Yoga postures may not be everyone’s favourite exercise to promote weight loss – and that’s a shame. Here’s why. Not only can there be a cardiovascular benefit to practising yoga, but the mindfulness that yogis cultivate can also help curb cravings when bored.
Even yoga can do a lot for your brain. Regarding weight loss, yoga also promotes the discipline you need to develop healthy lifestyle habits.
“Yoga is about lengthening muscles and better integrating them into our bones,” says Olivia Young, founder of Box + Flow, a training studio that combines yoga and boxing. “Yoga uses body weight to work each muscle using strength, heart, balance and stability, making it a great solution for weight loss.”
To bring an element of cardio to the yoga sequence described by Young, think of this series as a circuit where one movement flows into the next. Young recommends doing each exercise for about 30 seconds (each set of six is about three minutes). Then, repeat the sequence of six movements five times.
The Dog Upside Down – Yoga Postures
- Start the sequence with the posture of the dog upside down: hands and soles of the feet firmly anchored on the carpet; imagine a string attached to your tailbone lifting your back into the air.
- Make sure your hips are elevated and receded.
- You must keep your centre contracted (as if pressing your belly button into your spine).
- Your hands should be firmly placed on the floor, and your heels should be pushed as close to the ground as possible.
- “Every muscle has to work,” Young explains. “Take deep breaths — inhale and exhale — to warm up your body.”
Roll your weight forward and place your body in the board position. Your forearms should be firmly resting on the floor, your thighs tightly glued, and your ankles should push to the back of the room. Push your belly towards your spine and ensure your hips are parallel to the floor.
“With this movement, everything should be centred with the midline of your body,” says Young. Remember to take deep breaths. “You’re going to start to feel your body shaking. Lower your board to your forearms — a great exercise to firm your belly — and then hold on!
Take care to keep your elbows under your shoulders. Hold the pose for a few breaths, then return to the high board position: alternate high and low boards.
Grasshopper Yoga Postures
Lie on your stomach, arms on either side of the body and your legs hip-width apart; place your forehead on the mattress. Inhale by raising your head, then stretch your arms towards your feet by lifting your chest off the floor. If you are able, intertwine your fingers behind your back. Now use the muscles of your inner thigh to lift your legs. Keep the chest raised, then release as you exhale.
The Posture of the Triangle
Return to the dog’s posture upside down.
Now slowly bring your feet back to your hands. Take a step back in a side slot: your right leg bent at a 90-degree angle, your left leg stretched back, your left foot at a right angle with your right foot, and your trunk and head face the left side of the carpet.
Inhale and exhale as you stretch your body towards your right thigh. Lower your right arm and place your hand inside your right foot. Place your left arm above your head. Hold the posture for a few breaths, and then press on your feet while you exhale. Raise your left arm, straightening up. Start again on the other side.
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The Posture of the Boat
- Sit on the mat with your knees bent, feet flat.
- With your spine straight, lean slightly backwards from the hips straightening your legs and feet in the air. Keep your chest up while you extend your arms to align with your shoulders.
- Balance on your gluteal bones for 30 seconds, then exhale by lowering your arms and legs.
- Repeating these exercises at home to have a flat stomach without doing a single Abdo.
The Bridge Yoga Postures
- Lie on your back and bend your knees to bring your heels back.
- Then, with your feet flat on your mat, arms on either side and palms flat to the floor, push your feet and palms to the floor as you lift the middle of your body to the ceiling.
- Hold the posture.
- Yoga can also help you sleep well.
- Do these stretches to get to sleep.
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