As the popularity of yoga increases, so does the number of reasons people are turning to the practice. For some its the calming benefits. For others its the relief from aches and pains. For still others, its the lure of burning fat and toning muscles.
The good news is that yoga can help you accomplish all of these goals at the same time!
Starting in Mountain Pose, tune in to where your weight is on your feet. You should be able to lift your toes. Bend your knees as if youre sitting in a chair and lift your arms overhead with your palms facing each other. Throughout this pose, make sure your weight is evenly balanced on your feet not too far forward and not too far back. Tuck your tailbone under and lengthen your spine in both directions. With your shoulders moving away from your ears, draw your arms back and your fingertips up while gazing a few feet in front of you.
Hold this position for 30 seconds to a minute. Focus on your breath as you burn fat and strengthen your legs, back and arms.
2. Plank Pose To Burn Fat
Starting either on your hands and knees or stepping back from a forward fold, make sure your hands are directly below your shoulders and your legs straight back to balance on your toes as if youre doing a push up. Small adjustments will make this pose even stronger. Draw the crown of your head forward and your heels back. Feel all 10 finger pads claw the mat. Energetically pull your arms toward each other. Keep strength in your upper back as your shoulder blades move down and together. Tuck you tailbone under, keep your leg muscles engaged.
Hold this for at least 30 seconds and work up to 1 minute or even more. Plank will do wonders for your back, abs, arms and even legs.
Modifications include bringing each knee to your elbow, lifting your hips and drawing each knee to your nose, and lifting each foot while reaching the opposite arm forward.
3. Three-legged Down Dog
From plank pose, lift your hips to flow into Downward Facing Dog. With your weight on your hands and one foot, lift the other foot high into the sky as you press the standing heel toward the ground. Keep the muscles of the lifted leg engaged and your foot flexed with your toes pointing down. Press your foot back energetically as if you were pressing it into a wall. Your gaze should be down or at your navel.
The fat-burning benefits to the lower body are obvious, but by pressing the earth away with your hands, you can engage the muscles of your arms and shoulders too.
Hold this pose for 5 breaths then switch feet or move into Warrior Pose.
4. Warrior II
Like plank, its the little things that increase the fat-burning power of Warrior II. Tune in to your bent leg. Your thigh should be parallel to the floor with your hips turned to the side of the mat and your tailbone tucked under. Keep your straight leg engaged, grounding the outside of your foot to the earth.
Your shoulders and head should be directly over your hips, not angled forward, and your arms in a straight line, held strong. Draw your shoulder blades down your back.
Focus on the breath and try to hold the posture for 1 minute, building from there. Switch sides and repeat.
Whether you love ab exercises or hate them, they burn fat and help you get into more advanced postures and balances.
Boat pose, or Navasana, is done balancing on your sit bones making a V shape by lifting your torso and legs to 45 degrees with your arms reaching forward.
As if that werent enough, to increase the fat burning in this pose, keep your thighs engaged and rotated, your neck and head elongated.
Hold for 30 seconds, focusing on your breath. Relax and then repeat.
To work your obliques, add a little twist to your Navasana.
These are just many of the yoga poses that are good for fat burning, but any flow practice will help open and strengthen muscles, build internal heat, and help your body physically.
Recommended Yoga DVD
The Biggest Loser: The Workout Weight Loss Yoga