OK, so yoga cannot single-handedly melt away your back fat. No exercise can, since it's impossible to spot reduce. What yoga can do, however, is help you burn some extra calories to reduce your body fat percentage, resulting in a leaner back and body. Yoga also helps with fat loss by increasing mindfulness, which may lead to healthier choices. Perform yoga or other strength-training activities at least twice weekly to increase muscle mass, and get in 150 minutes a week of cardio as well.
Created 3,000 years ago in India, yoga encompasses a range of mind and body practices for total well being. A blend of meditation and exercise, most varieties in America stem from the Hatha style. Each style is different, but most include a flow of poses and breathing techniques. Some also include chanting. Yoga increases muscle strength, stamina, range of motion and balance. It also helps relieve anxiety and tension. The term "yoga" means "to yoke" in Sanskrit, referring to the harnessing of mind, body and soul.
Yoga and Fat
Yoga gets your body moving, and that's always a plus when you're trying to burn fat. It may not remove fat directly, but when you combine the extra energy burn with a reduced-calorie diet you are well on your way to a trimmer physique. Yoga also helps banish flab by increasing lean muscle mass. Your body exerts more energy sustaining muscle than fat; therefore, the more muscular you are, the more calories you burn at rest. That's why strength training like yoga is important for weight maintenance.
Those ancient Indians were probably less concerned with back fat than you are; their poses are intended to strengthen muscles, correct posture and increase balance, but not necessarily fight flab. However, postures that emphasize the back can tone your muscles for a firmer appearance. Two to try are Locust Pose and Mountain Pose. As an added bonus, you may find that yoga helps to alleviate back pain.
Losing fat is a numbers game; that is, burning a higher number of calories than you consume -- 3,500 of them to lose a pound, to be exact. That's a whole lot of yoga, so the easiest way to trim down is to cut calories from your diet. Calculate your daily calorie expenditure and then eat 500 fewer calories to burn a pound of fat every week. Don't go crazy on crash diets, because losing more than 2 pounds a week means you're probably shedding water and muscle, not fat.
Nina K. is a Los Angeles-based journalist who has been published by USAToday.com, Fitday.com, Healthy Living Magazine, Organic Authority and numerous other print and web publications. She has a philosophy degree from the University of Colorado and a journalism certificate from UCLA.