Finding fast and fun ways to exercise can be difficult. Yoga, however, presents a unique and revitalizing workout with plenty of weight loss benefits.
Yoga kick-starts metabolism and builds some impressive lean muscle. Whatâ€™s more, itâ€™s a quick, exhilarating way to support an existing diet or weight loss program. With a mat and some self-discipline, you can successfully use yoga to drop some extra pounds.
If this sounds appealing, check out these five yoga poses for fat loss and other weight loss benefits.
The plank pose is a good way to start your yoga workout. The plank is moderately challenging and is said to strengthen arms, tone abs, and stretch the spine. This develops a strong core, which is important to healthy weight loss .
To perform this pose, get on your hands and knees and tuck your toes under. Straighten your legs until youâ€™re in a horizontal line. Slowly bring your shoulder blades together while extending forward through the top of your head. Then reach back through your heels.
Hold this pose for 60 seconds.
If youâ€™re having trouble, you may want to break into the downward dog for a few breaths.
2. Downward Dog
Perhaps the most well-known yoga pose, downward dog doesnâ€™t directly burn fat, but it does eliminate several factors leading to weight gain. Downward dog is connected with decreased anxiety and tension, two things that often lead to belly fat. Downward dog also strengthens hamstrings and calves, and deepens respiration .
You can get into this pose from the plank or from a standing position. Start by coming down on your hands and knees and spreading your fingers apart. Like the plank, youâ€™ll want to tuck your toes.
Then slowly raise your hips up and back, extending your legs. Press your shoulders toward the floor while relaxing your neck and pressing your palms into the mat. Once youâ€™ve maintained this position, walk your feet back, pulling up through the hips and pressing your heels down.
The cobra is a good weight loss pose for beginning yoga practitioners. Said to firm the buttocks and tone the abs, this pose is particularly good for people struggling with butt and belly fat .
Start by lying face-down on your mat, with the tops of your feel pressed flat against the ground. Then press your legs and hips down in the mat while placing your hands under your shoulders. Make sure your palms are flat against the mat and your fingers are spread.
Pressing into your hands, start to lift your head upward with the chest and upper back following. Keep your eyes forward and your shoulder blades down and back. When your upper body is off the map, push your shoulders back until you feel the stretch spread across your spine.
Take a few breaths and then return to the mat.
4. Rocking Boat
Change things up with the rocking boat pose. The rocking boat promotes firm abs and burns back fat, an area many people have trouble with .
Roll over and sit on the mat with your knees bent, your feet on the floor, and your hands on your thighs.
Lean back about 45 degrees while raising your feet so your calves are parallel to the floor. Keep your toes pointed. If you need extra support, hold the backs of your thighs and keep your legs bent.
Once there, inhale and extend your arms and legs. Remember to keep your legs together. Â As you exhale, lower your torso and legs about three or four inches so your body forms a wider V shape. Then raise your torso and legs back to the original position.
For best results, repeat the rocking boat three to five times. If you want a challenge, extend your arms overhead when in the wider V position.
Wrap things up with the chair pose. This pose is said to flatten your belly by tightening abs and relaxing the body, which reduces cortisol production. Because cortisol leads to increased belly fat, the chair pose both fights fat and prevents it. The chair pose also firms the butt and thighs .
To perform this pose, stand on your mat with feet together, toes forward, and arms at your sides. Inhale as your raise your arms overhead with the palms facing each other. Then exhale and start sitting back at a 45 degree angle. Keep your knees behind your pose and your abs tight while gazing forward.
If you want an extra challenge, lift your heels off the floor as you balance on the balls of your feet. Make sure that your knees still remain in front of your toes. Gaze up toward your fingertips.
 Yoga Journal. 2013. Plank Pose. YogaJournal.com: http://www.yogajournal.com/poses/470.
 Lawrence, Gwen. 2013. Pose of the Month: Downward Facing Dog. Active.com: http://www.active.com/mindandbody/articles/Pose_of_the_Month__Downward_Facing_Dog.
 Knox, Philip and Devin Thomas. 7 April 2011. The Top 5 Fat-Burning Yoga Poses. Life.com: http://life.gaiam.com/article/top-5-fat-burning-yoga-poses.
 McGinnis, Marianne. November 2011. Slim Down With Yoga. Prevention.com: http://www.prevention.com/fitness/yoga/top-yoga-poses-weight-loss.
 Womenâ€™s Health Magazine. 23 April 2103. Slim Down and Tone Up: 8 Killer Yoga Poses to Burn Fat Fast. WomensHealthMag.com: http://www.womenshealthmag.com/fitness/fat-burning-yoga.