Yoga Postures for Weight Loss

Benefits of Yoga

Dr. Purushothaman
May 15, 2015

Yoga was found to be very useful for all persons for all over the world. It originated from the Indian subcontinent to every corner of the world. Today, yoga has seen a big surge in popularity in the United States, and people use it as a form of exercise, training, and stress relief.

People practice yoga for many reasons, especially for weight control. Depending on the postures used, yoga can be used to gain weight through building muscle or to lose weight through burning fat. At its heart, yoga is a simple practice. The multitude of yoga classes available across the United States attests to how easily yoga can be to pick up. There are no side effects, but the benefits can be long lasting, if you're doing it regularly.

There are a number of asanas (yoga poses) which are particularly good for weight loss. Some of them stretch the spine, some involve standing and moving the arms and legs into particular postures. A number of them can even be done very easily. The four poses given below are good for reducing weight. A very good yoga teacher can teach you just what you need to meet your weight loss goals.

The Half-Moon Pose
This pose works on your gluteal muscles and your thighs. When you stretch, it also helps budge those stubborn love handles and keeps our abdominal wall stronger and stronger. Naturally, it also burns fat, which is vital for losing weight.

If we are suffering from hypertension, or eye problems or abdominal problems, this pose is not for you.

• Always keep your feet close and then stand straight.

• Lift your hands over your head until your palms are closed together and try to reach as high as you can.

• On an exhalation, bend to one side of your hips, slowly. Your hands should remain together. Do not bend forward and be sure to keep our elbows always straight. If we can do it correctly, we will always be able to feel it all the way from the tips of your fingers to your thighs.

• Hold the pose for about 20 seconds or through several breaths.

• On an inhalation, pull yourself back into the standing position.

• Start from the beginning, but this time lean to the other side.

The Tree Pose
If you want to tone your ABS, the Tree Pose is perfect. It also works on your arms and thighs.
Those with back or knee injuries should avoid this pose, unless under the supervision of someone trained in advanced yoga practices or at a yoga retreat.

• You should Always start in the standing position, with your legs together.

• Keep your weight to any one leg and after that lift the other leg, facing your foot inward, toward the opposite knee.

• It's okay to hold your ankle to help pull your foot upward.

• Put the heel of this foot on the inner thigh of your other leg, very closely to your pelvis. Stabilize this pose by pushing your foot and thigh together. Try to push your bent knee back to open your pelvis and get the most from this pose.

• Slowly lift your hands upward, over your head, and point your fingers toward the ceiling.

• Always Keep your balance and try to focus on your mind.

• Breathe in and out in a steady rhythm. Sometimes it helps to pick one spot to concentrate upon.

While practicing this posture, be sure to do it without support from a wall or chair, since this will make the pose largely ineffective.

Half-Spinal Twist
As the name suggests, this pose stretches out your spine, making it more flexible over time. It also works the ABS and thighs. The motions will also increase your lung capacity and stimulate your digestive system, which helps still further with losing weight.

• This is a seated pose. Start by sitting with your legs stretched straight ahead. Your feet should be together, and your back kept straight.

• Bend your left leg, keeping it resting on the floor, and bringing your foot under your right leg to your right hip.

• Next, draw your right leg up, bending your knee and putting your right foot over your left knee or thigh.

• Put your left hand on the inside your right knee and put your right hand behind you.

• Twist your waist, then your shoulders, then your neck, to the right, in that order, looking over your right shoulder when you do so.

• Hold while slowly inhaling and exhaling.

• Exhale and release the hand behind you, then release your waist, chest, and neck in that order, returning to your initial position.

• You should always repeat the same, on the other side.
Those with back injuries should only do this pose with the help of a practiced yoga trainer.

Kapal Bhati Pranayam
This is essentially a very good breathing technique. You'll be able to feel the effects in your abdomen and stomach almost immediately. This will serve to tone and flatten your ABS and midsection. It will also make your digestion more efficient, so you burn calories that much easier before they turn to fat!

• Sit on a comfortable surface (like a yoga mat). Your back should be straight. Sit with your legs crossed so your knees are out to either side.

• Put your palms on your knees.

• Breathe in and out through your nose.

• Always inhale and outhale with speed.

• Quickly pull your stomach again and breathe out. The motions of your stomach should be controlling your breathing.

• Try to do this around 50 times, at first. Once you feel comfortable with this exercise, you may continue past 50.

At first, you'll definitely feel the fatigue. This is perfectly normal and means it's working!
While yoga alone will probably not help you lose a great deal of weight, when combined with a healthy diet, these postures and many others can go a long way to helping you achieve the ideal shape and size. Consider signing up for yoga classes or even for a yoga retreat. Your body will thank you.
Emily Hunter is the contributor of this article, who is associated with the Yoga & Meditation Centre-Samahita Retreat

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