Yoga is one of the most interactive and relaxing advertised weight loss methods.

Intentional body weight loss is generated when exercise and metabolism consume more energy (calories) than food, and other nutrients bring.

Traditionally, weight loss is primarily linked to the amount of activity an individual make; however, it is also directly influenced by other aspects as alimentation, stress, and balance with the environment. If we were to compare the effort put in for conventional physical exercises and yoga practices, the result would unequivocally make you think that the best results are obtained through traditional exercising.

How Can Yoga Help?

Yoga is far from healthy practices as it is not a strict exercise routine or a combination of it with a draconian diet. It is a total harmony of the body and spirit. Yes, I know, it sounds undoable, but it is true. Yoga routines are designed to make you feel your body’s needs. It is not a matter of how many times you repeat an exercise and how fast you do it and more of a focus on the practice itself. It does not target a muscle or muscle group, but it focuses on a certain feeling or well-being state.

It is true; yoga might not burn that many calories from the exercises themselves, but it does change the way you relate to your body’s needs. It will make you more aware of what you eat simply because you instinctively feel the need to maintain the positive feeling yoga gives you and will avoid sluggish food or drinking.

Stress is another factor which causes many individuals to eat uncontrollably and yoga, as you know, does an excellent job in eliminating it.

There are several levels of yoga, varying from yoga “for the mind” to “power yoga”, thus an individual would have to find the suitable one for his/her needs.

Practicing yogis recommend Ashtanga, Vinyasa or Power Yoga for weight losses.

Ashtanga is also known as the “eight limbs yoga”. The “limbs” represent separate disciplines which focus on your spirit and body. Asana, the third limb, describes the practice of postures and is the most important one as it enables us to understand the other disciplines.

The weight loss when exercising in Astanga asanas is generated by the amount of energy consumption as the positions are demanding and are required to be performed in the following manner.

Two of the most relaxing yet demanding exercises for beginners in Ashtanga are either Extended side angle (Utthita Parsvakonasana) or Spread Led Standing Forward pose (Prasarita Padottanasana).

Extended side angle (Utthita Parsvakonasana)

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  • Begin standing straight looking at the tip of your nose.
  • Inhale and take a step back with your right foot. Make sure your feet are five feet wide and parallel and at the same time lift your arms to the sides, keeping them straight.
  • Exhale and turn the right foot 90° and then bend your knee over the foot. Place the right palm next to the right foot (on the outside of it) and extend the left arm in a straight line with the body and left leg. Breathe deeply and stay in the position for few seconds.
  • Inhale while coming back to the standing position but raise your hands above your head in a straight line.
  • Exhale and at the same time turn your left foot 90° now while bending to grab its big toe using your left hand’s thumb and first two fingers. Extend your right hand straight up. Gaze at the tip of your right hand and breath freely.
  • Inhale while coming back to the initial position.
  • Continue practice by switching the left leg with the right leg on both practices.

Spread Led Standing Forward pose (Prasarita Padottanasana)

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  • Begin by standing straight, keeping heels and big toes united. Lift your chest and keep your head slightly lowered while looking at the tip of your nose.
  • Inhale and at the same time step at a side with your right foot, placing it at a five feet distance from your left foot and keeping them parallel. Put your hands on your waist and gaze at the tip of your nose.
  • Exhale while placing both palms on the floor, between the feet. Keep your head up and while inhaling gaze at the tip of your nose.
  • Exhale and place your head on the floor, between your palms, in the center. Hold that position while maintaining the lower abdomen drawn back. Breathe freely and gaze at your nose.
  • As you only lift your head inhale. Exhale once the head is lifted and look at the tip of the nose.
  • Inhale as you lift your hands back to your waist and come back to initial state

Vinyasa practically means “breath-synchronized movement” as it links every asana (pose) to an inhale or exhales. It is very similar to Ashtanga however Vinyasa has a more flexible flow of positions.

Its flexibility enables teachers to incorporate an unlimited number of positions and styles of yoga or even use thematic music. This also results in a serious physical exercise and limits bending performance.

Vinyasa is a great cardio exercise source and the only break you get during poses as Downward Dog thus it will definitely get you sweating. The variety of exercises available makes it easier even for the beginners to find the best-tailored class for them.

You can use one of the following sequences, according to your needs and abilities.

Beginner Vinyasa Sequence

  • Start with the Plank Pose (Kumbhakasana) so, as inhaling, go down in a high push-up position. Make sure you keep your palms in direct line with your shoulders and your feet at a hip distance apart.
  • Continue with the knees-chest-chin pose (ashtanga namaskar). Lower your knees as exhaling and place them on the floor. Make sure your elbows are still tangent to your sides and your hips are not touching the floor. Touch the floor with your chest and chin, ensuring that the chest is situated between your palms.
  • Next pose is the Cobra pose (Bhujangasana). Inhale and draw your chest ahead but do not move your hands (keep them in a straight line with your shoulders). Lengthen your legs on the floor including the toes. Pull back your shoulders and bring your chest slightly up. Make sure your lower ribs are constant on the floor.
  • End sequence with the downward-facing dog poses (Adho Mukha Svanasana). Exhaling lift your hips and roll over your toes and place the base of your feet on the floor. As you find full support on your feet and palms stretch your spine and lift your abdomen and sit bones as high as you can.

