How can you benefit from yoga for weight loss? In my experience, yoga works because it builds muscles, boosts your metabolism, and defines your waist for a flat belly. We will discuss each of these points. Then, I will give you my top 10 yoga poses for a flat belly with a complete follow-along yoga for weight loss routine.
Can You Do Yoga for Weight Loss?
Is yoga good for weight loss? Yes, absolutely! Although, it was a bit of a surprise for me. Before I started yoga, I envisioned it as this slow practice that mainly aimed at improving flexibility and mindfulness. It does that, of course! But I also discovered that the types of yogas I liked most were more like bodyweight workouts that increase your strength, define your muscles and boost your metabolism.
And it’s not just my experience; according to this study, yoga is associated with behavioral changes that promote weight loss. Moreover, this meta-analysis shows that mindfulness reduces impulsive eating and increases physical activity.
Please read this article to learn about the benefits of yoga beyond the mat, including how it boosts your cardiovascular health and weight loss and improves your mindfulness and fitness.
Types of Yoga for Weight Loss
We can’t talk about yoga for weight loss without addressing the different styles of yoga. Here are the most effective types of yoga for weight loss:
- Vinyasa Yoga: Vinyasa flows move with your breath as you move smoothly through a series of poses.
- Power Yoga: While the terms power yoga and vinyasa yoga are often used interchangeably, power yoga flows usually include fewer poses that are held longer to build more strength and stamina.
- Ashtanga Yoga: Ashtanga yoga is similar to vinyasa yoga but is typically faster-paced and follows preset sequences.
- Restorative Yoga: Although restorative yoga is about holding resting poses for a longer time, it has been shown to reduce subcutaneous fat in overweight women.
When I started doing yoga, I loved doing what I call yoga drills. I do them frequently, although I enjoy power and vinyasa yoga. Yoga drills are exercises inspired by yoga that don’t necessarily flow smoothly together. They are meant to gain the strength necessary for more advanced poses. Please read my article Starting Yoga at 40 or Later: Everything You Need to Know to learn more about how to practice yoga.
Yoga Asanas for Weight Loss
Practice yoga at home for weight loss using my top yoga poses for a flat tummy.
1. Plank (Phalakasana)
This follow-along yoga for weight loss routine will start with different plank variations. Plank pose is the ultimate bodyweight exercise! You can adapt it to suit your strength level and target specific core muscles (like your obliques, rectus abdominis. and transversus abdominis).
We will hold the plank pose for 30 seconds, do 30 side plank lifts and lowers on each side, and then ten tricep planks on each side.
2. Chaturanga Pushups
Next, chaturanga push-ups. You don’t have to go all the way down if you have to compromise your form. Do five chaturanga pushups while keeping your collarbone wide and your shoulder blades back and down. Keep your neck long. Your heels are in line with your toes. Your elbows are at a 90-degree angle.
3. Boat Pose (Navasana)
Jump into forward fold and take a few breaths. Lower your butt into a seated position with your knees bent in front of you. Sprinkle your fingertips behind you, lift your chest, and squeeze your shoulder blades back and down. Raise your toes off the mat, keeping your knees at a 90-degree angle. Point your toes, squeeze your legs together, and cinch your waist. Bring your arms to the same level as your knees. Straighten your legs. Stay here for 30 seconds.
4. Pistol Squat to Standing Splits
Bring your feet back down. Lift your butt to squat. Straighten one leg into the pistol squat position. Round your back, and sprinkle your fingertips on each side to lift into the standing splits. Do it five times on each side.
5. Dolphin Pose (Ardha Pincha Mayurasana)
After your last standing splits, lower your leg and walk into down dog. Press your hands forward, and lift your tailbone. Slowly bend your elbows into dolphin pose. Lift and lower your elbow ten times. Then, walk your feet closer, and press your chest towards your thighs. Hold for 30 seconds.
6. Half Moon (Ardha Chandrasana)
Get back to down dog. Walk your feet closer to your hands. Raise one leg, stack your hips and your shoulders. Lift your upper arm and gaze up. Hold for a few breaths and repeat on the other side.
7. Wide-Angled Seated Forward Bend With Lifts (Upavistha Konasana)
From Half Moon, get into a forward fold. Lift into chair pose and stay there for a few breaths. Slowly lower your butt down. Extend your legs wide. Stretch for a few breaths as you open up. Sit up, straighten your arms and flex your feet. You will rock back a little as you lift your legs to bring your feet close to your hands. Repeat ten times. Bring your legs down and close the gap between them a little. Sprinkle your fingertips between your legs, point your toes and lift your legs ten times.
8. Side Lunges (Skandasana)
Bend your knees, bring your heels close to your butt and lift into a squat position. Get back up into chair pose and stay here for a few breaths—step one foot on the one side and lower into a side lunge. Do ten side lunges on each side.
9. Cobra (Bhujangasana) With Hands-Off Mat
Step your feet together to forward fold. Stay here for a few breaths. Place your hand down and jump back into chaturanga. Lower your pelvis down. Sprinkle your fingertips on each side and lift your chest into cobra. Cinch your waist, keep your collarbone wide, and squeeze your shoulder blades back and down. Take a few breaths. Lower down and lift into cobra again without using your hands as they stay lifted on each side. Lift and lower five times. Then, bring your hands forward and back five times.
10. Bow Pose (Dhanurasana )
Lift into chaturanga, and bring your pelvis back down. Bend your legs and grab your feet with your hands. Relax your chin on the floor while holding on to your feet. Inhale to lift your chest and exhale to kick your feet into your hands as you point your toes. Repeat a few times. Release everything and rest for a few minutes.
How to Improve Your Strength and Flexibility With Yoga
Yoga is the most multipurpose activity there is! That’s why I love it so much! A simple vinyasa flow improves strength, flexibility, balance, and mindfulness. All that in one workout!
However, when I started doing yoga, I struggled with following most vinyasa flows because I didn’t have enough flexibility. That’s when I started to dedicate some time daily to flexibility training. As a beginner, only 15 minutes a day. As I grew in my practice, I would set aside 30 minutes. I created a Full-Body Flexibility Transformation program that includes the follow-along routines that I did and training calendars to take all the guesswork out of the equation. You will know exactly what to do with guaranteed results!