10 Easy Yoga Postures To Get Rid Of Belly Fat

13 June 2016

Excessive fat around the stomach is a common problem in many adults. There are several reasons why excess fat gets deposited in our body particularly around the stomach area. The primary reasons for belly fat are concerned with an individual's lifestyle choices. A poor diet, lack of exercise, sitting all day on a chair, lack of activity and movement can be some of the main reasons. All these and other factors (such as stress, an imbalance in hormones, low metabolism, health issues that prevent movement and exercise and so on) can contribute to excess fat being stored in various parts of the body particularly in the abdominal area.

A healthy and disciplined lifestyle can help avoid this issue and put you in a better physical, emotional and mental space. Here are some basic and effective Yoga postures that will help you get rid of the love handles and excess fat near the stomach area: 

  1. Side Stretch
  2. Chair Pose
  3. Eagle
  4. Extended Side Angle
  5. Plank
  6. Side Plank
  7. Dolphin
  8. Supported Push Ups
  9. Boat
  10. Leg Raises

1. Side Stretch

Sanskrit Name:  Ardh - Chandrasana

Benefits:

  • Helps get rid of excess fat in the lower abdomen (love handles).
  • Stretches the lateral side of the body which is often overlooked.
  • Stretches the front of the body and activates the sacral chakra for creativity.
  • Stretches the whole body and releases tension.
  • Strengthens the spine.
  • Strengthens the abdominal muscles.

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Instructions:

  1. Begin by standing tall in Tadasana.
  2. Take 3 deep breaths to ground yourself and feel connected to your body.
  3. Take a deep inhale, and lift your arms up towards the sky, bringing the palms of your hands together.
  4. Bring the left hand thumb over the right hand.
  5. Tuck your chin in very gently towards the chest to lengthen the back of your neck and avoid straining the cervical spine.
  6. Keeping your core engaged, exhale and bend your torso towards the right.
  7. Stay here for five deep and gentle breaths. Keep your gaze focused at one point to increase the benefits of this posture.
  8. After five breaths, on the next inhale, lift yourself back up into Tadasana.
  9. Keeping the hands above your head in a prayer position, change the thumb lock (bring the right thumb over the left).
  10. Keeping your core engaged, exhale and bend your torso towards the left and repeat the same steps on this side.
  11. Once you have done both sides, come back to the centre, keeping your arms lifted up. Take an inhale breath and on the exhale bring the hands back down by your side.

2. Chair Pose

Sanskrit Name: Utkatasana

Benefits:

  • Removes tension in the abdomen.
  • Strengthens the core muscles.
  • Helps to strengthen the gluteus.
  • Tones the buttocks.
  • Strengthens the quadriceps, muscles around the knees and feet.
  • Creates a strong foundation for the upper body.

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Instructions:

  1. Begin in Tadasana.
  2. Inhale, bring your arms up towards the sky in a prayer position.
  3. Place the right thumb over the left hand and take a deep inhale.
  4. Exhale, sit your bottom down as if you are sitting on an imaginary chair.
  5. Tilt your pelvis in slightly to avoid over arching in the lower back.
  6. Look up towards the hands (thumb lock to be specific) and stay here for five deep breaths. If you are struggling with keeping the hands in a prayer position, you can separate the hands and keep them shoulder width apart.
  7. Keep the abdominals engaged by pulling the naval in towards the spine and keep lowering your hips towards the ground with each exhale.
  8. After five deep breaths, inhale and come back up to Tadasana.
  9. Repeat the above steps with the left thumb over the right hand this time.

3. Eagle

Sanskrit Name: Garudasana

Benefits:

  • Improves concentration.
  • Improves balance.
  • Helps cure sciatica.
  • Strengthens the lower body.
  • Releases toxins and tension from the abdominal area.
  • Helps cure stress and anxiety.
  • Stretches the thighs, hips, lower back, neck and shoulders.

