Yoga is an ancient practice from India. It’s often practiced in a very relaxed state, and that can lead to some interesting side effects. You will be surprised at how good yoga can feel. Yoga is an ancient system of exercises that are as good for you as they are for your soul. It’s not about stretching and breathing. It’s about getting into a state that allows you to let go of stress, anxiety, and all the other things that keep us from loving life.
Yoga has a lot in common with other kinds of exercise. It helps to build your strength, flexibility, balance and coordination. But you can also use it to lose weight and burn fat. Here are ten killer yoga workouts that will melt fat and boost your energy.
A plank is a core exercise that involves holding your body in an asymmetric position, while increasing the strength of your muscles. Planks start with your hands and toes on the floor, and your body in a straight line. As you go through the different variations, push through the floor by extending your legs and hips; the only way to make the exercise harder is to increase the angle of your body.
There are many different versions of the plank, but a good starting point is to lie on your belly with your arms extended straight and your legs together. Now hold that position for as long as you can, without raising your hips or arching your back; if you feel yourself about to lose balance, stop.
Try it in bed, or on the floor of your bathroom; it’s useful anywhere you want to stay still but don’t have room for a yoga mat.
The basic plank will tone your arms, abs and butt, but you can work up to more advanced versions that involve dropping down into a push-up position or raising your feet off the floor.
2. Four-Limbed Staff Pose or Chaturanga Dandasana:-
The Four-Limbed Staff Pose or Chaturanga Dandasana is a whole workout routine. You can do it as a warmup before other yoga poses, or you can use it as the foundation of a longer, more intense session.
Chaturanga Dandasana is a good stretch for your hamstrings and back muscles and slows down your heart rate. If you do Uttanasana first at the beginning of your yoga session, you’ll get all these benefits without any risk of overstretching your back muscles or straining your hamstrings. So you can move on to more advanced work and still be in top shape at the end of your session.
3. Forward Bend
Forward bends or Uttanasana is one of the most powerful poses in yoga. The core of a forward bend is the same as a backbend. This is more challenging because it stretches your arms and chest.
To do: Sit on the floor with your legs extended straight in front of you. Bend your knees and lower your torso until your thighs are parallel to the floor. Then lean forward, bringing your forehead down to touch the ground. Hold this position for as long as possible.
To make it harder, try lifting one foot an inch off the ground and then lifting the other two.
These stretches will target your abdominal muscles and your buttocks, stretch the hamstrings and make your hips open. It’s a great pose that helps you stay limber and open, while also opening your heart.
4. Cobra Pose
Lie down on the floor with your legs extended and your hands behind your head; pull your shoulder blades together until they touch your spine. Push into the floor and arch your back, lifting the crown of your head toward the sky. As you come up, keep lifting into the top of your head, which should feel like it’s going to float off toward heaven. Hold for five breaths, then lower yourself back down to starting position. Repeat five times.
5. Mountain Pose
Get into a push-up position with your arms straight out in front of you and fingers touching. Pressing through your palms and arms, raise one leg as high as you can without bending the knee or changing the angle of your foot from parallel to the floor (a good way to see whether you’re pushing from the hips is by looking at whether you can feel a stretch in opposite sides of your ribs). Hold for five breaths, then lower yourself back to Earth by bending both knees and lowering both legs behind you so that they’re at right angles to each other and your feet are flat on the floor.
6. Supine Bridge
This is a great workout for arms, shoulders, and the core. Lie on your back with your legs straight out. Bend your right knee and bring it toward your chest. Gently touch the knee to your chest with the other hand. Lift your chest and hips, and hold for 30 seconds. Lower to starting position and repeat on the other side.
7. Down Dog
The down dog is one of the most popular poses in yoga—so much so that it has inspired fake names like “Sitting Dog” and “Cat Pose.”
The pose is essentially an adductor exercise. The lower limbs are bent at the knee, the hands placed on the floor, and the torso positioned in front of them. It’s meant to open up your hips and hollow out your belly. If you’ve tried it before, chances are you found it uncomfortable or boring or painful or all three. These aren’t reasons to avoid it; they’re reasons to try again.
If you do, this time try a different approach. Stop worrying about how much weight your body can handle and focus instead on how much better your body feels when you’re not fighting gravity. Do this exercise with a friend who can help keep you balanced if you fall; then try lowering yourself backward as far as possible while keeping your legs straight, hands on the floor behind your back. Try not to let your thigh muscles tighten up; instead, concentrate on relaxing them.
8. Wheel Pose or Chakrasana
The wheel pose is actually a bit of a stretch. It’s supposed to be half wheel and half downward dog, but that’s harder than it looks. I’d recommend holding the pose for up to five breaths, then transitioning from your hands and feet to your elbows and knees, which will give you a slightly longer stretch.
9. Tabletop Arm-Leg Lift
With a little practice, you can use yoga to strengthen your arms and legs. It’s called the Tabletop Arm-Leg Lift.
To do it, stand with your back against a wall, with your feet about three feet apart. Bend your arms so that your forearm is at right angles to the floor, then lift your right leg off the floor and rest it on top of your left thigh. Keep both legs straight. Then bring your left arm across your chest so that it touches the back of your right hand. Then bring the right arm down in front of you; it should be at right angles to the floor. Now lift both legs up and hold them with straight legs for a count of five. Then lower them back to the starting position and repeat the sequence six more times.
10. Warrior I
Warrior I is part of what we call Warrior III, because all 15 poses are linked, in sequence, to work your body from head to toe. We’ve included this one in our list not only because it’s one of the hardest poses to get right but also because it works every area of your body, from neck muscles to hips, from hands to feet.
Warrior I resembles a lunge (it’s actually closer to an open front kick). You begin in a standing position on your right leg–left leg forward–with your right hand on the floor and left hand raised toward the ceiling. You stretch your arms out straight ahead, balancing on your right foot. With your chest open, you lean forward into a dog while keeping your back straight and your shoulders perpendicular to the floor.
Your hip sockets should be aligned with those of your right foot and both hands at the same level–that is, not bent backward or forward at the hips or rounded at the back. Hold this pose for 10 inhales and exhales.