24 Best Yoga Poses For Weight Loss That Will Actually Work

Get ready to roll out your mat and shed your weight as you gain flexibility and balance.

Reviewed by Gaelle Clement, Natural Health Practitioner
By Shirin Mehdi

If you’re like anything like me, your conversations revolve around “Nothing works!”, “I need to lose weight.”, or “I want to lose weight – badly!” Before I tried yoga for weight loss, I had tried myriad forms of diets, traipsed through bountiful videos, and buried my head under never-ending listicles. Guess what? None of them worked, and I am glad that they didn’t, for I wouldn’t have turned to yoga. And, in the process, wouldn’t have made it a way of living. And, yes, I lost weight – tons of it.

Like they rightly say about yoga.

Let’s now talk about a few yoga asanas that help build your muscle strength, tone your body, and help you lose weight.

Yoga To Get Back In Shape

Given here are the effective yoga asanas for each body part:

A. For Facial Fat
B. For The Arms
C. For The Shoulders And Upper Back
D. For The Midriff
E. For The Thighs
F. For Calf Muscles/ Hamstrings
G. For The Hip

A. For Facial Fat (Approx. 2 minutes)

1. Simhasana

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Also Known As – Lion Pose

How It Works

This asana is known to tone the facial muscles and is a good stress buster too. It is a basic pose, and anyone can do it, irrespective of their age. When you sit in the Lion Pose and stick your tongue out, your facial muscles, along with the thorax and spine, are stretched.

Precautions

There are absolutely no potentials risks. If you have trouble sitting in this pose, sit on a chair and do the asana.

Video Link

2. Jalandhara Bandha

Image: Shutterstock

How It Works

This seated pose for breath work is an excellent way to stretch and tone the muscles surrounding the neck region. As you press your chin against your chest, you work the muscles on your chin as well. The retention of breath also helps detoxify your lungs and improve respiration.

Precautions

If you have any breathing issues, do this bandha under the supervision of a certified yoga teacher. Retain your breath if you suffer from high blood pressure or heart disease.

StyleCraze Trivia
Also known as Throat Lock, this yoga is one of the three “locks” for breath retention in pranayama practice.
Video Link

To know more about the asana, click here: Jalandhara Bandha

B. For The Arms (Approx. 5-6 minutes)

3. Adho Mukha Svanasana

Image: Shutterstock

Also Known As – Downward Dog Pose

How It Works

The Adho Mukha Svanasana is a weight-bearing pose. You need to position the upper body on your hands. It is an excellent way to tone your arms and biceps.

Precautions

Do not do this asana if you suffer from carpal tunnel syndrome.

Video Link

To know more about the asana, click here: Adho Mukha Svanasana

4. Chaturanga Dandasana

Chaturanga dandasana to lose weight

Image: Shutterstock

Also Known As – Four-Limbed Staff Pose, Low Plank Pose

How It Works

This pose requires you to stay off the ground by supporting the body on your hands and keeping the core intact. It not only tones your arms but also strengthens and tones your biceps and triceps.

Precautions

Do not attempt this if you have a shoulder or hip injury. Work with a certified yoga instructor who can help you with variations.

Video Link

To know more about the asana, click here: Chaturanga Dandasana

5. Ardha Pincha Mayurasana

Image: Shutterstock

Also Known As – Dolphin Pose

How It Works

Your arms become the base for balancing the entire upper body while you try to stay afloat. This asana helps strengthen and tone the biceps, triceps, and arms.

Precautions

It is a simple asana that can be done by everyone. However, you need to be careful if you have neck or shoulder injuries.

Video Link

To know more about the asana, click here – Ardha Pincha Mayurasana

6. Urdhva Mukha Svanasana

Urdhva mukha svanasana to lose weight

Image: Shutterstock

Also Known As – Upward Facing Dog Pose

How It Works

This asana involves stretching the arm muscles and balancing the body weight. It is a powerful and efficient way of toning your arms, biceps, and triceps.

Precautions

It is best to avoid this asana if you are pregnant or have wrist injuries.

Video Link

To know more about the asana, click here: Urdhva Mukha Svanasana

C. For The Shoulders And Upper Back (Approx. 4-6 minutes)

7. Bharadvajasana

Image: Shutterstock

Also Known As – Seated Twist Pose

How It Works

The asana involves a deep twist and is an intermediary level pose that anyone can easily master with practice. It improves the natural flexibility of your upper body, improves digestion, and increases shoulders’ flexibility.

Precautions

Be careful if you have issues with the knees, hips, or spine.

Video Link

To know more about the asana, click here: Bharadvajasana

8. Ardha Matsyendrasana

Image: Shutterstock

How It Works

This pose requires you to move your shoulder, neck, and spine in unison. The intense twist (one side at a time) helps in toning the sides, the upper body, as well as the abdominal muscles.

