6 yoga postures to lose weight and get fitter

Yoga may not be everyone’s favorite exercise to promote weight loss – and that’s a shame. Here’s why.

1/ Yoga for weight loss:

Not only can there be a cardiovascular benefit to practicing yoga, but the mindfulness yogis cultivate can also help curb cravings when you get bored. Even that yoga can do a lot for your brain. When it comes to weight loss, yoga also promotes the discipline you need to develop healthy habits.

“Yoga is about lengthening muscles and integrating them better with our bones,” says Olivia Young, founder of Box + Flow, a training studio that combines yoga and boxing. “Yoga uses body weight to work every muscle using strength, core, balance and stability, making it a great solution for weight loss.”

To bring a cardio element to the yoga routine Young describes, think of this series as a circuit where one movement flows into the next. Young recommends doing each move for about 30 seconds (so each set of six is about three minutes). Repeat the six-movement sequence five times.

2/ Downward Facing Dog

Start the routine with the head-down dog pose: with your hands and soles firmly planted on the mat, imagine a string attached to your tailbone lifting your back into the air. Make sure your hips are elevated and back. It is very important that you keep your core contracted (as if you are pressing your belly button into your spine).

Your hands should be firmly on the floor and your heels should be pushed as close to the ground as possible. “Every muscle should be working,” Young explains. “Take deep breaths – inhale and exhale – to warm up your body.”

3/ The plank

Roll your weight forward and place your body in the plank position. Your forearms should be firmly on the floor, your thighs together, and your ankles should be pushing toward the back of the room. Push your stomach toward your spine and make sure your hips are parallel to the floor.

“With this movement, everything should be centered with your body’s midline,” Young explains. Remember to take deep breaths. “You’ll start to feel your body shake. Lower your plank to your forearms – a great exercise for toning the belly – and then hold!” Take care to keep your elbows under your shoulders. Hold the pose for a few breaths, then return to the high plank position. Alternate high and low plank.

4/ Grasshopper Pose

Lie on your stomach with your arms on either side of your body and your legs hip-width apart; rest your forehead on the mat. Inhale as you lift your head, then stretch your arms toward your feet as you lift your chest off the floor. If you are able, interlace your fingers behind your back. Now use your inner thigh muscles to lift your legs. Keep your chest lifted, then release as you exhale.

5/ The triangle pose

Return to the head-down dog pose. Now slowly bring your feet toward your hands. Take a step back into side lunge: your right leg bent at a 90-degree angle, your left leg stretched back, your left foot at a right angle to your right foot; your trunk and head face the left side of the mat. Breathe in and out as you stretch your body toward your right thigh.

Lower your right arm and place your hand on the inside of your right foot. Place your left arm over your head. Hold the pose for a few breaths and then press down on your feet, as you exhale, raise your left arm back up. Repeat on the other side.

6/ The boat pose

Sit on the mat with your knees bent, feet flat. With your spine straight, lean back slightly from your hips as you straighten your legs, feet in the air. Keep your chest up as you extend your arms forward so they are in line with your shoulders. Balance on your gluteal bones for 30 seconds, then exhale as you lower your arms and legs.

7/ The Bridge

Lie on your back and bend your knees to bring your heels back. With your feet flat on your mat, arms on either side and palms flat toward the floor, push your feet and palms toward the floor as you lift your midsection toward the ceiling. Hold the pose.