7 Yoga Moves For Weight Loss
By Myprotein Writer Sarah Curran
Yoga is a series of poses, postures and positions that improve flexibility, strength and also reduces stress levels.
Although it might not burn as many calories as conventional exercise such as cardio and resistance training, it is an excellent activity to compliment them for effective weight loss.
Studies have shown that yoga practitioners are more likely than non practitioners to report their health status as excellent, very good or good.
A study in 2011 found that training in yoga for an hour a day for three continuous months resulted in a decrease in body weight, body mass index and hip to waist ratio.
The same amount of yoga practice was shown in another study to reduce high blood pressure within five minutes of practice.
Yoga Poses and Asanas
Asanas are simple or complex positions that yoga is comprised of that may be performed in different orders and combinations.
It has been noted that there are more than 800,000 variations of these movements in ancient yogic literature but around 84 of these are used most frequently today.
Postures are performed with a strong focus on breathing. There are many different methods to follow and the positions promote stretching, balance and coordination.
Some basic yoga poses that are great for beginners include the following:
This is a great pose to improve overall posture and is one of the easiest poses to learn and practice.
a) Staring forward, stand with your feet together pressed firmly on the ground and relax your upper body so that your arms hang loosely by your sides.
b) Ensure that your knees are over your ankles then extend your back and lengthen your neck.
c) Begin to breathe in deeply and lift your arms above your head with your palms facing inwards.
d) Remain stretched in this position for 30 seconds to a minute while maintaining normal breathing – breathe out as you lower your arms back to your sides.
There are numerous variations of the warrior pose but this one is great for beginners as it is an easy position to master.
a) Begin in the mountain pose, then move your feet so that they are three feet apart or more depending on your flexibility.
b) Turn your right foot so that it is outwards at a ninety degree angle.
c) Relax your shoulders and lift your arms out to the side with your palms facing down.
d) In this position, bend the right leg so that it is at a ninety degree angle – make sure that your knee does not go over your toes – hold the gaze on the tips of your right fingers and hold this position for a minute before switching sides.
This is one of the most popular and well known poses in yoga.
It is slightly more difficult than the previous positions and so it is best to begin holding the position for a shorter duration and then build up your time as you get stronger.
a) Begin this position on your hands and knees with your fingers spread out so that they are resting flat on your mat, aiding you to maintain your balance.
b) Turn your toes in and breathe outwards as you raise your knees off the ground.
c) Maintain a slight bend in the knees and imagine you are trying to push your heels into the floor below you.
d) Hold this position for up to three minutes and return your knees to the floor as you inhale.
a) Begin on your hands and knees with your hands flat on the floor and shoulder width apart.
b) Spread the fingers for stability – Inhale and raise the right/left leg up so that it is parallel to the floor, stretching the toes towards the wall behind you.
c) Keep your focus between the palms of your hands and slowly breathe in as you stretch your opposite arm to your raise leg upwards until it is parallel to the floor.
d) Breathe and hold for up to six breaths – as you exhale, lower the knee downwards to the starting position, then repeat the movement on the opposite side.
This is a fantastic pose for stretching the back as it opens the spine and chest.
It is a very effective position in a sequence of yoga movements or as a standalone stretch.
a) Begin by lying face down with your legs extended out behind you and shoulder width apart – your feet will be facing downwards with just the toes and the top of the foot touching the floor.
b) Place the palms flat and position them so that they are shoulder width apart.
c) Gently press downwards causing your upper body to slowly lift off the ground with your upper chest lifting up first followed by the centre of your chest (your stomach should remain on the floor and your arms will still be bent.)
d) Drop your shoulders and squeeze your shoulder blades behind you – keep your lower back relaxed and your tail-bone tucked in.
This is a brilliant exercise that is extremely challenging on your core muscles.
This is also another exercise that you should try maintaining for a short period of time which can be extended as you increase your strength and endurance.
a) Begin on your hands and knees keeping your wrists underneath your shoulders.
b) If you have wrist issues you can perform a variation of this movement where you lean on your elbows rather than applying your bodyweight to the wrists and shoulders.
c) Walk your feet behind you and stop when the body forms a straight line with the shoulders, hips and ankles aligned.
d) Hold this position with the belly button pulled in towards the spine.
This pose is a fantastic movement to use at the end of the session as it promotes relaxation.
It is also a great pose to use in between other movements, particularly if you need a rest.
a) Begin on your knees and lower your hips back to your heels.
b) Stretch your upper body forward on top of your thighs.
c) Allow your forehead to rest on the ground in front of you.
d) Place your hands straight ahead of you, or you can also place them behind you to provide an extra stretch to the shoulders.
Take home message
The above positions are a tiny sample of some of the movements yoga has to offer.
The best thing about yoga is that it can literally be practiced anywhere with little to no equipment, and is a great activity to relieve st
ress alongside the numerous other health benefits that it offers.
Many athletes incorporate yoga into their post workout stretching routine and reap the benefits in sports from running to power lifting.
I have noticed a huge difference in my own flexibility from practicing a few of the simple movements daily after I train.
Try fitting some yoga into your own routine and see for yourself how rewarding it can be!