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Instructions:

  1. Begin in Tadasana.
  2. Open your arms to the side and bring right arm under the left forming an interlock. Press the palms firmly into each other.
  3. Lower your hips (like in the Chair Pose, Utkatasana) and lift the right leg up to cross over the left knee and coil around the left leg. If you are able to coil the right leg enough to bring it around and tuck the right toe near the ankle of the left leg, then do so. Otherwise, squeeze the core and keep the right toe pointed towards the floor.
  4. Balance on the left leg and keep the abdominals engaged, squeeze the thighs together and bring the elbows to shoulder level, pushing them away from the body for a deep stretch.
  5. Stay here for five deep breaths.
  6. After five breaths, slowly release the legs and arms and come back to Tadasana.
  7. Repeat the same on the opposite side.

 

4. Extended Side Angle

Sanskrit Name: Utthita Parsvakonasana

Benefits:

  • Tones the ankles, knees and thighs.
  • Reduces fat around the waist and hips.
  • Relieves sciatica and arthritic pain.
  • Corrects defects in calves and thighs.

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Instructions:

  1. Begin by standing in Tadasana.
  2. Inhale, step your right leg back, about 4-5 feet distance apart, extending the arms to the side at shoulder level with palms facing towards the floor.
  3. Exhale, bend the front left leg so that the knee is directly above ankle and thigh parallel to the floor. Keep the back leg straight and engaged and knee caps lifted.
  4. Inhale, place the left palm on the floor on the outside of the left foot and extend the right arm up towards the sky. Keep your eyes focussed on the right thumb.
  5. Keep the lower body (feet, knee caps, hamstrings, gluteus, groins, lower abdomen) engaged and grounded to help support the upper body. Observe the stretch in every part of the body and keep lifting and stretching deeper with each exhale.
  6. Stay in this position for five deep breaths.
  7. Exhale, lift the left palm off the floor, straighten the left leg and extend the arms side ways at shoulder level same as in Step 2.
  8. Repeat the sequence on the opposite side.
  9. Once you have done both sides, on the last exhale, step the feet back into Tadasana.

5. Plank

Sanskrit Name: Uttihita Chaturanga Dandasana

Benefits:

  • Strengthens the core muscles, arms, hands, legs and the whole spine.
  • Tones legs, arms and abdomen.
  • Improves posture.
  • Improves stamina.
  • Helps in improving focus and balance.
  • Prepares the body for more challenging postures.

full-body-yoga-workout-jyoti-yoga_01_plank
Instructions:

  1. Begin in a Table Top. Inhale.
  2. Exhale. Curl the toes, lift the knees off the floor and engage the arms to lift up into a plank position.
  3. Engage your core muscles as much as you can and contract the buttocks.
  4. Keep the legs straight and strong. Your whole body from the crown of the head to the heels should be in one line.
  5. Your body weight should be evenly distributed in all different parts.

6. Side Plank

Sanskrit Name: Vasisthasana

Benefits:

  • Strengthens the core, arms, shoulders, and legs.
  • Improves posture and balance.
  • Increases confidence and will power.
  • Strengthens the lower back.
  • Increases the heart rate and hence improves blood circulation.

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Instructions:

  1. Begin in a Plank. Inhale.
  2. Exhale, pull the core in towards the spine and lift one hand off the floor and gently roll on the side so that you are balancing on the outside edge of one foot with the other foot stacked on top of it.
  3. Swing the hand that you lifted off the floor up towards the sky. Your whole body weight is now balanced on one hand and the respective foot with the core squeezed in.
  4. Using the arm that is stretched out, lift yourself up so that you are not resting on the hand or your feet. Your whole body is engaged including the legs.
  5. Take five deep breaths.
  6. Repeat the same on the other side.

7. Dolphin

Sanskrit Name: Makarasana

Benefits:

  • Strengthens the core, arms, shoulders, and quads.
  • Improves posture and balance.
  • Increases confidence and will power.
  • Stretches the muscles in shoulders and upper arms and removes tightness.
  • Strengthens the lower back.
  • Increases the heart rate and hence improves blood circulation.

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Instructions:

  1. Begin in a Table top position.
  2. Lower the elbows on the ground keeping the forearms parallel to each other.
  3. Curl the toes, engage the core and lift the hips up towards the sky. As you are lifting the hips, press the forearms further into the mat so that you are really working your arms here.
  4. Once you are up, straighten the legs. If doing that rounds your back then keep the knees slightly bent but slowly work on straightening the legs.
  5. Draw the ears away from shoulders and relax the head.
  6. Stay in the pose for at least five deep breaths.
  7. To come out of the pose, lower the knees and rest in child's pose.

