Best Yoga Poses and Asanas for Weight Loss in 2024
The Indian roots of yoga have reached the world and today yoga is loved by millions of people. A lot of people have incorporated yoga into their lifestyle. You can do yoga for strengthening, yoga for weight loss, or yoga for overall well-being. It is good to start with basic asanas under the guidance of an expert and then move on to specialized yoga asanas for weight loss.
Tips for using yoga for weight loss
For weight loss benefits, practice yoga regularly, ideally several times a week. Consistency is key to reaping the rewards.
Combine yoga with other forms of exercise:
While yoga can support weight loss, incorporating cardiovascular exercises like walking, running, or cycling can help you burn more calories.
Choose active yoga styles:
Opt for yoga styles that involve more movement, such as vinyasa, power yoga, or hot yoga, which can provide a more intense workout.
Have a nutritious diet:
Combine yoga with a balanced diet rich in whole foods, fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and healthy fats to support your weight loss goals.
Mindful eating is a must:
Practice mindfulness during meals, savoring each bite and paying attention to hunger and fullness cues.
Proper hydration is essential for overall health and can help control appetite.
Set realistic weight loss goals:
Understand that yoga alone may not lead to rapid weight loss. It's a long-term practice that contributes to overall well-being.
You need to understand that it is never a single thing that helps in weight loss. It needs to be a combination of yoga poses for weight loss, a balanced diet, and healthy lifestyle practices for weight loss.
Yoga asanas for weight loss
Here are 9 yoga asanas for weight loss that you must try.
1. Chaturanga Dandasana – Plank Pose
Chaturanga Dandasana, often referred to simply as "Chaturanga," is a fundamental yoga pose that is commonly incorporated into vinyasa or flow yoga sequences. It is a pose that strengthens the upper body, particularly the arms, shoulders, chest, and core muscles, and it plays a crucial role in transitioning between various yoga postures. Here's how to practice Chaturanga Dandasana –
- Begin in a high plank position with your hands placed shoulder-width apart on the mat. Your wrists should be directly under your shoulders, and your body should form a straight line from your head to your heels.
- Engage your core muscles and make sure your legs are active. Your heels should be pushing back, and your chest should be reaching forward.
- As you exhale, start to lower your body down toward the mat. Keep your elbows close to your ribs, hugging them in toward your body. This is a crucial aspect of the pose.
- Continue to lower yourself until your elbows are at a 90-degree angle, forming a right angle. Your upper arms should be parallel to the ground.
- Hold this position for a moment, maintaining engagement in your core and leg muscles. Your body should remain in a straight line.
- To release the pose, you can either lower it all the way down to the mat with control or transition into an upward-facing dog or cobra pose by lifting your chest and opening your heart.
2. Trikonasana – Triangle Pose
Trikonasana, also known as Triangle Pose, is a yoga pose that involves standing with your legs apart and reaching your arms out to form a triangle shape with your body. It's characterized by a deep stretch along the sides of the torso and is often included in yoga sequences to improve flexibility, balance, and strength. Here's how you can do this yoga asana for weight loss –
- Start in a wide-legged stance with your feet about 3 to 4 feet apart.
- Turn your right foot out 90 degrees and your left foot slightly inwards.
- Extend your arms out to the sides, parallel to the ground, with your palms facing down.
- Inhale as you reach your right arm down toward your right ankle while keeping your left arm pointing up toward the ceiling.
- Your torso should remain upright, and your gaze can be directed upward or forward.
- Hold the pose for a few breaths, feeling a stretch along your right side.
- Exhale and return to the starting position.
- Repeat on the other side by turning your left foot out and reaching your left arm down.
3. Virabhadrasana – Warrior Pose
Virabhadrasana is one of the many beneficial yoga asanas for weight loss. There are certain variations of the warrior pose, but if you are trying it for the first time then it would be best to start with the simplest of them all.
- Begin in a standing position at the front of your mat.
- Step one foot back about 3-4 feet and turn it slightly outward (about 45 degrees), while keeping the front foot pointing forward.
- Inhale as you raise your arms overhead, reaching them up toward the ceiling, with your palms facing each other.
- Exhale as you bend your front knee, lowering your hips toward the floor. Your front thigh should ideally become parallel to the ground, or as close as your flexibility allows.
- Keep your back leg straight and strong, with your heel pressing into the ground.
- Maintain a straight and tall spine, gazing forward or slightly upward.
- Hold the pose for several breaths before repeating on the other side.
4. Sarvangasana – Shoulder Stand Pose
When talking about yoga poses for weight loss, we cannot forget Sarvangasana. It is also known as Shoulder Stand Pose, is a yoga inversion pose that involves balancing the entire body on the shoulders with the legs extended vertically upward. It is considered one of the more advanced yoga poses and should be practiced with caution.
- Begin by lying flat on your back with your arms alongside your body, palms facing down.
- Inhale and lift both legs off the floor, keeping them together.
- Use your hands to support your lower back as you lift your hips off the mat. Bring your knees toward your chest.
