Only have eight minutes for a yoga sesh? Try this sequence to boost your metabolism and feel the burn. It may just help you lose weight and look great!
If you are in need of a bit more power behind your yoga routine, it’s time to up the intensity level. Believe it or not, weight loss can easily be achieved with yoga. "Those practicing yoga who were overweight to start with lost about five pounds during the same time period those not practicing yoga gained 14 pounds…"
That is to say, if you practice yoga, you are much more likely to shed pounds than if you do not. It’s hard to say why yoga makes such a great exercise for weight loss, but some believe the answer to this question lies in the mindfulness that comes as a product of yoga practice. Yoga helps those who practice to become more aware of the body’s processes. Documented health benefits also include a healthier heart rate, metabolism, and weight loss (not to mention the added flexibility!).
Try this eight-minute yoga routine for intense muscle burn:
Tabletop to Child’s Pose
Start the routine from the floor in the Tabletop Position. It’s important to stretch before you begin and the Child’s Pose helps elongate the muscles for safety and flexibility.
- Rest weight on hands and knees (90 degrees with the floor, shoulder-width apart)
- Sit back on knees, bring head forward and stretch arms to the ground
- Hold the stretch
- Once the stretch is finished, relax back into the tabletop position
Alternating Calf Stretch
Before continuing into lunges and leg motions, warm up the calves with an Alternating Calf Stretch. Move from the Tabletop position into Downward Dog.
- Start at tabletop position, with hands and knees to the floor
- Straighten knees and shift weight onto the legs and feet (shoulder-width apart)
- Elongate the arms until the head is between the shoulders in Downward Dog
- Alternate bending each knee to stretch the opposite calf
- Stretch each calf 10 times and finish with a plank position
- Continue from plank back to Downward Dog
Tabletop Leg Stretch
Bring your legs back to tabletop with knees resting beneath the hips. Balance for an alternating leg stretch. Here’s how to move through the stretch:
- Start by extending the right leg and left arm
- Flex the foot to the ground and extend the arm long in front
- Hold the stretch and balance
- Repeat with opposite arm and leg
Extended Lunge Stretch to Warrior Pose
After shifting back to Downward Dog, swing one leg though for an Extended Lunge Stretch. When the lunge has been achieved, continue on to Warrior pose.
- Start from a plank into Downward Dog
- Elongate one leg in line with the torso
- Pull this same knee between either arm into a lunge
- Make sure the front knee does not extend over the foot at 90 degrees
- Extend the arms over the head to hold the extended lunge stretch
- Continue into Warrior pose (one arm behind and one in front)
- Hold the stretch, then return to Extended Lunge
- Repeat with other leg from Downward Dog
To intensify the Extended Lunge Stretch, continue from Downward Dog back to the Extended Lunge.
- Start from Downward Dog and pull the right knee forward
- Place the leg in a 90 degree Extended Lunge
- Balance in the lunge position and extend arms overhead
- Bring the left elbow to the hip and twist torso to face right side
- Keep the torso elongated and tall while bending forward
- Rest the right atop the left hand in a prayer position
- Hold for balance, then extend the right hand straight up
- Fix gaze on the hand, and hold the stretch
Plank Leg Extensions
Feel the burn with an intense exercise to engage the core muscles. Alternate leg pulls with Plank Leg Extensions.
- Start from a plank position and balance
- Elongate one leg behind and stretch
- Pull the knee through to touch the opposite elbow
- Twist to tap the other elbow, then stretch the leg high again
- Pull the knee through one more time to tap the forehead
- Finish with leg extended high for a final stretch
- Return back to plank position and switch legs to repeat
- When finished return to Downward Dog
Stretch for Finish
Before finishing up, take a moment to repeat the first two stretches once more. Now that you are loose, it will deepen the muscle flexibility so that you won’t be as sore afterwards.
- From Downward Dog, repeat the alternating calf stretch
- Elongate each calf while holding the stretch
- When finished, release back into Downward Dog
- Relax back into tabletop and repeat the child’s pose stretch
- Elongate the arms high overhead for a stretch
- Relax and hold for great flexibility
Does your lower back keep you up at night? Try these three yoga stretches for a strong lower back.