Top 3 Yoga poses for weight lossTop 3 Yoga poses for weight lossTop 3 Yoga poses for weight loss

Top 3 Yoga poses for weight loss

How to lose weight with Yoga

Yoga is more than nailing a specific and seemingly impossible pose as seen on social media.
It's also more than sitting on a cushion and meditating. 

Yoga can be what you want it to be. Most people start Yoga in their local gym as part of their workout. Soon they realize that it has so much more to offer, including the tools it offers to calm the mind. 

Yoga is known to have many physical benefits, especially for women nearing or entering menopause. It helps to

  • Increase muscle strength and tone
  • Reduce weight
  • Increase flexibility
  • Lessen chronic pain (arthritis, headaches, carpal tunnel syndrome, lower back pain)
  • Reduce insomnia (goodbye hot flashes!)
  • Lower blood pressure
  • Increase energy and mood

And for many the mental benefits are even more important (and surprising): 

  • Reduces stress and anxiety
  • Creates mental clarity and calmness
  • Improves outlook on life
  • Sharpens focus and concentration

More and more studies have shown that Yoga can be an effective way to lower your weight, body fat and BMI. Practicing Yoga regularly can lead to healthier eating, including lower fat intake and an increase in vegetables and whole grains.

Researchers found that people who practiced yoga for at least 30 minutes once a week for at least four years, gained less weight or actually lost weight and overall had a lower BMI compared to those who did not practice Yoga. Researchers attributed this to mindfulness. Mindful eating can lead to a more positive relationship with food and most importantly, portion control. 

So we know that yoga has great benefits, but what if you don’t have time for a full hour of class each day? The great news is that you can add three simple poses to your daily routine to help you lose weight.

These three poses will help to tone, strengthen, and detox, shaping up your body so that it can reach it’s peak performance.

The top 3 yoga poses for weight loss are:

 1.    Spinal Twists - Matsyendrasana

You can choose between seated Lord of the Fish Pose (Matsyendrasana) or Reclined Lord of the Fish Pose (Supta Matsyendrasana).

The seated version is more active, as you can use your arms to help you deepen the  stretch. Whereas, the reclined version is more passive, letting gravity do the work. Either way, this pose is designed to twist your entire spine and give youri nternal organs a gentle squeeze, supporting them in an internal detox. Twists also tone and lengthen the abdominal muscles and help to release any stored tension in the lower back. Not only is this therapeutic for the muscles, but it also helps to melt away any stress in the body and mind.

 To get into Matsyendrasana:

1.   Sit on the floor with your hips firmly planted, legs extended long and spine growing tall. Take your left foot to the outside of your right knee and plant it on the ground.

2.  Reach your arms to the sky, use your abs to twist your chest to the right, then release your right arm to the floor behind you and your left arm can wrap around the bent knee.

3.  Hold it here and breathe, looking back over your right shoulder as you do so, and perhaps deepening the twist on each exhale.

4.  After five to ten deep breaths, gently release and then take the stretch on the other side.


To try the reclined twist version:

1.   Simply lay down on your back. Plant your shoulders firmly on the floor beneath you.

2.  Bend both knees up into your chest, then let them fall to the right side. Holding it here and breathing, with your arms extended wide.

3.  After five to ten breaths, transition the knees over to the other side.

2.   Bridge Pose - Setu Bandha Sarvangasana

Bridge pose is the classic abdominal toner. It activates all of the muscles in the lower half of your body from your feet to your thighs, your glutes and your abs. The higher you can lift your hips and press into the floor, the more muscles you are working and therefore the more energy you are burning.


To do a bridgepose:

1.   Lay down on the floor. Bend your knees and walk your heels in towards your hips.

2.  Let your arms rest long down by your sides, palms facing the floor.

3.  On your inhale, roll the spine up, lifting your hips and pushing them to the sky above, while squeezing your glutes and activating your legs.

4.  On your exhale, roll the spine back down, trying to touch down one vertebra at a time. Relax the muscles as you soften.

5.   Repeat this ten times, inhale to rise the hips and exhale to lower them back down. Keep your knees at an equal distance, hip width apart the entire time.


3.   Downward Facing Dog - Adho Mukha Svanasana

Downward Dog is one of the most common yoga poses and for a good reason. This pose works the entire body if done correctly, activating every muscle from your fingertips to your toes. Holding it for a minute or so each day can help to build strength in your body and therefore support you on your weight loss journey.


To do Downward FacingDog:

1.   Come to a tabletop (all fours position)with your hands beneath your shoulders and your knees beneath your hips. Press into your hands and then tuck your toes and begin to straighten your legs, sending your hips to the sky.

2.  Keep your feet hip-width apart and press into the balls of your feet. Bend your knees as much as you need to reduce strain on the hamstrings. But, at the same time, try to press your heels toward the ground.

3.  Press all ten fingers into the floor and activate through all parts of your hands. This will help to engage the arms and lengthen your spine. Straightening your spine will also send your tailbone to the sky.

4.  Take your gaze between your feet, knees or thighs.

5.   Once you are set up, hold it here for five to ten deep and nourishing breaths.

6.  Gently release by placing your knees back on the floor.

7.  You may repeat this three times, building strength each time.

 Squeeze these poses into your morning or evening routine and watch your weight shift as you build strength and stamina in your body!

How exactly does Yoga help with weight loss then? 

But the question remains…is Yoga helpful for losing weight due to increased physical activity or changes in eating habits?

We think it's a combination of factors. 

Monika, co-founder of Reverse Health is a seasoned Yoga & Mindfulness instructor and often uses these techniques with her clients: 

"Becoming mindful of how you're breathing and moving during a Yoga practice has a direct impact on how mindfully you eat, both in terms of quantity and quality. Yoga is also a great stress management tool. Many of our ReverseHealth members experience stress due to various lifestyle factors. Let's face it, life is just inherently stressful. That constant stress leads to an increase in the hormone cortisol, which in turn can increase abdominal fat, lower your immune system and cause cravings for energy-dense (speak fat and sugar-rich) foods.

The community aspect of Yoga is huge, too. Many women go to a weekly class, online or in person, and keep each other accountable, socialize and stay motivated as part of being in a group setting. We know that accountability is a key factor when it comes to sticking to a diet, or not."

The bottom line is, Yoga can be incredibly beneficial on your weight loss journey, IF it is a form of movement you enjoy. If not, leave it and find something else. No attachment! (That's actually a Yoga rule, ha!)
It is definitely worth trying though for it has profound mental health benefits. The mind is your strongest muscle, and sometimes you have to flex and train it in order to achieve great things, such as your dream weight. 

Other sources:

Harvard Health


The content in this app is provided as lifestyle recommendations for informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. For any medical concerns, always consult with a healthcare professional. The sources that informed our meal plans and recommendations are available at:

Weight Loss
Mindful Eating