose for twenty to sixty seconds. On your last exhale, bring your feet slowly back to the floor. Repeat this pose ten times, with a 10 second rest in between each pose.
2. Surya Namaskar (Sun Salutation)
Sun salutations are wonderful to start your day with. They consist of twelve different yoga positions, helping detox the body while aiding in deep breathing simultaneously. Going through the twelve positions, start by standing with both feet together. Take a deep breath and feel your chest fuller while relaxing the shoulders. Upon inhaling, lift both your arms away from your sides, and on an exhale, bring both arms to the front of your chest. Put your arms into a prayer position.
Then, take a deep breath, raise your arms above your head, and stretch backward. After this, exhale, bend forward, and attempt to touch your knees to your forehead. Then, with your left knee bent, stretch your right leg out behind you with your palms touching the floor. Hold this breath and stretch out your left leg, getting into plank. Now, bring your body to the floor. However, only your knees, chest, and chin should be touching the floor.
Now, inhale again, stretch the body forward, and bend backward. Keep your hands on the floor, exhale, and then lean forward. Bring your right leg forward in between your hands upon an inhale, and stretch up. Bring your left leg forward, breathe in deeply, and stretch back from your waist.
3. Padahastasana (Standing Forward Bend)
To perform this pose, place your hands on each side of the body while your feet touch, including the heels. Stand up straight, inhale, and lift your hands above your head. Upon exhaling, bend forward, so your body parallels the floor. Inhale, then exhale, and bend forward until your head is touching your knees (if possible). Try to touch the floor if you can, with your palms all the way on the floor and without bending your knees. If you’re a beginner, try to touch your toes or ankles.
Hold your breath, suck in the belly, and hold for sixty to ninety seconds. Exhale and lift your body to the starting position. Repeat 10 times, taking ten-second rests between every two reps.
4. Paschimottanasana (Seated Forward Bend)
This pose is perfect for stimulating your core and burning belly fat. To start, sit up straight on the floor with your legs stretched out. Keep your feet pointed toward the ceiling. Inhale deeply, raise your hands above your head while your eyes follow your hands upwards, and keep your spine stretched. Now, exhale and bend forward all the way to your legs. Beginners can keep their hands on their ankles or thighs, but more advanced yogis should aim for the toes.
If you do touch your toes, pull them back to feel the stretch in your hamstrings. Breathe in, suck in the tummy and try to hold for sixty to ninety seconds. Exhale and bring your body back up. Repeat this pose ten times.
5. Pavanamuktasana (Wind Relieving Pose)
As you might’ve guessed by the name, this pose involves lying on your back with your knees touching your chest. This helps to alleviate gastric issues and aids in burning tummy fat. Lie down with your arms and feet outstretched and the heels touching each other. Now, bend the knees, inhale, and upon exhale, bring the knees to your chest. Hold them in place by putting your hands under the thighs. Then, exhale again, lift your head, bringing the chin to the knees.
Hold for 60 to 90 seconds. Then, exhale slowly, release the knees, and rest your head on the floor. Relax into Shavasana, and then repeat the asana 7 to 10 times.
6. Naukasana (Boat Pose)
This is one of the best yoga moves for burning belly fat, as it directly targets this region. To do this, lay down on the yoga mat with your arms and legs outstretched and your toes facing up. Inhale, exhale, and lift your head, chest, and legs off the ground. Stretch out your arms to parallel your legs, and then look toward your toes.
Feel your ab muscles contract, and hold for thirty to sixty seconds. Inhale, exhale, and then come back to starting position. Repeat five times, to begin with, with a 15-second rest after each pose.
7. Ushtrasana (Camel Pose)
This pose works well after the Boat Pose, as it will help stretch out the ab muscles from their previous contractions. Start in Vajrasana. Then, lift your body upwards from your knees so that the knees support your whole body. Exhale deeply, arch the back; reach your hands backward and try to hold each ankle. Tilt your head back until you feel the stretch in your abs.
Hold for twenty to thirty seconds, working up to sixty seconds. Exhale, release, and come back to the starting position. Repeat this exercise five times, resting for fifteen seconds between each.
8. Uttanpadasana (Raised Foot Pose)
For this pose, start in the supine position. Then inhale and exhale, and bring your head back so it touches the floor. Keep your hands at their original position on either side of your body. Stretch as far as you can, without hurting yourself. Now, inhale and raise your legs, making a 45-degree angle. Hold for fifteen or thirty seconds, paying attention to the breath. Inhale deeply and bring your legs back to their starting position.
Repeat 10 times, with a 15-second break between each rep.
9. Marjariasana (Cow Cat Pose or Cat Pose)
Start in Vajrasana. Breathe normally and raise your body to rest on your knees and palms. The knees should be directly under the hips, and the palms under the shoulders. Keep your head up straight, and place the knees slightly apart so that your weight is evenly distributed. Inhale deeply, then push your back down. Expand your abs as much as possible by taking a big breath.
Hold this pose for about twenty seconds. Exhale, lower the head, and now arch your back upwards this time. Breathe deeply and hold for fifteen to thirty seconds. Exhale, return to the starting pose, and relax the muscles for fifteen seconds. Repeat this move ten times.
10. Bhujangasana (Cobra Pose)
This pose strengthens back muscles and stretches out the abs. Lie down on the mat with your chest down, legs spaced out a bit, and your toes touching the floor. Keep your hands on either side of your body with your palms touching the floor. Bring the palms underneath the shoulders, inhale deeply, and then slowly lift the chest and head off the floor. Your eyes should be on the ceiling, and your buttocks should be tightened. Take a deep breath and try to lift the body up as much as you can, bending backward from the waist as much as possible.
Hold for thirty to sixty seconds. Exhale and bring your body back to the starting position. Stretch your arms out to the front. Repeat this pose ten times, with a 15-second rest between each rep.