Thinking about losing a little weight?
For many of us, losing weight can be equated with vigorous exercise, lifting heavy weights, running long distances or taking part (in some way) in incredibly strenuous activity for long or frequent periods of time. On the other hand, for many weight loss is connected to calorie counting, dietary restriction in some form, or cleansing…
Typically it’s a combination of the above.
For the purpose of this post, let’s focus on the way you choose to move your body on your weight loss journey.
A great alternative? Yoga! While oftentimes the benefits touted with yoga have nothing at all to do with weight loss, yoga can be incredibly effective in helping you to incorporate some physical activity, increase your flexibility, tone your muscles, boost energy levels and burn calories!
Don’t be deterred by images of slow breathing and sometimes slower movement or even stationary poses… many times moving more slowly and intentionally is more challenging than a higher intensity workout. Yoga can get your blood pumping and your heart rate up! Doctors and fitness experts say it can seriously trim and tone your body, with added health benefits for your mind and spirit as well.
If you have ever taken a class with a bit of a faster flow on the Anamaya yoga deck, you also know you can work up quite a sweat no matter how advanced you are. We are all about the detoxing the body through yoga as well as with a whole foods, plant based diet.
Some of our favorite poses for Weight Loss?
Warrior II Pose
We list this pose as one of our favorites because it does so much for the entire body. It strengthens and tones your thighs, back, arms and shoulders. In this pose your back foot is parallel to the back of your mat, and the arch of your back foot is in line with the heel of your front foot. Your front knee is bent (but be sure not to bend the knee past your toes), and your arms are parallel to the floor. As you stay in this pose gaze over your front hand and take 5 – 8 slow deep breaths. After you do one side, switch to the other side for the same amount of breaths.
High Plank Pose
This is an incredible pose and can be practiced every single day as a part of your yoga practice or outside your yoga practice. This pose works your core, shoulders, back and booty! Get into a position like you’re about to start push-ups, but with your hands directly below your shoulders. Engage your core so there’s a nice long line from your shoulders to your heels. Your bum shouldn’t be sagging down or pushed up in the air. Keep your heels over top of your toes and draw your shoulders away from your ears. Look down at the floor a few inches in front of your hands – don’t strain your neck to look at the wall in front of you. Keep breathing and hold it for as long as you can… then challenge yourself the next time to see if you can hold it a little bit longer.
You might groan when you read this, but Chair Pose or Utkatasana is a powerful pose in burning calories and toning your muscles. This pose can correct bad posture and strengthen weak ankles as well. Start by standing with your feet together and your hands by your sides or on your hips. Find the stability in your feet and take a deep breath in. As you exhale bend your knees and sink down into the pose like you’re about to sit down on a chair. Send your booty behind you and keep your knees over your toes. While keeping your back straight, raise your arms with the palms facing each other and your biceps coming up as close to your ears without straining. Don’t forget to breath! Your legs might shake but this is another pose you can challenge yourself to stay in longer the more you do it.