Precautions

Be careful if you have problems with the back or spine.

Video Link

To know more about the asana, click here: Ardha Matsyendrasana

D. For The Midriff (Approx. 5-7 minutes)

Image: Shutterstock

Also Known As – Boat Pose

How It Works

Think of a see-saw or a boat when you think of this asana. It works in the same way, and the midriff becomes the base for balancing the body. If you have trouble losing that stubborn belly fat, here is something that will give you visible results. With a little practice, you are well on your way to achieve toned abs.

Precautions

Do not do this asana if you are suffering from insomnia, hernia or spinal injuries.

Video Link

To know more about the asana, click here: Naukasana

10. Matsyasana

Image: Shutterstock

Also Known As – Fish Pose

How It Works

It is all about stretching your lower body (and organs) like the thighs, intestines, hips, and abdominal muscles.

Precautions

It is best to avoid this asana if you have blood pressure, hernia, or migraine.

Video Link

11. Anantasana

Anantasana to lose weight

Image: Shutterstock

Also Known As – Vishnu’s Couch Pose

How It Works

This pose tones and firms the abdominal muscles. The focus shifts to both the sides of the body while you stretch. This asana improves blood circulation and digestion.

Precautions

If you experience a discomfort or stiffness in the neck or hips, consult your doctor before doing this asana.

Video Link

To know more about the asana, click here: Anantasana

12. Bhujangasana

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Also Known As – Cobra Pose

How It Works

A pivotal pose in the Surya Namaskar, this is an elegant asana that works on your upper body. . It gives the abdominal muscles a rooted stretch.

Precautions

Do not attempt this asana if you are pregnant or suffer from a hernia.

Video Link

E. For The Thighs (Approx. 6-8 minutes)

13. Baddha Konasana

Image: Shutterstock

Also Known As – Cobbler Pose

How It Works

The Cobbler Pose works on the inner and outer thighs. An interesting variation of this pose is to flutter the legs like a butterfly – a reason why it is also called the Butterfly Pose. It is easy, straightforward, and relaxes your lower body.

Precautions

Avoid doing this if you have knee injuries.

Video Link

To know more about the asana, click here: Baddha Konasana

14. Malasana

Image: Shutterstock

Also Known As – Garland Pose

How It Works

A posture that counters the effects of sitting all day and accumulating fat in the lower part of the body. It stretches the thighs, groin, and hip muscles. It improves flexibility and tones the inner/outer thigh region.

Precautions

Avoid this asana if you suffer from knee or hip pain.

Video Link

15. Anjaneyasana

Anjaneyasana to lose weight

Image: Shutterstock

Also Known As – Crescent Pose

How It Works

This pose is all about the lunge – it stretches the legs, hamstrings, and thighs, thereby helping in toning the muscles from the hips to the ankles. It releases tension and gives you great flexibility.

Precautions

If you have knee injuries or heart problems, you might not practice this asana.

Video Link

To know more about the asana, click here: Anjaneyasana

16. Ardha Bhekasana

Image: Shutterstock

Also Known As – Half Frog Pose

How It Works

The Half Frog Pose is one of the most challenging poses, but it gives you remarkable results. It stretches and strengthens the hips, quadriceps, and the hamstring muscles. You will feel energized as it stimulates blood circulation.

Precautions

It is best to avoid this asana if you have neck, shoulder or lower back pain.

Video Link

F. For The Calf Muscles/Hamstrings (Approx 5 – 7 mins)

17. Padangusthasana

Image: Shutterstock

Also Known As – Big Toe Pose

How It Works

A pose that fully stretches the hamstrings and tones the calf muscles. It strengthens your thighs, legs, and back while stimulating the functioning of the kidneys and liver.

Precautions

It is one of the most basic poses and can be done by anyone. However, for beginners, it might take a while before they can fully bend and stretch.

Video Link

To know more about the asana, click here: Padangusthasana

18. Parsvottanasana

Image: Shutterstock

Also Known As – Pyramid Pose

How It Works

It is also called the Intense Side Stretch Pose as it involves deep stretching of both the sides of the body. It strengthens the quads, calf muscles, and hamstrings as you extend into the final posture. An easy way to tone and strengthen your legs.

Precautions

This pose is not advisable for pregnant women and anyone with hamstring issues.

Video Link

To know more about the asana, click here: Parsvottanasana

19. Virabhadrasana 2

Image: Shutterstock

Also Known As – Warrior 2 Pose

How It Works

The Warrior 2 Pose is a revitalizing pose that helps you build stamina while stretching all the muscles below your hips. It is the second level of the Warrior Pose that comes with a lot of benefits apart from just toning and strengthening your legs. It relieves sciatica like magic.

Precautions

Avoid this asana if you have chronic knee pain, arthritis, high blood pressure or diarrhea.

