What are the best yoga exercises for weight loss for beginners? If you are like me, you are looking for an easy way to shed excess body fat. Plus, it should work and bring long lasting results. Doing yoga exercises regularly helps you acheive that.
Yoga suits beginners perfectly and leads to a healthy life. Practicing yoga will get you a healthy body by strengthening your muscles, sweating, burning calories, increasing your blood flow, heart rate and metabolism.
It is an effective alternative to jogging, swimming or cycling. It not only reduces weight and helps stay in shape, but also provides many other benefits, such as improved flexibility, stamina, mental focus, concentration and stress reduction.
Yoga exercises for weight loss are a healthy way to heal your body, mind and soul. It will benefit you by maintaining overall health, but also in other areas of your life by making you a happier and more confident person.
Furthermore, yoga helps you make the necessary lifestyle changes to get a heathly body. You become more aware of your real body needs and find the strength to choose the best way to reach your goals.
Yoga exercises for weight loss for the hips and the thighs.
Warrior I or Virabhadrasana I
Benefits: The Warrior pose is a great posture to build strength in the lower limbs. It also has the ability to promote weight loss. You will sweat a lot by holding this position as much as you can.
This pose is a great way to burn calories. Plus, it is the foundation for more advanced standing poses. It is one of the best yoga exercises for weight loss to learn when just starting out.
Futhermore, holding your hands up benefits people with back pain. You will improve your overall balance, strength and stamina by practicing the warrior pose.
How to: Stand straight with your legs wide apart. Bring your arms up overhead. Touch your hands together. Make sure your knee stays above your ankle. Extend your back leg as much as possible. Repeat on the other side.
Warrior II or Virabhadrasana II
Benefits: The Warrior II is another variation of Virabhadrasana. It strengthens your hips and thighs. You will also build upper body strength by practicing this posture. It is very energizing and beginner friendly.
I recommend that you practice all variations of the warrior pose together for maximum benefit. Furthermore, it works the abdominals and the leg muscles deeply. Strong dense muscles are very good if you are looking to lose weight.
More muscle fiber means more calories consumed, even when you are not working out. And practicing often builds a healthy body together with focus, and concentration.
How to: Stand straight with your legs away from one another. Move your arms up parallel to the floor. Keep your hands facing down. Hold as long as possible for fat burning effect. Repeat with the other leg.
Mountain Pose or Tadasana
Benefits: Tadasana is the starting line of all yogis. Your yoga journey begins here with the mountain pose. It has many variations with multiple benefits. It strengthens your legs, feet and abdomen.
I recommend that you start every yoga practice standing up in Tadasana. It is a great way to focus on your training and get rid of worrying thoughts. This exercise helps with concentration and is a great warm up routine.
Practice it with your feet close together and hands to the sides. Your body weight should be distributed evenly between both legs. Make sure to contract your hips and thighs muscles as you stand straight.
How to: Stand with your feet together. Straighten your spine. Lift your thighs and buttocks. Breathe deeply. Open up your chest. Keep your arms to the sides. Clear your mind.
Tree Pose or Vrikshasana
Benefits: I recommend that you learn the tree pose as soon as possible. It is a basic posture that has plenty of benefits for your body and mind health. This posture improves focus and balance, but also boosts your energy levels.
You should incorporate this exercise in your yoga routine. It relieves from stress and anxiety by clearing your mind. It doesn’t elevate your heart rate much. But it is a great warm up for more difficult poses.
You will get very toned leg muscles when doing the tree pose. Plus it strengthens the ankles, the abdominals and viscerals muscles. It is a good stretch for the hips too. Focus your gaze on a single point to find equilibrium.
How to: Get in the Tadasana pose. Shift your body weight onto one leg. Bend your knee. Place your foot on the inner thigh. Open your hips as wide as you can. Lift your arms overhead. Join your hands together. Repeat with the other foot.