8. Supported Push Ups

Sanskrit Name: None

Benefits:

  • Strengthens the core, arms and shoulders.
  • Improves posture and balance.
  • Increases confidence and will power.
  • Tones the upper body.
  • Strengthens the lower back.

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Instructions:

  1. Inhale, begin in a plank position.
  2. Exhale, rest your knees on the floor and gradually bend the elbows keeping them close to the ribs and shoulders stretching away from the ears.
  3. Keeping the whole body strong and engaged, lower down until the upper arm is parallel to the floor.
  4. Inhale, keeping the core strong and engaged, push back up into the starting position.
  5. Exhale, repeat the sequence for about a minute.
  6. If you are an advanced practitioner, you can modify the pose by lifting the knees off the ground and do full push ups.

9. Boats

Sanskrit Name: Navasana

Benefits:

  • Strengthens the core, arms, shoulders, and quads.
  • Improves posture and balance.
  • Increases confidence and will power.
  • Stretches the muscles in shoulders and upper arms and removes tightness.
  • Strengthens the lower back.
  • Increases the heart rate and hence improves blood circulation.

full-body-yoga-workout-jyoti-yoga_posture 8(b) copy 11_posture 8(b) copy 11
Instructions:

  1. Begin in Dandasana. Inhale.
  2. Exhale, lean your upper body back slightly and lift your legs up straight as high as you can without rounding the back.
  3. Now lift the arms parallel to the floor and fingers pointing straight ahead. Squeeze the core and imagine the belly button being pulled in towards the spine. Keep that engagement throughout the pose and keep breathing deeply. If it is impossible to keep the legs straight, you can slightly bend the knees so that the shin is parallel to the floor but always keep the back
    straight and the core engaged.
  4. You should be balancing on your sitting bones throughout this posture while keeping the chest open and core engaged.
  5. Stay in the pose for at least five deep breaths.
  6. To come out of the pose, lower the legs back on the floor.

 

10. Leg Raises

Sanskrit Name: Dwi Pada Uttanapadasan

Benefits:

  • Helps get rid of excess fat in the lower abdomen (love handles).
  • Strengthens the core muscles.
  • Strengthens the glutes, quadriceps muscles around the knee that help straighten the legs.
  • Releases upper body tension.
  • Encourages better limb movement.

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Instructions:

  1. Lie down flat on your back.
  2. Place your hands by your side with palms facing the floor. If you have any lower back problems, then place your hand under the sacrum for additional support.
  3. Inhale, press the hands into the floor and engage your abdominals.
  4. Lift your feet up towards the sky, keeping the abdominals engaged as much as possible.
  5. Keep the shoulders relaxed on the floor. Do not out any strain in the neck or chest area. Use the core to lift the legs up.
  6. Try to keep the legs straight if possible. If this is not available to you, just keep it in mind and work towards keeping your legs straight as you lift them up slowly. But do not compromise your back. The lower back should not hurt in this sequence.
  7. Exhale, slowly with control, bring the legs back down towards the floor but keep them lifted about 5-10 cms off the floor.
  8. Repeat this at least 5-10 times.

 

If you have any medical conditions (such as knee injury, back problems, low blood pressure, hypertension or anything that makes the posture painful), please avoid doing the above postures to their full extent, instead only do what feels good and comfortable. Work with your body and see how far you are able to go without causing pain or injury to the muscles and joints. Use your inner intelligence to guide you and to move you forward in the right direction. As you practice more and more, you will be surprised at how natural it is to learn and work with your own body. Get an expert on board and work with them on areas that you are not so sure about.

The above postures are a lot of fun to practice and will help in toning your body, specially the abdominals. You might twist and fall a few times but that's part of the fun. Every time you fall or come out of a posture, try again until you are able to hold it for at least five breaths. Overtime, it will become easier and more fun.

If this is not challenging enough for you, then check out the 'Simple Yoga Sequence For A Full Body Workout' article and add it to the above sequence to deepen and intensify your practice.

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