Yoga may not yield a huge calorie burn, but it can lead to fat loss by reducing stress levels and improving muscle mass. Reduced stress may mean you reach for the pint of ice cream less often and have better regulation of hormones that cause you to hold onto weight. Improved muscle mass helps you burn more calories at rest and be more metabolically efficient.
Yoga can also enhance your mind-body awareness, so you tune into fullness signals sooner and avoid overeating. You may also become more aware of how certain foods make you feel, and avoid those foods (usually the high-calorie, junky ones ) that don’t make you feel at your best.
Attending a class is a great way to fit in yoga, but if you are short on time – you can still sneak in a practice. Poses that build strength and awareness are:
• Utkatasana (Chair Pose): Stand at the front of your mat with your feet hip-distance apart or closer. Bend your knees and your hips simultaneously as you raise your arms up past your ears. Maintain a slight tuck of the tail bone and hold for 5 to 10 full inhales and exhales.
• High Lunge: Position your right foot about four feet in front of your left foot and bend your right knee. Keep your left ball of the foot on the floor and straighten your left leg as much as you can as you raise your arms up to the ceiling. Take about five full breaths and repeat on the other side.
• Virabhadrasana I (Warrior I Pose): From high lunge, swivel your back foot to a 45-degree angle so the entire foot is pressing into the mat. Keep the front knee bent and your arms reaching to the ceiling. Hold five breaths for each leg.
• Plank Pose: Come to the top of a push-up position and then lower to your forearms. Maintain a straight line from your shoulders to the heels as you hold this pose to strengthen your core. Start with one to two breaths and work your way up to 10 or more breaths. Beginners may support themselves on their knees.
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