I've read dozens of articles about yoga and weight loss. Does it work? How does it work? And why does it work? These questions only begin to scratch the surface of inquiry and wonder. But for the initiated, one knows that when practiced authentically and regularly, yoga works well to control ‘excess weight’ of any form – be it physical, emotional or spiritual.
Extra weight holds us back from our health and potential, and yoga puts us back in touch with our bodies' needs and equips us with the tools we already have: the intuition and awareness to take care of our bodies. And the best part is that everyone can practice. All you need is your mind and your body, and a yoga mat would help too.
If you’re tired of your current exercise routine, try doing these asanas to help you get rid of the ‘extra’ on the lower belly.
1. Cat-Camel Pose
This is one of the most effective yoga exercises to help tone the abdominal muscles, and is also good for the back. It gives your abdominal organs a nice massage, helping to improve health. For best results, make sure you move your body with your breathing while you performing this exercise.
*Start on your fours, your hands directly under your shoulders, and your knees should be directly under your hips.
*Keep your spine straight and your neck in the neutral position.
*Inhale and drop your belly down, lifting your neck to look toward the ceiling.
*Exhale and round the back, dropping your head toward your belly button. Repeat this movement in a slow and controlled motion, allowing yourself to really feel it throughout the entire core. Repeat 10 times.
2. Cobra Position
The cobra pose really strengthens and elongates the stomach. It will help keep your dorsal spine strong and flexible. It also helps in the reduction of belly fat.
*Lie down on your stomach.
*Your forehead is on the ground and your hands underneath your shoulders.
*Raise your upper body up off of the floor using the strength from your back and belly muscles.
*Put your head up, elongating the neck so you are looking at the ceiling.
*Lift your hips about 2-3 inches off the floor and hold this stretch for 3-4 breaths.
3. Boat Position
The boat pose is more for advanced practitioners. This pose is one of the best yoga poses for belly fat!
*Start in a seated position on a soft surface.
*Lift your legs up straight in the air.
*Reach your hands up to grab onto your toes so that your body is in a V-shape.
*If you are a beginner, you can bend the knees.
*Work on getting those legs straight up for a better stretch. You should really feel this exercise in the lower abdominal region.
*Hold for as long as desired.
4. Bow Position
The biggest benefit of this pose is the reduction of belly fat. You’ll also get a good spine exercise
*Lie down on your stomach.
*Bend your knees up, lifting your thighs off the ground
*Safely reach your hands back and grab onto your ankles.
*With your hands, pull slightly on your ankles, pulling your feet toward your chest.
*Pull until your core forms an arch. Your legs and chest should be off the floor. The only thing that should be touching the floor is your stomach. You will really feel this stretch in your stomach, chest, and back.
*Hold this position for the desired number of seconds.
End your routine by lying down and focusing on your breath. In fact, deep breathing could be done throughout the practice as it is very beneficial. When taking deep breaths, you lift your stomach up and down in a continuous motion. This elongation of the stomach has been proven to really help tighten, strengthen, and tone the abdominal muscles.
It is important to remember that though doing yoga for belly fat can help you slim down; you must also focus on eating the right foods. Life can be joyful if you allow yours to be. Yoga will remind you of that.
Delna Anand is a writer and yoga instructor who specializes in yoga nidra and healing yoga