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One of the biggest misconceptions about yoga is that people believe it is only used to relax your mind and gain flexibility. I was one of those people and after joining my first yoga class over 10 years ago my beliefs about yoga changed completely.
At the time I was 40 pounds overweight and thought yoga would be easy. I was very wrong!
I couldn’t believe how holding a pose would create this burning sensation in my muscles and would leave me so sore the next day.
Over time I got used to doing the different poses and started losing weight and gaining lean muscle.
Before getting into yoga I thought that the only way to gain muscle was by lifting weights. Those first three months of doing yoga really changed the way on how I viewed developing my body to lose weight.
Out of everything I learned over the past 10 years, I believe these are the 11 best yoga poses for weight loss:
- Plank Pose
- Boat Pose
- Locust Pose
- Plow Pose
- Chair Pose
- Side Plank Pose
- Bridge Pose
- Eagle Pose
- Crow Pose
- Three Legged Dog
If you are just starting out don’t be discouraged if you can’t hold some of these poses for 10 seconds. Take your time and build up your endurance and strength.
Is it Possible to Lose Weight With Yoga?
Yoga is one of the best ways to lose weight if you are a beginner. At first it may seem intimidating if you are in a class with people that can balance on their heads with ease. Take your time and find your own path.
To read more about how yoga can help you lose weight, check out this article here: How Yoga Can Help You Lose Weight Quickly and Effectively
Every pose you are about to learn on this yoga for weight loss list has modifications. If you are just starting out focus on the modifications and go at your own pace. Practice working on these poses for at least 15 to 20 minutes three times a week to develop your strength.
The free printable of these poses is in our Free Resource Library. If you don’t already have the password, you can sign up below to get it sent to you:
1. Plank Pose
This pose is perfect for developing your upper body strength as a beginner. If you have not developed your upper body strength at all this pose will be very hard and it’s okay to be able to hold it only for a short period of time.
You have to start somewhere and with enough practice I am very positive that one day you will be able to push yourself to hold this pose for 5 minutes.
Practice plank pose on your knees if you cannot hold a full plank for more than a couple seconds. Start off slow and build your time. Also try doing pushups on your knees to develop the necessary upper body strength for the plank pose.
- Strengthens core muscles
- Strengthens muscles around the spine to improve posture
- Prepares you for more advanced arm balancing poses
2. Boat Pose
When I first started getting into yoga this was my least favorite pose because it tested my core strength. Every time I did this pose it made me realize how weak my core was. Take the time to practice this pose because strengthening your core is essential for losing weight in your abdominal area.
Instead of keeping your legs straight, bend your knees when you hold the pose. If that is still hard you could keep your feet on the ground and slightly lift your feet off the ground one at a time to slowly build strength.
- Melts belly fat
- Strengthens core to reduce back pain
- Improves digestion
Related article: 7 Best Beginner Yoga Workouts for Weight Loss
3. Locust Pose
Locust is one of the best poses to work on if you want to workout your entire body at once. Always try to do movements that focus on multiple joint workouts because those are the poses/exercises that will help you reduce the most fat.
Place your palms on the ground for extra support if you find it difficult to lift you entire body off the ground.
- Strengthens the back of your arms and legs
- Improves posture
- Stretches your shoulders and chest
4. Plow Pose
This is the best pose to focus on if you want to calm and reduce your overall stress. Reduction in stress is known for helping with weight loss. This is also a great pose to do after a long day to help relieve pain from your lower back.
If you find it difficult to place your feet on the ground behind your head, use a wall to help you slowly bring your feet toward the ground. Lie on the ground a couple inches away from a wall. Get into the pose and bring your feet onto the wall.
- Relieves back pain
- Calms the sympathetic nervous system
- Therapeutic for people with insomnia
5. Chair Pose
If you like the feeling of your thighs burning, this is the pose for you! Word of caution, when you start off practicing this pose and you put in a lot of effort, your legs will feel wobbly. Shake out your legs and take your time to gain your balance back.
Don’t feel like you have to sit all the way down if your body doesn’t allow it. As a beginner your hips will be very tight, especially if you have never worked on hip mobility before. Take your time deepening this pose.
- Sculpts your leg muscles
- Strengthens hip flexors and back
6. Side Plank Pose
This is a variation of the plank pose you learned about earlier except this one is going to require a lot more balance and strength. Do not start off with this pose if you can’t hold a regular plank for at least 30 seconds.
Instead of stacking both feet on one another take the top foot and place it flat on the ground in front of you with a bent knee to gain more stability.
- Strengthens arms and wrist
- Engages oblique muscles
- Increases balance
7. Bridge Pose
Everyone thinks squats are the number one way to develop a nice butt. Once you start doing this pose for the next couple weeks you will see exactly why this movement is going to sculpt your butt even more.
Place a towel under your neck if you are feeling lots of tension in that area when you are in bridge pose.
- Opens up the chest
- Improves digestion
- Strengthens glute muscles
8. Eagle Pose
Starting off this was a very difficult pose for me to get into because I have very stiff shoulders. Getting into this pose is requires a lot of balance and concentration. Since it involves your entire body it is great for losing weight.
If you cannot wrap your arms around one another it is ok to hold on to your shoulders.
- Aids in digestion
- Stretches the shoulders and upper back
- Strengthens your ability to balance and focus
9. Crow Pose
This pose takes time to build up to. Don’t be discouraged if it takes you a couple of weeks/months to fully get into this pose. The goal is to slowly build up to more advanced poses and always choose proper alignment over forcing your body into a pose.
Place yoga blocks under your feet for extra support when you are trying to lift your feet off the ground. Another method you can focus on is just trying to lift one foot off the ground and get used to that pose until it feels comfortable.
- Improves full body coordination
- Develops forearm strength
- Strengthens core muscles
This pose is all about balance and concentration. Developing all the muscles in your entire body and really strengthening your core is going to help you get into this pose. Remember to move slowly while trying to get into this pose. The last thing II want you to do is rush into this pose and get injured.
Getting into this pose with a wall in front of you will provide you a lot of support. Not only will it minimize your chances of getting injured, but it will mentally help you prepare for this pose. You can also try placing a pillow/towel under your head if you find yourself with too much pressure on your head.
- Improves posture
- Increases overall upper body strength
- Improves concentration and balance
11. Three Legged Dog
This is a nice variation of downward facing dog that requires more strength and concentration. What I really love about this pose is how it opens up your hips and energizes your body.
If you can only get into downward facing dog focus on getting used to that pose before attempting three legged dog. Once you are able to hold downward dog for at least 30 seconds you should be able to attempt three legged dog.
- Opens hips
- Strengthens core and arms
- Full body stretch
To get more fat burning yoga routines and workouts, check out our Free Resource Library for free workout printables + these articles here:
- 15 Minute Yoga Routine to Lose Weight and Boost Your Metabolism
- The Perfect Morning Workout Routine to Jumpstart Your Day (No Equipment Required!)
- 20 Minute Full Body Yoga Workout for Beginners (+ Free PDF)
- 10 Minute Yoga Routine to Get Strong, Toned Arms
Victor is the co-founder of GroundedPanda.com alongside his fiance Ally. Victor began practicing yoga over 10 years ago and has since then engulfed himself into the natural health field including calisthenics, mindfulness & meditation techniques, and nutrition. Education is a passion for him and he loves helping beginners with their health journeys. When he’s not writing, you can find him running, working out in random places, and most likely talking to someone about intermittent fasting.