Pigeon pose or Kapotasana
Benefits: The pigeon pose is great to open the hips. It requires flexibility but beginners can easily transition into it from its many variations. Kapotasana helps strengthen the back and open the chest.
Plus, it keeps the hip and thigh muscles healthy and growing. The overall circulation is improved in the lower limbs, which facilitates purification and regeneration. This is very beneficial to lose weight around the waist region.
The best yoga exercises for weight loss include hip opening postures. And the pigeon pose is one of the most effective for beginners. Furthermore, the upper body is help upright to stretch the thorax and the groin.
How to: Sit down. Extend one leg in front of you. Bend the knee as much as you need. Push with your hands away from the floor. Slide the other leg way back behind you. Shift sides.
King Pigeon pose or Rajakapotasana
Benefits: The king pigeon pose is a more advanced variation the classic pigeon pose. It demands more flexibility from the thighs and hips. I recommend that you pratice Kapotasana for a few weeks regularly before attempting this posture.
The king pigeon pose benefits are quite the same as the previous pose. This exercise opens the chest, hips and groin. Plus, it strengthens the back and the torso.
How to: From the pigeon pose, lift your chest into a backbend. Bend the back leg. Look back and keep the chin up vertical. Reach back with your hands. Grab your foot. Repeat on the other side.
Accomplished pose or Siddhasana
Benefits: The Accomplished pose is a gentle meditative position. It influences the groin, thighs, and hips positively. It is also used for breathing exercises. Beginners can practice this posture easily with little preparation.
Siddhasana has health benefits for circulation, and inner peace. Keeping the back straight makes strengthening the spine possible with this asana. Plus, it teaches focus, concentration and discipline.
This seated position is very rewarding and promotes weight loss. You learn control, self-realization and moderation which will influence your diet.
How to: Sit down and stretch out your legs. Bend the knees and place one ankle on top of the other. Straighten your spine. Let the knees touch the floor. Rest your hands on your knees.
Bound Angle Pose or Baddha Konasana
Benefits: This pose is a great hip opening yoga exercise. It also strengthens your groin and thighs. Plus it increases flexibility in the knees and inner thighs.
I recommend that you keep practicing and master the bound angle pose before moving on to more difficult meditative poses. Furthermore, it opens the lower back, straightens the spine and stimulates the abdominals.
Practice this asana regularly for positive effects on reproduction and blood pressure. Be careful and slow while doing this asana to avoid injury of the lower limbs.
How to: Sit down on the mat. Stretch the legs outwards. Bend the knees and meet the soles of the feet together. Straighten your back. Pull your heels to the perineum with your hands.
Yoga exercises for weight loss for the calves and hamstrings.
Standing Forward Bend or Uttanasana
Benefits: Uttanasana is a great stretching yoga exercise. It provides a complete stretch of the calves and hamstrings. This pose is an inversion. Practice it to increase the blood flow to the upper body and the brain.
It might be difficult to do for beginners at first. If you don’t have the necessary flexibility yet, don’t place your hands on the floor. Keep your back straight and reach as low as you can instead.
It is a great asana for overall blood ciculation. It will sharpen your cognitive functions, freshen up your face and regulate your hormonal system. Make sure to include in your list of yoga exercises for weight loss.
How to: From Tadasana, reach down with your hands. Keep your back straight. Place your hands as low as possible on your legs or on the floor near your feet. Hold the position for maximum benefits.
Steated Forward Bend or Paschimottanasana
Benefits: This is a safer forward bend than the previous pose. But it is more difficult to do as it requires more flexibility. It is a powerful asana with many benefits.
Please avoid this pose if you are pregnant, if you have asthma or if you suffer from sciatica. Proceed with caution if you have difficulty bending your back.
You will get a deep stretch of the back and leg muscles by practicing this pose. It improves circulation and flexibility of the hips and thighs. Release and let go of any tension while doing this posture.
How to: Sit down and extend your legs. Keep your feet together. Bend forward. Keep the legs and back straight. Touch your forehead to the knees. Reach as far as you can with your hands.
Triangle Pose or Trikonasana
Benefits: The triangle pose improves flexibility of the legs and spine. It cures back pain, neck, shoulders and knees stiffness. This pose is great to tone the legs, ankles, back and abdominals.
There are many variations of the yoga triangle pose. Begin with the one you feel the most comfortable doing and progress at your own rythm.
How to: Stand with your legs wide apart. Keep your legs straight and knees unbent. Spread out your arms to the sides. Reach your right foot with your right hand. Keep your thorax extended.
Plow pose or Halasana
Benefits: The plow pose is an inverted pose that works the cervical spine. Make sure to perform this asana correctly to avoid putting too much stress on the spine.
When done with care, this posture stretches the hamstrings, thighs and calves deeply. Plus, it stimulates the abdominals and digestive system. It is one of the recommended yoga exercises for weight loss.
How to: Lie on the mat. Lift the legs. Support your hips and back with your hands. Place the legs behind the head. Keep the back perpendicular to the floor.
Extended Side Angle Pose or Utthita Parsvakonasana
Benefits: This pose is great to strengthen the legs muscles, knees and ankles. It is also used to stretch the hips and groin. The twisting of the spine will stimulate your spinal nerves.
Furthermore, Utthita Parsvakonasana releases stress and tension in the abdominals. Plus, it improves balance greatly, while opening the chest and shoulders.
How to: Stand with feet apart. Bend one knee over the ankle. Keep the back straight and rotate the torso. Extend one arm straight up. Reach the floor with the other arm. Repeat on the other side.
Yoga exercises for weight loss for the core, abdominals and lower back
Chair Pose or Utkatasana
Benefits: The chair pose will build you strong thigh and lower back muscles. This is a powerful posture to increase strength in the lower limbs. Plus, it will grow your focus, concentration and confidence.
Hold the position as long as you can to make it worth. Its other benefits include better balance, stamina and stability. Utkatasana reinforces the back region and liberates from spinal pain.
Furthermore, it is known to strengthen the lower body while stretching the upper back. The chair pose also improves overall health and energy of the body.
How to: Begin in Mountain pose. Keep the feet close together. Bend the knees and squat down. Keep the hips above knee level. Lengthen the spine. Bring your arms up. Hold.
Revolved Chair Pose or Parivrtta Utkatasana
Benefits: This is one of the most awesome yoga exercises for weight loss. It boosts your heart rate, metabolism and reduces body fat. Plus, it builds strength and length in the whole body.
The twisting of the back stimulates the spines and visceral muscles. It improves blood flow, digestion, heart and diaphragm function. Furthermore, stability and balance will increase.
It is quite a challenging position. So I advise you to train in the chair pose before. You will need strong hips, thighs and buttocks to accomplish this pose.
How to: Start in the chair pose. Join your hands together on your chest. Twist your torso. Bring your right elbow to the outside of your right thigh. Look towards the sky. Repeat on the other side.
Warrior III or Virabhadrasana III
Benefits: This variation of the warrior pose tones the leg and lower back muscles. It improves stamina, agility, balance and builds the abdominals at the same time.
Practice the other poses before attempting this one. You will need strong thighs, abdominal and spinal muscles to perform this asana.
How to: Begin with Tadasana. Raise the arms up. Spread the legs. Lift your back leg up and bend forward. Keep your arms near your ears. Join your hands. Keep arms and back leg parallel to the mat. Switch sides.
Boat pose or Navasana
Benefits: The boat pose makes strong abdominals, leg and lower back muscles a reality. It improves digestion and organ function in the abdomen. It is a great way to increase core strength and burn calories.
Plus, this posture promotes healthy regulation of the glands thyroid and prostate. It also boosts metabolic function. Furthermore, your mind will focus, avoiding anxiety and stress.
How to: Begin seated. Extend the legs forward. Keep the feet joined together. Keep your back straight. Lengthen the spine. Lift your legs and chest. Raise your arms. Do not round the spine. Keep your legs straight.
