Unfortunately, you cannot specifically reduce the fat stubbornly clinging to your stomach, but you can do a variety of yoga poses that tone and strengthen that area, making you appear thinner. Certain styles of yoga are more intense than others, so pick the level that meets your fitness needs and abilities.
When it comes to losing weight, yoga alone may not do the trick, according to Dr. Donald Hensrud on the Mayo Clinic website. Most forms of yoga are done at a lower intensity, so your heart rate does not elevate enough to torch hundreds of calories. To lose weight, you need to follow a regular workout routine that includes at least 250 minutes per week of moderate-intensity cardio. This doesn’t mean you should shun yoga all together; find an intense yoga class or add in other aerobic exercises such as jogging and biking.
The most intense forms of yoga are Ashtanga yoga, or power yoga, and Bikram yoga, or hot yoga. During these practices, you move swiftly between positions. In the Bikram class, the room’s temperature is set to 105 degrees Fahrenheit. These intense classes usually last at least 90 minutes, so you burn lots of calories while building strength, flexibility and stamina. A 150-pound woman can burn 716 calories in a 90-minute Ashtanga class and 1,023 calories in a 90-minute Bikram class.
Yoga can help you tone your stomach with the many poses that directly target your core. Your core includes the four muscles of your abdomen, your hip flexors, your glutes and your lower-back muscles. By designing a routine that hits this entire muscle group, your stomach will become firmer. A five-move sequence designed by yoga instructor Kristin McGee for “Health” magazine that targets your core starts with the Dog Split. It then moves to the Lizard lunge, the Twist, the Downward Dog and finally to the Jump Lunge. Do this set three to five times, three times a week to get a toned middle.
Bikram and Ashtanga yoga are intense forms of yoga that are not for everyone. Because these are more intense workouts, begin slowly and never push your body to a point of pain. Bikram is additionally dangerous because of the potential for heat-related illnesses. If you have heart disease, have experienced heat-related illnesses in the past or have problems with dehydration or heat, it might be best to skip out on hot yoga.
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