Health

4 Yoga Poses To Help You Slim Down & Tone Your Body

Yoga is quite an amazing practice for people who feel like they spend most of their day checking screens and rushing from one meeting to the next.

Yoga forces you to be present and observe your body and your movement. If you’re like me, you might hate “pushing through” difficult workouts.

Well, that’s another reason yoga is great: you don’t actually feel like you’re working out. But you definitely are.

Studies show that yoga lowers your levels of stress hormones and increases insulin sensitivity, which is a signal to your body to burn food as fuel instead of storing it as fat, according to Prevention. Whether you’d just like to incorporate some yoga poses into your regular work-out routine or start a regular practice, here are four of the best yoga poses for weight loss.

1. Crescent Lunge

What It Tones: Abs, hips and thighs

crescent lunge photo
Photo by soularaeyoga

How You Do It: 

  • Stand up with your feet about hip-width distance apart and your arms at your sides. As you breath in, sweep your arms outward and above your head.
  • Exhale and bend forward at the waist, touching the floor with both hands. Bend your knees if this is difficult.
  • Inhale and place both hands flat on the floor. As you exhale, step your left foot back into a lunge, with your left knee bent at a 90-degree angle and your left leg straight and pushing backward out of your left heel.
  • Inhale and raise your arms overhead, lifting your ribs and pulling your stomach into your belly button. Gaze forward and hold, then return to standing by stepping your left foot back to meet your right. Repeat on the left side.

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2. Boat Pose

What It Tones: Abs and back

boatpose
Youtube | sadienardini

How You Do It: 

  • Sit with your knees bent in front of you and place your hands behind your thighs. Keeping your torso straight and your head and neck in line with your upper body, lean back at a 45-degree angle. If this is difficult, you can stay here.
  • Otherwise, raise your feet so that your calves are parallel to the floor and point your toes. If this is difficult, you can stay here, holding your legs.
  • If you’d like something more challenging, inhale and extend your arms out to your sides—palms facing up and arms parallel to the floor—and your legs into the air, making a V-shape with your body.
  • Exhale, then, as you inhale, lower your torso and your legs about three inches (or whatever is difficult for you).
  • As you exhale, raise your legs and torso back up to the V position. If you’re having trouble balancing, you can place your hands back behind your thighs. Repeat this four or five times

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3. High Plank To Low Plank

What It Tones: Shoulders, arms, abs, back and upper thighs

Plank-Pose

How You Do It: 

  • Begin in a push-up position, with your arms and legs straight and supporting your body. Make sure you keep your leg muscles engaged and push out from your heels.
  • Position your hands directly under your shoulders if they don’t go there naturally. Hold this position and breathe normally. If this is too difficult, you can lower your knees, but make sure your body is straight and your abs are not sagging toward the ground if you drop your knees.
  • From high plank (on your knees or with legs extended fully), inhale, then exhale and lower your chest toward the floor, but keep your elbows bent at a 90-degree angle, squeezing them against your sides and hovering above the ground.
  • Try to keep your your upper body and lower body in one line, either from head to knees or head to toes, using your abs to support the form. Lower all the way to the floor, and repeat three to five times.

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4. Bridge Pose

What It Tones: Abs and thighs

bridge pose yoga photo
Photo by adrian valenzuela

How To Do It: 

  • Lie on your back with your arms by your sides, palms facing down.
  • Then, tent your knees and separate them hips-width distance apart. You should try to get your heels close enough to your butt that you could reach and touch them with your fingertips.
  • The best way to use the right muscles in this pose is to engage your lower belly muscles a lot—the ones below your belly button.
  • When you squeeze them in as if you’re trying to get that part of your stomach to touch your spine (I know, weird image), then you should feel your lower back flatten out on the ground.
  • Ideally, you want to squeeze these muscles to much that your lower back raises off the floor.
  • Once that happens, push with your thighs to guide your hips up, while continuously pushing down into your feet and keeping your knees pointing forward.
  • Hold for a few breaths, then lower yourself down. Repeat five to 10 times.

Watch This Tutorial: