Yoga Asanas to Reduce Belly Fat
Fat accumulated in certain areas of the body can be tough cookies, and if you’re looking to get slimmer around your abdomen, the only thing to do is to exercise regularly without stressing over it. And what fits the bill perfectly? Yoga to reduce belly fat!
Practising yoga regularly can offer several health benefits for not just the body, but for the mind and soul too. Apart from increasing flexibility and improving muscle strength and tone, certain yoga asanas can help burn fat effectively.
Cobra Pose or Bhujangasana
Apart from helping reduce belly fat, the cobra pose also cures digestive ailments like constipation. This asana is particularly great for individuals suffering from back pain and respiratory disorders.
To perform this asana, lie flat on your stomach with forehead on the ground and palms underneath the shoulders. Using the back and belly muscles, lift your body off the floor slowly while inhaling. Straighten your arms keeping shoulder blades pressed against your back. Stretch your neck while looking at the ceiling. Lift your hips off the floor by a couple of inches. Hold this position for 15-30 seconds; exhale and return to starting position.
Tip: Practice the cobra pose yoga to reduce belly fat if you have respiratory disorders and back pain.
Boat Pose or Navasana
The navasana is a popular exercise that strengthens abdominal muscles and helps develop six-pack abs. It is a hard exercise though, so if you’re a beginner, start with simple ones and pick this up later.
To practise, start with sitting on the floor. Keep legs straight in front of you with knees bent. Lean back a bit as you gradually lift your legs up in the air. Stretch your arms in front of you at shoulder height. Engage your abdominal muscles and feel your spine stretch. Hold this pose for as long as you can. Return to starting position, and rest for some seconds before repeating.
Tip: Progress to this yoga to reduce belly fat once you perfect the easier exercises.
Knees To Chest Pose or Apanasana
The apanasana yoga pose offers relief from menstrual cramps and bloating as well as help in melting fat around the stomach and lower back. This exercise also creates a downward energy flow, stimulating digestion and encouraging healthy bowel movement.
To begin, lie down on your back and inhale deeply. Pull your knees up to your chest while exhaling. Keep shoulder blades down towards the waist. Keep your face aligned with the centre of your body and tuck chin downwards. Hold this pose for 10-15 seconds or till breathing becomes comfortable. Move knees side to side slowly and maximise stretch as much as you can. Return to starting position as you exhale. Relax for a minute and repeat, performing the asana for a minimum of six times.
Tip: Practice apanasana yoga to reduce belly fat and to relieve menstrual cramps and bloating.
Chair Pose or Utkatasana
This is a standing yoga posture that helps stimulate the circulatory and metabolic systems, thereby aiding fat loss. The chair pose helps tone the entire body, particularly working the hips, thighs, and buttocks.
Stand with your feet slightly apart. Inhale and raise arms straight overhead with palms facing in and with triceps next to ears. Exhale and bend the knees while pushing the butt back; slowly lower yourself towards the floor as you would when sitting in a chair. Let the torso lean naturally forward over the thighs. Keep shoulders down and back. Continue inhaling and exhaling deeply. Hold the position for five breaths and return to starting position.
To make this harder, hold the position and lower arms to chest level as you lower your legs instead of keeping them straight overhead. Bring hands together as if joined in prayer, and twist the upper body towards the right, bringing the left elbow to rest on the right thigh. Keeping the abs tight, continue inhaling and exhaling deeply. Hold the position for five breaths; inhale and return to start by straightening knees. Repeat while switching sides.
Tip: Progress to the harder chair pose gradually to work your obliques, shoulders, and upper back muscles.
Warrior Pose or Virabhadrasana
Avoid practising this yoga if you have any spinal ailments, heart conditions or high blood pressure, or knee pain as it is an arduous exercise.
Traditionally there are 3 variations of Virabhadrasana. For the first, start with standing straight with feet four to five feet apart. Raise arms above your head and join palms. As you exhale, turn right foot 90 degree outwards; turn left foot 45-60 degree inwards, to the right. Keep the right heel aligned with the left wheel arch. Next, rotate torso to the right while keeping arms straight. As you exhale, bend your right knee bringing the thigh parallel and shin perpendicular to the floor. Keep left leg stretched out and the knee tightened throughout. Bend face back to look at the joined palms. Hold the position for about 10-30 seconds, taking long, deep breaths. Return to starting position and repeat steps on the other side.
Tip: Avoid holding the pose for too long or you could end up straining or injuring muscles.
Plank Pose or Kumbhakasana
This is the most simple yet effective yoga to reduce belly fat as it focuses on the core. It strengthens and tones the abs, along with the arms, back, shoulders, thighs, and buttocks.
To start, lie flat on your tummy with palms next to your face and feet bent such that the toes are pushing the ground. Raise the body by pushing hands off the ground. Legs should be straight and wrists directly under shoulders. Breathe evenly; spread fingers and press down your forearms and hands, keeping chest from collapsing. Keep the gaze fixed between your hands. Stretch the back of your neck and draw abdominal muscles towards the spine. Tuck in the toes and step back with your feet, aligning the body and head. Remember to keep thighs lifted. Hold this position as you take five deep breaths.
Tip: If you are practising this asana for building strength and stamina, hold the pose for up to five minutes.
Downward Dog Pose or Adho Mukha Svanasana
Holding this pose actively engages your core, making it a great yoga to reduce belly fat, and strengthen and tone the abdominals.
Get on your hands and knees, setting knees directly below hips and hands slightly ahead of shoulders. Spread palms and index fingers, and keep toes turned under. As you exhale, keep knees slightly bent and lift them up from the floor. Lengthen the tailbone and lightly press it towards the pubis. Push thighs back and stretch heels towards the floor. Straighten knees but do not lock them. Firm the outer thighs and outer arms, and press palms actively into the floor. Keep shoulder blades firm and draw them toward the tailbone. Keep your head between the upper arms. Hold this pose for one to three minutes; exhale and bend knees to the floor and come to rest in Child’s pose.
Tip: This is a great exercise to energise the body.
FAQs: Yoga to Reduce Belly Fat
Q. How many times should I perform yoga exercises?
A. Practising yoga even for an hour a week will reward you with benefits. If you can devote more time to yoga, you will definitely reap more rewards. If you’re a beginner, start with a couple of times a week, practising for about 20 minutes to an hour each time. Progress to an hour and a half each time as you advance.
Q. What are the types of yoga?
A. Vinyasa Yoga, Ashtanga Yoga, Iyengar Yoga, Bikram Yoga, Jivamukti Yoga, Power Yoga, Sivananda Yoga, and Yin Yoga are the different types of yoga. Pick a style that you’re comfortable with and that offers the most benefit to your mind, body, and soul.