Yoga has many benefits -- increased flexibility and balance, greater concentration and increased endurance. According to WebMD, the best way to lose belly fat is through cardio exercise and diet. However, you can tone your belly and improve its appearance through yoga practice. By utilizing specific yoga poses -- called asanas -- you can reduce the appearance of belly fat and fat deposits in your body. There are many asanas, such as twists and elongation movements, that exercise your stomach muscles.
Boat Pose - Navasana
The Boat pose can be performed with or without the assistance of yoga props. In a seated position, lift your upper body and legs until they form a V-shape. If you can’t fully elongate your legs, you may bend your knees in the beginning. Hold this pose for 30 seconds and then repeat. Yoga props can alleviate some pain during this pose if your back is strained.
Bow Pose - Dhanurasana
The technique for the Bow pose is to lie on your stomach, bend your knees and hold your ankles. While your knees are together, pull your hands and push with your legs until you form an arch with only your stomach touching the mat. Point your chin upward, and after releasing the pose, relax for a minute before repeating. This pose reduces abdominal fat by compressing your spinal column, pressing your nerves and minimizing blood circulation while you’re in the pose. Once the pose is released, there is a greater supply of blood. This increases your spinal flexibility.
Cobra Pose - Bhujangasana
The method for Cobra pose is to lie on your stomach with your hands under your shoulders and your forehead on the ground. Using your back muscles, raise your upper body and keep your head high. Your hands should remain on the ground and should not be strained. This pose also elongates your spine and helps considerably in reducing belly fat. If you feel any back pain, make sure to release your pose as to not over-strain your body.
Cat Pose - Marjarasana
Cat pose is appropriate for beginners. Begin on your hands and knees with your knees underneath your hips and your hands underneath your shoulders. While inhaling, curl your toes inward and lift your chin to the ceiling. As you exhale, uncurl your toes, round your spine, drop your head and then your gaze to your navel. It's very important that the movements with this pose are in sync with your breathing.
Sarah M. Hughes specializes in health and wellness. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in political science from the University of Michigan and a Master of Public Health from the University of Toledo.