Losing weight with yoga is one of the easiest ways to lose weight, because unlike exercises, yogasanas are notstraining for your body. These poses work with the flexibility of your joints and helps in toning the muscles with regular practice. When you are trying to lose weight, spending sufficient hours everyday in practicing yoga can be highly effective, particularly when combined with the right diet. Practicing yoga can be beneficial even for people with a healthy bodyweight because it can be very helpful to manage your weight without straining your body.
To get the best weight loss benefits of yoga, you should perform the yoga poses as described below every day, once in the morning and once in the evening. While practicing yoga always keep in mind that yoga is all about making your poses perfect and not about doing more. So, take your time, let your senses and body relax when you are practicing yoga. Practicing even only a few yoga pose a day with maximum perfection and concentration can give you great weight loss benefits. So when it is about yoga, unlike exercising, you should go-slow with your body.
[ Hindi version ]
Here we have presented a guide of the best yoga poses that can be effective in giving you weight loss benefits. However, please keep in mind that yoga is a science and it is best if you can learn it from an accomplished master. While yogasanas can be performed by everyone irrespective of their age or health conditions, there might be some particular poses that might not be suitable for all and hence consulting a master, who has a detailed idea about your physical condition, to pick the most effective yoga poses for you, is surely the best way to go.
Adho mukha savashana or downward-facing dog pose
Lie flat with your stomach on the floor. Place your hands and legs shoulder apart. Now slowly bend your body inwards from your waist taking the body weight on your hands and feet. You should continue bending your body till you reach an inverted “V” shape. Hold this position for 30 seconds and then slowly trace back to the starting position. Try to repeat at least 3-4 times, but do not push yourself.
Ardha navasana or half boat posture
Lie flat on your back. Keep your hands folded under your head and your legs well stretched. Now pull your upper body as well as your legs upwards to reach the half boat position. Your objective should be to keep your upper body and your legs at 45 degrees with the floor. Try to hold this posture for 30 seconds. If that seems difficult, start with 10 second holding and then increase the time slowly. Once you are done, slowly get back to the starting position.
Balasana or child’s pose
To do balasana sit on the floor with your legs folded under your hips. Now lower your head and tuck it in close to your knees. Try to hold the thumbs of your legs with your fingers by extending your hands to the back. Hold this position for minimum 30 seconds and then first stretch the hands back to the front and then take your head up. Repeat 3-4 times. This asana apart from giving you weight loss benefits can also offer freedom from neck and shoulder pain.
Bhujangasana or cobra pose
Bhujangasana can offer the best weight loss and toning effects to your abs, chest, back and hips. To do this asana lie flat on your stomach on the floor, placing your hands at the sides of your shoulder. Now pull your upper body upwards while keeping the legs fixed on the floor. You should balance your weight on the hands. Try to pull up your body as much as possible. You might not be able to pull up the part below the waist at first (as shown in the figure), but with practice you can achieve perfection.
Chakrasana or wheel
Chakrasana is ideal for losing the stubborn stomach fat quickly. It is one of the few poses that can give you quick inch-loss from the waist line. You can do this exercise starting from a sleeping position or from a standing position. For the beginners, doing it from the sleeping position is a better choice. Lie on your back. Bend your knees to place your feet firmly on the floor, shoulder apart. Now place your hands at the side of your shoulders and then pull your body up to make the wheel shape. Hold the position for 30 seconds before you comedown slowly.
Dhanurasana or bow
Dhanurasana can give your body an overall toning effect as it involves all the bigger muscles of the body. Lie on your stomach. Fold your legs and your upper body backward to hold your feet with your hands as shown in the figure. Ensure that your legs remain parallel to each other. Hold your head straight and high. Maintain this position for 30 seconds before getting back to the starting position.
Gomukhasana or cow faced pose
Gomukhasana is a sitting asana that can be performed by anyone with ease and can give not only weight loss effects but also relief from back and shoulder pains. Sit on the floor, crossing your one leg over the other as shown in the picture. Now take your hands to the back and hold the fingers together. The hand of the side of the leg which is placed up should bend upwards from near the waist, and the hand of the side of the leg that has been placed under, should go up and then folded down to the back. Hold this posture for 30 seconds and then get back to the sitting position to repeat by placing your hands and legs in the opposite way. This will complete one set.
Padahastasana or standing forward bend
Stand straight on your feet and then bend to the front from your waist, without bending your knees. Put your hands under your feet to complete a circuit. Hold the position for 30 seconds before getting back to the standing position. It might not be that easy to tuck your hands under your feet at the first go. So, start with trying to touch the thumb, without bending your knees and then slowly work towards perfection.
Salabhasana or locust
Lie flat on your stomach. Now push your upper body and your legs upwardswithout bending the legs from your knees. Your hands should be stretched back to hold the tension. Try to maintain an equal height of your upper body and your legs from the floor, balancing your weight on your stomach. Hold the position for 30 seconds and then get back to the starting position before repeating.
Sasakasana or rabbit
Sasakasana is a yoga pose that effectively tones your upper body. Stand on the floor on your knees and then bend your upper body downward so that your head touches the floor close to your knees. Now hold your heels with your hands as shown in the picture and stay at this position for at least 30 seconds before getting back to the starting position. It is best to do this asana on a yoga mat or you might end up hurting your knees.
Ustrasana or camel
Just like sasakasana stand on your knees on the floor and then instead of bending forward, bend your upper body backward and hold your ankles with your hands. Hold this posture for 30 seconds at least. If you have back ache or spondylosis this asana will also help to ease the pain while giving toning effects to your abs and upper body.
Utkatasana or chair pose
Stand tall on your legs and then bend your knees to reach the chair pose. Your thighs should come parallel with the floor and your upper body should be pointing straight upwards. Keep your hands stretched above your head to feel the tension across your body. Hold the posture for 30 seconds before getting back to the standing position.
Setubandhasana or bridge pose
Lie flat on your back and fold your legs from the knees at 90 degrees keeping your feet straight on the floor. Place your hands at the sides and then start pulling your body up balancing the weight on your feet and shoulder. Hold the back of your feet with your hands to complete the pose. You should try to keep the middle part of your body as high as possible from the floor. After you have held the position for 30 seconds bring your body down and then get back to the flat position, before you repeat.
To get the best benefits of yoga, it is suggested to perform sabasana or the dead pose after completing each of the asanas. It helps in maximizing the effects of the yogasanas. Also never perform yoga in a filled stomach; there should be a gap of at least 4 hours after a full meal and a gap of a minimum of 1.5 hours after a short meal. Also do not drink water or any other food immediately after doing yoga.
[ Hindi version ]