10 Yoga Poses That Improve Your Metabolism

Apr 5, 2017

Though only in recent years the wonders of yoga have been exhumed, the practice is over 2000 years and quite revered. At gyms, studios, and holistic care centers everywhere, yoga can be anything from a sweaty workout to a therapeutic session depending on the style you are practicing.

Those who do yoga routinely are aware of the feel-good effect on the mind and body, but many are unaware of how influential yoga is on metabolism. By adding certain asanas, or postures, to your daily routine, you can light a metabolic fire to burn calories all day long.

You can sequence these asanas or intersperse them throughout your practice. Remember to breathe through each pose. If you are looking for a more invigorating sequence, do not linger in the poses. Moving through the sequence at a faster pace will increase your heart rate and act as cardio.

1 Half Sun Salutation

Not a single pose but a flow that is fundamental to certain styles, like Ashtanga and Vinyasa yoga, Half Sun Salutations are pure magic when it comes to warming up and achieving spinal alignment.

Start standing in Mountain Pose (Tadasana), feet in line with the hip bones. Shoulders should be rolled back, blades moving towards the spine. Feel a lightness in the chest that opens the heart slightly upward to the sky. Breathe the arms to the side then up and overhead.

With the exhale, hinge at the hips, trying to maintain a flat back until halfway over. From there, allow the upper body to cascade from the pelvis like a waterfall. Do not stress about reaching the floor. Focus your energy on the crown of the head, imaging it reaching towards the ground, as you come to Uttanasana (Forward Fold).

Roll back up through the spine, thinking of the stacking each vertebrae. Repeat several times until the body is warm.

2 Locust Pose (Salabhasana)

Enter Locust Pose from a prone position – either after lowering through Plank or from all-fours. Legs should be energized, reaching back behind you. Arms follow suit. Pretend you are shooting light through your fingertips in the same direction as your toes to keep energy following and muscles engaged. Inhale, lifting the chest while keeping the pelvic region on the floor. You gaze moves towards the sky with the breath. Exhale as you lower. Repeat several times.

3 Revolved Chair Pose (Parivrtta Utkatasana)

Twists are great for revving up the digestive process. From Forward Fold, bring the feet close together. Move into chair pose by bending the knees and keeping your spine aligned as the tailbone reaches into your backspace. The weight of your body may shift slightly into your heels, and that is fine. From there, bring the hands to prayer position with the elbows pointing left and right.

Begin to spiral right with the intention of hooking the left elbow to the outside of the right knee. If you can’t get that deep into the twist, do not worry about it. Concentrate on keeping the knees parallel instead. Letting one knee slip more forward than the other can hurt the low back. Unwind to center then switch sides.

4 Eagle Pose (Garudasana)

A different kind of twist. From Mountain Pose, guide yourself into a shallow Chair Pose. Find your balance before lifting one leg to cross it on top of the supporting leg. Wrap your toes of the crossed leg behind the weight-bearing one if that is available to you. Keep your body’s energy swirling in and out of the center, thinking about cinching your core tight like shoelaces.

Arms can vary based on your balance. If preferred, leave them in prayer position. To go deeper into full Garudasana, breathe the arms up. While descending put the right elbow inside of the left elbow crease then wind the arms around each other. This is a great stretch for the shoulders.

5 Warrior 1 Pose (Virabhadrasana 1)

This deep lunge works on balance while simultaneously working the entire body isometrically. Step back with the right foot from Tadasana, turning those toes outward at about 45-degrees. Take up space on the mat. Bend at a 90-degree angle with the left knee. Do not let the hips swivel. Keep them pointed forward. Also, do not let the tailbone flip upward like a duck’s tail. Press it downward. Arms reach straight up powerfully.

Read also – 8 Simple Yoga Poses for Better Sleep

6 Horse Pose

From Warrior 1, bend both knees and bring the hips to the long edge of your mat. Toes are turned outward. The spine is long. Breathe deep and lower (think sumo squat) the tailbone straight down. Imagine there is a wall behind you to keep yourself from rocking forward or back.

Maintain this isometric hold as the arms reach left and right. Lateral stretches also feel wonderful here. Hold for about 20-30 seconds, return to Warrior 1 on the opposite side, then come back for another round of Horse Pose.

7 Wide-Legged Standing Forward Bend (Prasarita Padottanasana)

Moving from Horse, this is the deeper version of Forward Fold (Uttanasana). Step out wide, wider than what you think is wide. Roll down through the spine. Try to get your elbows to the floor. Hang, breathe and feel the release in the back and hips. You can also grab ahold of your elbows and swing side-to-side.

8 Forearm Plank Pose

One of the ultimate body weight exercises also finds a fundamental role in yoga. Take whichever plank variation works best for you, just be sure that the arms are in line with the shoulders or slightly forward if you are tight. Engage the core by imagining the bottom ribs connecting to the hips. Lengthen the spine from the crown of the head to your heels. Hold for about 30-60 seconds. If you can go longer, challenge yourself.

9 Bridge Pose

Laying supine, draw the heels in towards the sitz bones (ischial tuberosities). Keep the natural curve of your spine against the floor. Ground with the heels. Begin to lift the hips by first raising the tailbone.

Proceed to move through every single spinal region until you reach the cervical spine. Utilize the hamstrings and glutes as you hold Bridge for a few breaths then reverse the path you took to lift as you lower. Follow the breath to repeat about 5-8 times.

10 Plough Pose (Halasana) or Shoulder Stand Pose

If you have low blood pressure, kyphosis or neck injuries, do not attempt Plough and Shoulder Stand. Take the Legs-Up-the-Wall pose instead. These two poses place emphasis on the thyroid gland, which is known to have an effect on metabolism, by gently massaging it with your body’s weight.

To get into Plough or Shoulder Stand, start on your back. Using your core, rock your legs over your head. The arms should stretch in the opposite direction or be used to support your hips. Keep the chin towards your chest, and breathe. If you are comfortable with entering Shoulder Stand, lift the legs straight up to the sky while keeping stability in the shoulders and back.

Read also – 9 Best 5 Minute Butt and Leg Exercises

You will no doubt be refreshed and ready to conquer whatever the days have prepared for you after completing this yoga sequence for metabolism. Though there are other postures that affect metabolism, these ten can be blended together into a flow that not only feels great but can be done at any experience level. Enjoy the strength and heat cultivated by your breath and intention. Namaste.

Frequently Asked Questions

Which yoga pose increases metabolism?

The yoga pose that increases metabolism is called “Surya Namaskar” or “Sun Salutation”.

Which yoga pose is best for weight loss?

The yoga pose that is best for weight loss is “Bhujangasana” or “Cobra Pose”.

Which yoga pose is best for belly fat?

The yoga pose that is best for belly fat is “Naukasana” or “Boat Pose”.

What yoga pose burns the most calories?

The yoga pose that burns the most calories is “Chaturanga Dandasana” or “Four-Limbed Staff Pose”.

Is yoga a good fat burner?

Yes, yoga can be a good fat burner as it can increase metabolism, reduce stress, and improve digestion.

Does yoga help slim body?

Yes, yoga can help slim the body by toning muscles, improving posture, and promoting weight loss.