The Ultimate Yoga Practice for Weight Loss and ToningBy WanderfulSoul | Comments: 0 | September 11, 2017
Yoga is a fantastic way to lose weight and get in shape. The reason that so many have succeeded in weight loss with yoga is because it doesn’t just focus on toning and trimming your body. Yoga heals and trains your body and your mind.
The poses, breathing exercises, and meditation make up a holistic and complete yoga weight loss routine. It’s true that holding yoga poses is great for burning calories, but the real benefits come from reduced stress, more self-control, and better body image.
Just think; with reduced stress and higher energy levels, hitting the drive thru on a Friday after work will be much less tempting!
Ashtanga Yoga: The Ultimate Yoga Weight Loss Practice
There are many types of yoga to choose from, and while they’re all great for getting fit and finding inner peace, there’s no better choice than Ashtanga yoga for strength and weight loss.
Ashtanga yoga means “eight-limbed yoga.” Don’t worry, your four limbs will be plenty! The name refers to the eight areas of life that this practice focuses on.
- Yama – Restraints, moral disciplines or moral vows
- Niyama – Positive Duties or observances
- Asana – Movement
- Pranayama – Breathing
- Pratyahara – Sense Withdrawal
- Dharana – Concentration
- Dhyana – Meditative Absorption
- Samadhi – Bliss or Enlightenment
A combination of all these elements creates a practice that helps you change your lifestyle for the better and for good. When you’re happy, less stressed, and more energetic, keeping fit is easy.
The Power of Ashtanga for Yoga Weight Loss
Practicing Ashtanga yoga won’t have you straining your muscles or pushing your heart rate like you’re used to at the gym. Instead, it uses a series of calculated, quick movements combined with careful breathing to tone your muscles and bring your body into harmony.
A typical Ashtanga routine is made up of a series of asanas, or yoga poses. You begin with a warm-up, and then move into one of six series of poses. The series you do will depend on the level of your group and the decision of your teacher (you should always do Ashtanga for yoga weight loss with a qualified teacher!).
When the series begins, things start to speed up. You’ll move quickly from one pose to another, sometimes holding just long enough to inhale and exhale. The key here is to stretch your muscles and lengthen your breath. Stretching your muscles will keep them lean and toned, while lengthening your breath will empower your lungs and circulation.
Breathing is also the way we teach our bodies to harmonize with our minds. This means that being mindful of your breath also brings mental clarity and increased self-control. This can help just as well in physically straining situations as it does in ones that involve saying no to that second cupcake!
The precision and balance it takes to move quickly while controlling your breath make Ashtanga an amazing yoga practice for weight loss and toning. Ashtanga strengthens your muscles, improves flexibility, and increases the power of your major organs to do their jobs. It might take a few sessions to learn the routines and for your body to become comfortable with the movements, but once you establish a practice, the excess weight will melt away.
Ashtanga Yoga Poses for Weight Loss and Toning
It’s important to find an experienced teacher to guide your Ashtanga yoga practice, but if you want a taste of what to expect, try some of these simple yoga weight loss poses.
Paschimottanasana (Seated Forward Bend)
This classic weight loss yoga pose is great for your hamstrings and lower back. It also cleanses your digestive system and helps your body to use food more efficiently.
Start by sitting on the floor with your legs extended in front of you. Keeping your back straight, lean forward at the hips and try to grab your feet. It’s ok if you can’t lean very far forward, and if you can’t reach your feet you can grab your calves instead. Just go as far as you can comfortably. Take a deep breath to lengthen the spine and lean forward as you exhale. Staying in the posture for a few seconds. Check it out here!
Navasana (Boat Pose)
A go-to posture to start feel the burn and work the core muscles.
Start in the same sitting position as seated forward fold, but bend your knees and place your heels are on the ground. Grab the sides of your legs near the thigh so your body forms a right angle. Next, keeping your back straight, lean back onto your tailbone. Keep your legs at 90 degrees or extend your legs into air so your body makes a “V” shape. The idea is for your body will resemble a boat in the water. Take a look here.
Setu Bandhasana (Bridge Pose)
Strengthen your neck and bring new life into your spine with this simple pose. The bridge pose will help increase flexibility, making it easier to shed unwanted weight.
Start by lying flat on your back with your legs bent at the knee. Keep your arms to your sides with your palms flat on the floor and your shoulders anchored to the mat. Take a few deep breaths and use your feet to push your hips into the air. Your thighs, hips, and chest should be above the ground, turning you into a bridge. Your head, shoulders, and arms should be firmly planted on the floor. Take a few more deep breaths while in this position before lowering yourself back onto the mat. See it in action here.
Halasana (Plow Pose)
This plow pose is amazing for weight loss and detoxing your vital organs.
Start flat on your back with your arms to your sides and your legs together. Keep your legs straight, and slowly lift them up and over your head. Continue to move your legs back like a pendulum and try to touch your toes to the floor behind your head. As you inhale, bring your legs back over your head and finish on your back as you started. See it done here.
Are you ready to start your journey of yoga for weight loss and toning? Join us for one of our luxury yoga retreats and see how fulfilling it can be to achieve a healthy body, mind, and soul!