Yoga is known for its ability to calm the mind and improve flexibility. But did you know that yoga can also help you lose weight? Certain poses in yoga can work those muscles like they have never been worked before. This can cause your heart rate to rise causing your body to burn more fat. The best part is that while you are burning calories, your mind is still in a relaxed state! The following poses are designed to work your core muscles which can lead to more calories burned over each yoga session.
See the poses below and be sure to share this with those friends in your life who could use that extra nudge to start taking up yoga!
Sun Salutations (Surya Namaskar)
The flow of controlled deep breath and movement warms the muscles and prepares the body for practice. Sun Salutations build heat, assist in blood flow, circulation, and helps with digestion.
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Standing Forward Fold (Uttanasana)
Although this posture may seem passive, it is extremely active. Forward bending tones the quadriceps and abdominals as well as stretches the calves and hamstrings. This active and deep fold massages the abdominal organs, calms the mind and nervous system, and helps reduce fatigue.
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Downward Facing Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana)
The misconception is that downward facing dog becomes a resting posture, however the opposite is true. This energizing pose ignites the entire body. To sustain downward facing dog, the muscles must support the joints and bones, thus strengthening the hands, arms, shoulders, chest, abdominals, and thighs.
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Warrior 2 (Virabhadrasana II)
One of the most powerful of yoga asana, warrior 2 strengthens the muscles of the upper back, shoulders and arms. Finding balance in this posture calls on abdominal strength and requires use of the adductor of the hips, quadriceps, calves, and ankles for stability. Abducting the arms in this posture strengthens the supraspinatus muscle of the rotator cuff. This muscle is the most commonly torn of the four rotator cuff muscles. When strengthened, the supraspinatus will have a harder time tearing if misalignment, overuse, or misuse occur.
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Warrior 3 (Virabhadrasana III)
Proper alignment in warrior 3 requires a flat back while reaching arms forward and lengthening the extended leg on the same level as the rest of the body. As strenuous as this action is to maintain, there are tremendous benefits. Warrior 3 strengthens the spinal column and surrounding muscles such as the erector spinae group that runs from the cervical to the lumbar spine. This posture tones the arms, shoulders, upper back, and requires strong legs, ankles and an adequate amount of abdominal strength.
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Half Moon (Ardha Chandrasana)
This posture requires immense abdominal and leg strength in order to support the body for balance. Abducting the arms away from the body strengthens the muscles of the arms, chest, obliques, and lattisimus dorsi located on the middle back. The gluteus medius contracts and adducts the lifted leg while stabilizing the supporting leg. The focus and balance required for the fullest expression of this posture is what makes this an overall body changing posture.
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Plank (Uttihita Chaturanga Dandasana)
The arms, chest, shoulders, abdominals, quadriceps, gluteals, calves, and feet are working to assist in holding the body upright. Maintaining this high plank posture with hips level calls on the abdominal muscles for support. Plank pose tones from head to toe.
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Side Plank (Vasisthasana)
Supporting the weight of the body on one arm doubles the amount of bodyweight and exerts more effort and energy by increasing calorie burn. The arms, oblique muscles, serratus anterior, quadriceps, and ankles work on overdrive, especially the supporting side of the body.
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