- Continue to lift your legs and hips until your entire body is in a vertical line, with your toes pointing toward the ceiling.
- Support your back with your hands, keeping your elbows close together on the ground.
- Engage your core muscles and legs to maintain balance in the pose.
- Keep your neck in a neutral position, avoiding excessive pressure on the cervical spine. Your weight should be on your shoulders, not your neck.
- Breathe deeply and hold the pose for several seconds.
- To release, lower your legs back down slowly, with control, and return to a lying position on your back.
5. Adho Mukh Svasana – Downward dog Pose
Adho Mukha Svanasana, commonly referred to as Downward Dog Pose, is a foundational yoga pose that resembles an inverted "V" shape. Downward Dog offers numerous benefits for the body, including flexibility, strength, relaxation, and weight loss. Here's how you can do it –
- Begin in a tabletop position on your hands and knees, with your wrists aligned under your shoulders and your knees under your hips.
- Spread your fingers wide apart, pressing your palms firmly into the mat. Your fingers should be pointing forward or slightly turned out.
- Tuck your toes under and, on an exhale, lift your hips toward the ceiling. Straighten your arms and legs, coming into an inverted "V" shape.
- Your body should form a straight line from your wrists through your shoulders and hips to your heels. If your hamstrings are tight, it's okay to keep a slight bend in your knees.
- Press your heels toward the floor, but they don't need to touch. Focus on lengthening your spine and engaging your core.
- Relax your neck and allow your head to hang between your arms, with your gaze directed toward your navel or between your feet.
- To release, bend your knees and lower them to the mat, returning to the tabletop position.
6. Dhanurasana – Bow Pose
The list of yoga asanas for weight loss is incomplete without Dhanurasana, commonly known as bow pose. It is a backbend pose that stretches and strengthens various muscle groups, including the back, chest, shoulders, and legs. Here’s how you can do it –
- Start by lying flat on your stomach (prone position) with your arms alongside your body and your palms facing up.
- Bend your knees and bring your heels as close to your buttocks as possible, keeping them hip-width apart.
- Reach back with your arms and grasp your ankles, one in each hand. If you can't reach your ankles, you can use a yoga strap looped around your ankles and held in your hands.
- Inhale deeply, and as you exhale, begin to lift your chest, head, and thighs off the ground by kicking your feet into your hands. This action will create a bow shape with your body.
- Keep your gaze forward, and try to lift your thighs as high as you comfortably can while maintaining balance. You should feel a gentle stretch in the front of your body.
- Maintain this position, breathing deeply and evenly. Feel the expansion in your chest and the lift in your heart.
- Hold the pose for several breaths.
- To release, exhale and gently lower your chest, head, and thighs back to the mat.
7. Surya Namaskar – Sun Salutation Pose
Surya Namaskar, also known as Sun Salutation, is a series of yoga poses performed in a flowing sequence. Surya Namaskar is often performed as a warm-up or as a standalone practice, and it holds numerous physical, mental, and spiritual benefits. There are several variations of Surya Namaskar, but here's a common sequence that includes 12 steps for one full round.
- Pranamasana (Prayer Pose): Stand at the front of your mat with your feet together, palms pressed together in front of your chest, and take a moment to center yourself.
- Hastauttanasana (Raised Arms Pose): Inhale as you raise your arms overhead, arching your back slightly and lengthening your spine.
- Hasta Padasana (Hand-to-Foot Pose): Exhale as you bend forward at the hips, keeping your spine straight, and bring your hands to touch the floor beside your feet. If needed, you can bend your knees slightly.
- Ashwa Sanchalanasana (Equestrian Pose): Inhale as you step your right leg back into a lunge position, keeping your left knee bent at a 90-degree angle. Look upward.
- Dandasana (Plank Pose): As you exhale, step your left leg back to join your right, coming into a high plank position. Keep your body in a straight line from head to heels.
- Ashtanga Namaskara (Eight-Limbed Salutation): Lower your knees, chest, and chin to the floor while exhaling. Keep your hips elevated and your elbows close to your body.
- Bhujangasana (Cobra Pose): Inhale as you slide forward and lift your chest off the ground, using your back muscles. Keep your elbows slightly bent and your shoulders away from your ears.
- Parvatasana (Mountain Pose): Exhale as you lift your hips and push back into Downward-Facing Dog Pose, forming an inverted "V" shape with your body.
- Ashwa Sanchalanasana (Equestrian Pose): Inhale and step your right foot forward again, returning to the lunge position. Look upward.
- Hasta Padasana (Hand-to-Foot Pose): Exhale as you bring your left foot forward to meet your right foot in a forward bend, keeping your hands on the floor or shins.
- Hastauttanasana (Raised Arms Pose): Inhale as you rise, extending your arms overhead and arching your back slightly.
- Pranamasana (Prayer Pose): Exhale as you return to the starting position with your palms pressed together in front of your chest.
Keep in mind that you need to be consistent with yoga to see weight loss.