Intermediate Vinyasa Sequence

  • Start with the Plank Pose (Kumbhakasana) so, as inhaling, go down in a high push-up position. Make sure you keep your palms in direct line with your shoulders and your feet at a hip distance apart.
  • Continue with the four limbs staff pose (Chaturanga Dandasana). Exhale and lower your body as much as you can, without touching the floor. Make sure your elbows are still tangent to your sides. Lengthen your legs on the floor and reach back to your heels.
  • Next, while inhaling, move to the Upward-facing Dog Pose (Urdhva Mukha Svanasana), drawing your chest forward and straightening your arms. Pull the shoulders backward and lift your chest as high as you can. Elevate the top of your thighs of the floor, fully engaging your leg muscles. Make sure your elbows are still tangent to your sides.
  • End sequence with the downward-facing dog poses (Adho Mukha Svanasana). Exhaling lift your hips and roll over your toes and place the base of your feet on the floor. As you find full support on your feet and palms stretch your spine and lift your abdomen and sit bones as high as you can.

Finding a proper flow of poses is very important, and vinyasa ensures that along with a perfect balance and link of movements and breaths.

Power Yoga, also called “gym yoga” is a more intense, fitness-based approach of Vinyasa (which was initially developed from Ashtanga). This is why the people who practice it believe it is one of the best weight loss methods and sometimes enhance it by adding dumbells.

Some of the most effective poses you can use in power yoga are:

Wind-Releasing Pose (Pawanmuktasana)

It is a great pose for losing excess weight from the abdominal region and stomach.

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  • Start on your back and Inhale while bending your right knee. Grab it with both hands and pull it to your torso (interlock your fingers to keep a tight grip). Maintain your left foot on the floor and hold the inhaled breath for few moments.
  • While slowly exhaling lift your back, shoulders, and head until you reach your forehead with your knee. Hold your exhaled breath for few seconds.
  • Inhale slowly and return your head to the floor. Do not release the knee and keep the inhaled breath for few moments.
  • Exhale while bringing the right foot back on the floor and continue the sequence with the left foot.

Cobra Pose

This pose is a great workout for firming the buttocks and toning the abs.

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  • Inhale and draw your chest ahead but do not move your hands (keep them in a straight line with your shoulders).
  • Lengthen your legs on the floor including the toes. Pull back your shoulders and bring your chest slightly up. Make sure your lower ribs are constant on the floor.

 Bow Pose (Dhanurasana)

This pose is great for toning and losing extra fat from your arms and legs.

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  • Sitting on your belly, on the floor, elongate your arms around your body, facing your palms up.
  • While exhaling you need to bend your knees and bring your heels as close to your bottom as you can. And grab your ankles with your hands. Make sure you do not spread your knees too much.
  • Inhale as you pull your heels away from your bottom and lift your thighs away from the floor. Keep the tops of the shoulders away from your years.
  • Stay in that position for 20 to 30 seconds while breathing freely.
  • Exhale while slowly releasing feet.

Pigeon Pose (Eka Pada Rajakapotasana)

It’s a wonderful exercise you can use to eliminate saturated fats in the abdominal region.

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  • Start standing on all four limbs (knees and hands).
  • Slowly bring your right knee towards your right hand and place it right behind the right wrist. Bring the ankle of the right foot in front of the left hip. Make sure your calf is more or less parallel to the front of the yoga mat.
  • Lengthen your left foot up to the toes but make sure it does not go to the sides, keep it straight and your heel pointing up.
  • Lower your body as much as you can and then, in an inhale, lift your upper body. Keep your hands straight and lift yourself on your fingertips keeping your tailbone down.
  • Exhaling slowly “walk” your hands on the fingers until you can rest your forearms and forehead on the mat.
  • Balancing your weight on both legs stay there for 30 seconds

When starting to practice yoga, if your focus is to lose weight, I recommend you to begin by following the strict instructions of the teacher in Ashtanga. It will help you acquire the needed discipline and will give you more focus on the positions themselves through the routine specific practice give you.

Before you start practicing yoga, we would recommend you to follow some of the below tricks. They should help you find your inner motivation and physical approach.

  1. Do not exhaust yourself from the start! Allow yourself to make breaks when you feel you are overwhelmed.
  2. Do not do your practices in a room with mirrors, in the beginning. Allow yourself to feel the moves you are making.
  3. Always look for the moves that make your body feel challenged but avoid the ones where it is overwhelmed.
  4. Always praise yourself and experiences.
  5. Focus on the entire experience. Do not work fully for your body but to develop discipline, wisdom, gratitude, and patience.

If you are familiar with yoga and fitness exercises but are not quite fit for more rough approaches, you can still easily lose weight by practicing Vinyasa. The wide range of approaches practiced by the instructors guarantees the fact that you can find the class suitable for you.

You can definitely lose weight with yoga; it just depends on how much effort you are willing to put into it and how good you are at finding your inner balance. Don’t jump into a fast weight loss method, take your time. Yoga is a balance between your spirit, your body, and the world.

If you are not enjoying what yoga does for you then you are not doing it for the ride and just doing it for the pit stop and this, in the end, would make you just do not such an ordinary gym exercises.

Don’t forget, yoga is an umbrella which gathers everything that makes your body feel in balance.

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