Video Link

20. Upavistha Konasana

Image: Shutterstock

Also Known As – Wide Angle Seated Bend Pose

How It Works

Think of it like doing a ‘split’ while dancing, except this is seated. The deep stretch releases the tension in your torso and hip muscles and tones the hips.

Precautions

This is an advanced pose that does not have any potential risks. However, use a soft cushion or blanket under your torso if you have lower back pain.

Video Link

To know more about the asana, click here: Upavistha Konasana

G. For The Hips (Approx. 5-6 minutes)

21. Garudasana

Image: Shutterstock

Also Known As – Eagle Pose

How It Works

The Eagle Pose is a convoluted pose that engages your thighs, legs, and arms while pushing the torso outside the body. The balancing act helps you find stability and, in the process, strengthens your core and hip muscles.

Precautions

Avoid this asana if you have knee, shoulder, or ankle pain.

StyleCraze Says
Practice this pose on an empty stomach, preferably in the early hours of the morning.
Video Link

To know more about the asana, click here: Garudasana

22. Ananda Balasana

Image: Shutterstock

Also Known As – Happy Baby Pose

How It Works

This one is a great pose as it stretches the entire lower portion of your body. The focus is on the hip bone as it goes perpendicular to the floor. The inner thighs, groin, and hamstrings are also toned and strengthened in the process.

Precautions

Avoid this pose if you have diarrhea. During pregnancy, the pose should be adapted.

Video Link

To know more about the asana, click here: Ananda Balasana

23. Rajakapotasana

Image: Shutterstock

Also Known As – Pigeon Pose

How It Works

The intense stretch of the legs, spine, and chest strengthens the hip muscles. In this asana, the entire body is in the front, and the hip is the only organ that pops out at the back of your body. Hence, it thoroughly works on your hip muscles.

Precautions

Even though this asana is profound and compelling, it is best to do it under the supervision of a certified instructor, especially if you have tight thighs or hips.

Video Link

To know more about the asana, click here: Raja Kapotasana

24. Supta Baddha Konasana

Image: iStock

Also Known As – Reclined Bound Angle Pose

How It Works

This asana is a hip opener and also works on the inner thighs. The balancing act of keeping the legs folded while sticking the toes together stimulates the toning of the hip muscles. It is a very relaxing asana and releases tension in the hip and thigh muscles.

Precautions

Refrain from doing this asana if you suffer from lower back pain, or knee or groin injuries.

Video Link

Caution: If you are pregnant, it is probably not the right time to lose weight. Always talk to a yoga specialist to know which asanas you can perform or not.

Infographic – More Yoga Poses For Weight Loss

Weight loss is a journey that can be time-consuming and challenging if you do not follow the appropriate methods. Although the yoga poses mentioned above are effective, we do not want your options to be limited. With that in mind, we have created an infographic below that consists of more yoga poses you can try to shed off those extra pounds. So, please scroll down and give it a read.

more yoga poses for weight loss [infographic]

Illustration: StyleCraze Design Team

Yoga for weight loss is a new dimension that everyone wants to explore. Although yoga isn’t traditionally thought of as an aerobic activity, some yoga styles are more physically demanding than others. Yoga asanas that are active and intensive help you burn calories and reduce some extra flabs from your body. Yoga, particularly the more physical types of yoga, can be a useful strategy for weight loss. You may also discover that the awareness obtained through a mild, soothing yoga practice aids in weight loss.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is 10 minutes of yoga a day enough?

Yes. It can strengthen muscles, enhance posture and flexibility and benefit mental health.

Why am I not losing weight doing yoga?

Practicing only yoga may not help burn fat. You must follow a healthy lifestyle to see positive results. Drink plenty of water, eat healthy, sleep and wake up on time, and exercise regularly. There should be consistency in all of these activities.

How many times a week should I do yoga to lose weight?

You will see visible improvement if you practice intense yoga 3-5 times a week.

Which is better – yoga or exercise?

Yoga is for overall wellness. It may help tone your body and improve flexibility and strength. However, intense exercises seem more promising when the goal is to lose weight. For example, a 30-minute yoga session helps you burn around 85 calories; you can burn 126 calories with moderate-intensity exercise.

How quickly does yoga change your body?

You can achieve Impressive results in 6-12 weeks if you maintain proper consistency while doing yoga. However, this is just a rough estimation. It may vary from person to person.

Is yoga better than walking?

Yoga yields better results than walking if you aim to lose weight. You can burn 340 calories with the help of one hour of power yoga, while you can lose only around 242 calories by walking for an hour.

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A jack of many trades and a master of some, Shirin is a writer, a fashion designer, and a chef... more

Gaelle Clement

(Natural Health Practitioner)
Gaelle is an international health practitioner currently based in Krasnodar, Russia. She is passionate about helping people of all genders... more

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