You may feel the burn, but no yoga poses will directly remove fat from your hips and stomach. Nonetheless, yoga is an excellent tool in your fat-loss arsenal. It certainly burns more calories than lounging on the couch, and the postures sculpt your muscles for toning. The truth is that no exercise in the universe gets rid of fat precisely where you want it to. Losing weight all over will shrink problem areas, and this takes lifestyle changes such as sensible eating and regular activity.
Yoga and Fat
With the average Hatha yoga session burning less than 300 calories per hour, it would take more than 11 sessions to burn a single pound, provided nothing else in your diet and lifestyle changed. But there is more to weight loss than burning calories, and yoga can help set you on the path to healthier lifestyle choices by reducing stress and improving mindfulness. A greater sense of well-being may propel you to ditch your old habits, and you will be less likely to pig out from anxiety.
Long for a sculpted belly and rear? Here's where yoga can really help. While no posture can remove fat deposits, poses that target hip and abdominal muscles can give you a firmer appearance. For your stomach, try Paschimottanasana (Seated Forward Bend), Parivrtta Trikonasana (Revolved Triangle pose) and Setu Bandha Sarvangasana (Bridge pose). For hip toning, perform Garudasana (Eagle pose), Ananda Balasana (Happy Baby pose) and Virabhadrasana III (Warrior III).
To make a dent in that hip and belly fat, you need to alter your current patterns. First and foremost, check your diet. You need to eat fewer calories than you burn to lose fat, and it takes 3,500 calories to melt a single pound. For a realistic weight-loss goal of 1 to 2 pounds a week, take in 500 to 1,000 fewer calories than you work off in a day. Pair that with regular aerobic exercise to accelerate results and enhance overall health.
No exercise is worth injuring yourself over, so play it safe with your yoga routine. Although the poses are usually harmless, trouble occurs when you overextend yourself or practice incorrect form. Always warm up at the start of your session; this gets your blood flowing, warms your muscles and lubricates your joints. For each body area, begin with gentler poses and ease into more difficult ones. For upright postures, keep your knees slightly bent and distribute weight evenly across your feet.
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.