Lord Shiva pose or Natarajasana
Benefits: Lord of the Dance, God Shiva, King Dancer pose or Natarajasana is an intense balance posture. It is a full body asana that improves overall strength.
Many muscles and articulations engage throughout the whole body to maintain this pose. It develops the hips, abdominals, chest, legs, thighs, calves, spine, and shoulders.
Natarajasana demands high levels of stamina, concentration, stability and focus. Plus, it stretches the thorax, back and legs.
How to: Stand in Tadasana. Raise one knee and one foot. Keep the back straight. Grab the foot with one hand and lift it up and back. Extend the leg and the arm. Repeat with the other foot.
Cobra pose or Bhujangasana
Benefits: This pose is a basic beginner posture. It strengthens the spine and stretches the chest. Don’t overarch the back or neck. The cobra pose is great to build firm buttocks and abdominals.
How to: Start on your tummy. Press into the mat with the top of your feet. Keep them joined together. Lengthen the spine and lift your chest up. Engage the core muscles. Use the back muscles to lift further. Keep the hands down.
Wheel pose or Chakrasana
Benefits: This pose is a back bend. You will acquire shoulders, spine and torso flexibilty while practicing this asana. It is a great pose to strengthen the back and leg muscles.
It helps relieve any tension from sitting too long and is known to boost energy. Plus, it improves blood flow and overall circulation.
How to: Lie on your back. Bend your knees and elbows. Place your feet under the inner thighs. Place your hands to the side of your head. Press and lift off the mat. Keep the arms and legs straight. Release the head.
Extended Big Toe pose or Utthita Hasta Padangustasana
Benefits: Do this asana to open the hips and shoulders. It is an effective pose to improve balance and focus, while stretching the thighs.
How to: In Tadasana, shift your weight on one leg. Raise the other and grab your big toe. Straighten the arms, legs, and spine. Extend the leg forward or to the side.
Balancing Table pose or Dandayamana Bharmanasana
Benefits: This posture improves balance and concentration. Plus, it is a great way to build core strength and lengthen the spine.
The table pose is a beginner friendly asana. Try to hold the posture as long as you can to make it more challenging. Switch sides and repeat.
How to: Begin on all four. Raise one leg up and extend. Keep it parallel to the mat. Raise the opposite arm and straighten it if you feel comfortable. Hold.
Half Lord of the Fishes Pose or Ardha Matsyendrasana
Benefits: This pose provides a deep twist of the spine. In a seated position, you will tone the spinal nerves and ligaments. Always make sure to lengthen the spine as much as possible. Keep your back straight up.
Furthermore, this posture improves digestion by massaging the abdominal organs. It helps maintaining visceral organ and muscle health. It is recommended for weight loss as it improves kidneys, liver and pancreas function.
How to: Place one foot on the mat outside the opposite leg. Twist your torso towards the top leg. Keep the spine extended back straight. Use the arms to help the torsion. Many variations exist. Pick the most confortable one.
Yoga exercises for weight loss for the arms, shoulders and upper back.
Plank pose or Phalakasana
Benefits: You will build arm, wrist, shoulder, core and back strength with this posture. It is a basic pose but still very powerful to include in the yoga exercises for weight loss. You can move on to more advanced positions if you can hold it without difficulty.
It is a good warm up pose at the start of every yoga practice, especially at home. Plus, it is also used as transition between other postures. Practicing the plank pose is worth it to train your body and your mind.
How to: On all four, place the hands under the shoulders. Extend the leg back. Keep the feet joined together. Engage core and leg muscles. Lengthen the spine. Keep your back and your legs aligned.
Low Plank pose or Chaturanga Dandasana
Benefits: The low plank pose builds strong arms, shoulders and core muscles. It will raise your heart rate, improve blood flow and metabolism. The planks are excellent yoga exercises for weight loss.
