Yoga has been proven to improve concentration, enhance flexibility, reduce stress and anxiety, and help with weight loss. There are dozens of types of yoga that are designed to have different benefits from stress reduction to flexibility to improved strength. If you’re looking for the best type of yoga that will help you lose weight, read this article about which yoga is best for weight loss.
Does yoga help you lose weight?
The short answer? Yes, it does. The longer answer? Yoga can benefit your weight-loss goals in a number of ways, including increasing flexibility and improving balance. More importantly, research shows that yoga helps reduce stress levels, which can boost your metabolism.
According to one study published in BMJ, people who practice hatha yoga on a regular basis have more than 11 percent lower levels of cortisol (known as the stress hormone) in their body than non-yoga practitioners(1).
Participants who performed regular hatha yoga also had more melatonin levels and enhanced immune functioning than their control group counterparts, which means they were less likely to get sick or feel stressed out by their busy schedules—both of which are helpful when you’re trying to drop pounds and tone up.
Top 10 Yoga asanas for weight loss
1. Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward Facing Dog)
Downward-Facing Dog is an essential pose for weight loss, as it opens up your upper back and shoulders and tones your arms, thighs, buttocks, calves and heels. It also gets you moving again after sitting at a desk all day!
Some variations to try include easing into Downward Facing Dog from Plank pose. Start in plank pose on your hands and knees (or on your hands or elbows), exhale, bend in half while keeping your legs straight.
Walk or crawl forward with knees straight until you feel a stretch in hamstrings. Straighten both legs without locking knees, inhale and look forward or down. Hold here 5-10 breaths before coming out of Downward Facing Dog; repeat several times during work day if possible!
Also Read: Downward facing dog steps
2. Viparita Karani (Legs up the Wall)
Legs up the Wall is one of my favorites to do in a class. It’s so simple, but it feels wonderful. All you need is a wall and some trust. Lie on your back, with your legs up and against a wall.
Stretch out your arms by your sides and allow them to relax. You can close your eyes or let them rest softly open—whatever feels best to you at that moment.
Your mind may wander or feel calmer than usual, which is why I often think of yoga as mindfulness training in addition to flexibility and strength work-outs. Relax into your practice and try not to judge yourself while doing so!
3. Parsvottanasana (Intense Side Stretch)
The intense stretch provided by Parsvottanasana not only releases tension in your lower back and hamstrings, but it also helps improve circulation, corrects posture and reduces bloating.
This deep stretch can be added to a run at almost any point of your route. When you enter into your pose, try to resist bending forward at all; keep all movement limited to side-to-side motion.
Breathe evenly as you focus on what’s happening in your glutes and quads. Hold for five breaths or up to 60 seconds, depending on how long you need to recover before moving on with your run. You’ll be amazed by how good it feels when you return to running after a few repetitions of Parsvottanasana!
4. Virabhadrasana 1 (Warrior One)
This challenging pose is known to work multiple muscle groups at once, including your glutes, hamstrings, and quads.
There are a few variations of Warrior One to increase or decrease intensity. Virabhadrasana 1 is an excellent posture for weight loss because it provides many benefits in a relatively short amount of time.
Not only does it build strength in your thighs and calves, but also stretches your shoulders and spine while keeping your arms and wrists strong as well.
5. Marjaryasana 2 (Cat Cow)
You’ve heard people talk about stoking your metabolism, and that’s exactly what Marjaryasana 2 (Cat Cow) does. This simple yet effective yoga pose is a cat-cow sequence that provides several important physical benefits. First, it stretches your spine and shoulders, improving your posture.
Then it works to stretch out your abdomen, helping you flatten your belly while toning up those abs. This pose also massages and stimulates digestion by opening up circulation through your torso and lower body, which allows more blood flow throughout all of these areas, including to vital organs like your liver and kidneys. Even better?
6. Bhujangasana (Cobra Pose)
A form of backbend, Bhujangasana is part of Suryanamaskar, or Sun Salutation. It stretches your upper body, back and arms while toning your abdominals. When done correctly, it helps with weight loss by improving digestion.
Make sure to keep your shoulders away from your ears while doing Bhujangasana to avoid any pinching or pain in these areas. If you find yourself slouching in order to touch your toes during Sun Salutations, stop and rest in Bhujangasana until you’re able to sit up straight again.
7. Ardha Chandrasana (Half Moon Pose)
Ardha Chandrasana has some great benefits when it comes to weight loss. By opening up your chest and shoulders, you can stretch out your chest and release tight pectoral muscles—all of which reduce stress levels that are often caused by too much time spent sitting at a desk.
It also strengthens your abs and lengthens your spine, helping keep you in an upright position. So, if you’re looking to cut down on belly fat and improve posture, Ardha Chandrasana is just what you need!
8. Kumbhakasana (The plank)
Regular practice of Kumbhakasana helps to increase core strength and prevents back pain. It activates important abdominal muscles required to do other asanas in your daily routine.
A strong core is an essential part of healthy living and doing yoga on a regular basis helps to strengthen it. You can perform kumbhakasana anywhere and anytime you want, especially when you are feeling stressed out or anxious about something.
9. Prasarita Padottanasana 1 (Wide-Legged Forward Bend)
With its lengthening effect on muscles, ligaments and tendons of hips, thighs and lower back, Prasarita Padottanasana 1 is great for losing weight. It makes you feel relaxed and flexible which is a sure way to lose those extra pounds. Standing upright with feet together, inhale deeply as you lift your arms straight up above your head.
Exhale as you bend forward from hips keeping hands interlocked behind waist. Lower chest toward knees then reach down as far as possible without bending knees or rounding back.
Keep your feet firm apart throughout exercise with soles of both feet firmly planted on ground. Let your head relax forward in alignment with spine in a pose called jolting staff pose.
10. Ardha Matsyendrasana 3 (Half Lord of the Fishes Pose Twist)
This is a deep twist that stretches out your lower back and spine. It also gently massages your internal organs, including your liver, which helps boost metabolism. Make sure to come out of the pose slowly and keep your knees bent to avoid feeling lightheaded from blood rushing to your head.
If you are new to yoga or have an injury, work with a knowledgeable instructor before trying it on your own. However, if you’re in good health, then Ardha Matsyendrasana 3 can be great for boosting metabolic activity and losing weight.
Which Time is Best for Yoga for Weight Loss
It doesn’t matter when you do it, but what matters is that you do it regularly and consistently. If you prefer mornings, go for it! If evening works better, that’s fine too. Do what works best with your schedule.
You can also rotate between different poses every other day to keep things fresh. Just make sure you stick to your routine on non-rotation days or else your body won’t benefit from all of your hard work!
The secret to losing weight is simply moving more and eating less. Yoga not only helps you meet both of these goals, but it can also help you reduce stress, increase strength and balance, improve sleep and circulation, and develop greater mindfulness—all factors that have been shown to contribute to a healthier body weight.
So if you’re ready to shed some pounds without resorting to gimmicks or fad diets, consider adding yoga into your daily routine. It just might be what you need in order to make health changes that last!