Yoga has overall health benefits including both mental and physical health. It is a proven stress relief and it helps sharpen the mind. Physically it also improves lung functions, strength, circulation and it has cardiovascular benefits. If this isn’t enough motivation to do some simple yoga poses though the weight lose benefits should be. Yoga can help with weight loss by reducing the cortisol levels as well as by burning excess calories and reducing stress. By adding yoga to your daily routine, you could see some major improvements in your health. However, you don’t even have to do yoga daily to experience some of the benefits. Doing it even three times a week is enough to experience a change. Here are some simple poses to help you lose some of that holiday weight and discover a healthier lifestyle.
These poses work best on either yoga mats or carpeted spaces. Each pose should be held for about 5-8 breaths and repeated 2 or 3 times.
- Bridge Pose
To begin this pose, lie on your back. Keep your feet a hip length apart and fold your knees. Make sure your knees and ankles are in a straight line. Keep your arms beside the body with your palms facing downward. Inhale gently and lift your back off the floor slowly. By rolling your shoulders, touch your chest to your chin without moving your chin down. Use your shoulders, arms and feet to support the weight of your body. Keep your thighs parallel to one another and the floor. Gently breath. Return to starting position by exhaling. This will give you a good stretch of your chest, abs, spine and neck.
2. Bow Pose
To stretch and strengthen your abdomen and chest, lie on the floor with your stomach touching the ground. Rest your hands beside your torso with the palms facing up. Exhale and bend your knees. Grab your ankles and make sure your knees are just a hip-width apart. Inhale and lift your heels up, while also lifting your thighs away from the floor. Press your shoulder blades against your back and open your chest. Gaze forward and breath continuously. Eventually, exhale and return to the starting position. Be still for a few seconds before continuing.
3. Crescent Pose
Do this pose for firmer abs, hips and thighs. Begin by standing with your feet together, your toes forward and your arms at your sides. Slowly inhale and raise your arms over your head with your fingertips pointed at the ceiling. As you exhale, bend forward from your hips and bring your hands to the floor. Inhale again and as you exhale, step your right leg back into a lunge with your left knee at about a 90 degree bend, your knee over your ankle. Your right leg should be extended and your weight should be on the ball of your foot. Inhale again and raise your arms over your head while facing forward. Hold this position. Eventually, return to the standing position and repeat by stepping your left leg back.
4. Hover Pose
To start this pose, get in a push up position with your arms straight and hands below your shoulders. Your body should be in line from your head to toes. Inhale and when you exhale slowly lower your chest to the floor, bending your elbows back and holding your abs tight. Hold yourself a few inches above the floor. This pose strengthens your shoulders, back, arms and abs.
5. Chair Pose
This pose improves your thighs and butt. Start with your feet together, toes forward and your arms at your sides. Inhale and raise your arms overhead with your palms face one another. Exhale and sit back about 45 degrees while keeping your knees behind your toes and your abs tight in order to support your back. Continue to face forward.
6. Half Spinal Twist Pose
To start, sit down in a cross-legged position. Then, to the right, turn your lower body while extending your right leg and bending the left one at the knee. Bend your right hand and place it on the outside of your left thigh. Ensure your left arm is down. After returning to initial position, repeat on the opposite side. This will strengthen your spin and reduce fat surrounding your abs.
7. Cobra Pose
Lay on the ground with your forehead touching it. Bend your elbows and place your palms below your shoulders, close to your body. Stretch your feet with the top of them touching the ground. Inhale slowly and straighten your arms while raising your chest. Continue this until your upper body is in a curve. Do not curve yourself beyond your navel. Maintain firm shoulders. Return to the starting position by exhaling. This stretch is ideal for both your chest and abdomen.
8. Triangle Pose
This is a good stretch for abdominal region. Begin by standing straight with your feet a hip length apart. Keeping your thighs firm, turn your left foot out towards the right side slightly and your right foot out by 90 degrees. When you exhale, extend your torso over your right leg while bending from the hip joint. Outside of your right foot, place your right hand on either your shin or the floor while stretching your left hand upwards. Make sure your arm is straight then turn your head towards your left hand. After holding it for several breaths, return to the beginning position by inhaling.
9. Seated Forward Bend
Sit on the floor with your legs straight out in front of you. As you inhale, bend forward from your hip joints while keeping your torso long. If you can not hold your feet with your hands, loop a strap around your feet and hold it firmly. Otherwise, stretch until you can hold your feet.
10. Side Plank Pose
Begin by lying on your right side on the ground. Place your legs one on top of the other. Stretch your right arm and elevate your body. Support your body on your right hand. Stretch your left arm upwards. Look at your left thumb by turning your head upwards. After returning to the initial position, repeat on the left side. This is a good stretch for your belly, arms and legs.
Be sure to continuously do various poses to maintain strength. As you improve, you will also be able to do harder poses or incorporate variations on the poses to make them harder. Of course, there are plenty of other yoga poses that help reduce fat and these are just a few samples. Happy stretching!