Chaturanga Dandasana also tones the wrists, and lower back. It is a very good preparation for arm balances. I recommend that you practice this asana as often as possible if you are looking to progress.
How to: Begin in plank pose. Keep your back and your legs aligned. Lower your body to the floor. Engage your abdominal and leg muscles. Keep your elbows near your body.
Dolphin pose or Ardha Pincha Mayurasana
Benefits: This is one of the most amazing yoga exercises for weight loss. Dolphin pose strengthens the arms, shoulders, leg muscles. Plus, it is a deep stretch for the calves and hamstrings.
This inverted posture provides a good preparation for more difficult inversions, like the Headstand. Practice it regularly to build enough focus, stamina and strength in the upper body.
Don’t be afraid to try it out and master it. Going upside down for the first time can be quite intimidating but it is worth it. Dolphin pose is a good place to start.
How to: On all four, lower your elbows to the mat. Keep them under your shoulders. Lift your knees off the floor. Straighten your legs. Align your ears with your upper arms. Release.
Downward-Facing Dog or Adho Mukha Svanasana
Benefits: Downward-Facing Dog is one of the most popular yoga posture. Use it as one of the best yoga exercises for weight loss. It is widely known to stretch the whole body. Practice it to increase flexibility of the spine, shoulders, and legs.
It rejuvenates the whole body, improves circulation, digestion and the immune system. This asana is awesome to build strength and calm the mind.
How to: Start on your hands and knees. Stretch the elbows. Lift your knees off the floor. Lengthen your spine and press the mat. Push your chest towards your thighs. Engage core and leg muscles.
Side Plank pose or Vasisthasana
Benefits: Build your wrists, arms, shoulders and core strength with the side plank pose. It is a good pose to acquire balance, stamina and stability. It prepares for more complicated arm balances.
This yoga exercise is suitable for all levels of students. Hold the pose as long as you can for maximum benefits.
How to: Start in the plank pose. Shift your weight on one arm. Lift the other arm up. Look up above your hand. Keep the arms parallel to the line of the shoulders.
Upward Salute or Urdhva Hastasana
Benefits: This is a very simple stretch. But every yogi needs to master the Upward Salute before moving on to more advanced yoga exercises for weight loss.
How to: Begin in Tadasana. Lengthen the spine. Raise the arms overhead. Join your hands. Keep your legs, back and arms straight. Keep your upper arms near your ears. Extend as much as possible while breathing deeply.
Handstand or Adho Mukha Vrksasana
Benefits: The Handstand can be practiced against a wall for beginners. The fully unsupported handstand requires wrists, arms, shoulders and core strength with a lot of balancing.
It improves blood circulation, strength, balance and stamina. It is known to calm the mind and relieve from stress.
How to: In Downward-Facing Dog, walk towards your hands. Bend the knee and lift one leg up. Straighten the leg and find balance. Lift up the other leg and hold. Relax and breathe.
The best yoga exercises for weight loss for beginners tone the body and improve its overall health. By practicing these yoga poses, you will build strong and dense muscles who participate in burning more calories.
The side benefits include improved balance, flexibility, stamina, circulation, digestion, focus, concentration and mental clarity. Plus, it helps you be more mindful of your choices and make healthy lifestyle changes.
Choose the postures you feel the most comfortable with. Work from there and progress towards mastering them all. These exercises are all suitable for beginners. You might want to learn one pose a day when starting out.
Over the course of a month, you can then build your own daily workout routine and see weight loss results. The yoga poses have plenty of health benefits for your body and mind health. Consistency is key to maximize them.
Don’t hesitate to contact me if you have any question and express your thoughts in the comment section.
About the Author: Alex Assoune
Alex Assoune (MS) is a global health and environmental advocate. He founded Panaprium to inspire others with conscious living, ethical, and sustainable fashion. Alex has worked in many countries to address social and environmental issues. He speaks three languages and holds two Master of Science degrees in Engineering from SIGMA and IFPEN schools.