If you’re looking to shed a few pounds, a sweaty and challenging yoga practice can help get the job done. While weight loss isn’t the goal of yoga in itself, a swift and intense flow can go a long way and have a significant impact while being easy on your joints.
Here are 15 yoga poses for weight loss.
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Cat & Cow
To kick off this list of yoga poses for weight loss, begin with Cat and Cow. Stack your shoulders over your wrists, and your hips above your knees. Inhale, lift the tailbone up and relax the belly. Push the heart forward. Exhale, pull the navel in and round the spine. Continue this for a few more cycles, linking the breath with the movement.
Cat & Cow helps massage your internal organs, boost your metabolism, and stimulate your abdominal muscles. Its simple movements can help you feel less bloated and much lighter!
Lie down on your mat, with your knees facing up and the soles of your feet planted down. Then, lift your hips up towards the ceiling. Squeeze your glutes on the way up, and firm your thighs in.
For added resistance, you can add a light pair of weights on top of your hips. This will help sculpt your glutes and give you a stronger lower body.
From all fours, step your legs back. You’ll find yourself in your plank pose. Lengthen your heels to the back of the room, squeeze your thighs, and firm up your glutes. Hug your belly in, and keep your spine long. Then, push the ground away with your arms!
Not only is your Plank good for weight loss, but it also helps you tone up. You’ll get firmer arms and more defined abs, if you do this pose regularly! And to help you improve your grip and give you compressive support in your wrists, try using grippy yoga gloves.
From your Plank, swivel onto the right heel. Push your right hand down, then lift your left arm up. Push both hip points forward, lengthen your spine, then hug your belly in.
Just like your classic Plank, Side Plank also helps you lose weight and tone up. You’ll particularly feel and see a firmer side body!
From your Downward Facing Dog, step your right foot forward. Ground down on your right foot, and lengthen your left leg back. Squeeze your inner thighs, hug your belly and your ribcage in, and reach your arms up to the sky. Stay here for a few breaths, then perform this same pose on the other side.
High Lunge helps strengthen and tone your legs. And because it involves a big muscle group like your quads and thighs, it helps burn more calories in those areas!
From your High Lunge or Crescent Lunge, take your hands in prayer in front of your chest. While keeping your hips in one line, twist your rib cage and your chest over to your front leg. Hook your elbow on top or outside of your thigh. Press the palms together, then open up your chest.
Crescent Twist helps strengthen and firm up your abdominals, particularly your obliques. It also helps you achieve a stronger, and leaner looking upper body. Don’t forget to repeat this same pose on the other side!
From your Downward Dog, step your right foot forward. Lower the left heel down to the mat. Bring your right hand inside your right foot, or on top of a yoga block. Then, reach your left arm up to the sky.
Lengthen your spine, engage your obliques, and keep your legs and glutes firm!
Stand at the top of your mat, with your feet as wide as your hips. Ground your heels down, then squeeze your glutes and your thighs. Keep your spine at an inclined position, then reach your arms up. Breathe.
Chair is one of the most challenging poses in yoga, but brings about the best results! You’ll definitely feel a burning in your glutes and quads.
From your Tadasana or Mountain Pose, bring your right knee into your chest. Then, kick your right leg all the way back until your chest comes parallel to the mat. Press down on your left foot and feel your left leg work.
Align your right hip with your left. Hug the abs in, and maintain your balance as you keep your gaze fixed at an unmoving point below you. Lengthen your spine and squeeze the upper back muscles!
Warrior 3 helps build balance and coordination, but it also whips your glutes and your abdominals into shape. Repeat this same pose on the other side!
Yoga poses for weight loss can also be seated. Don’t be fooled by this seated pose—it packs a punch. Ground down on your sitting bones, then lift one leg up and the other leg up. Lean back, and engage your abs. Hold onto the backs of your thighs or lengthen one arm forward followed by the other.
This core-busting pose works your low belly and your deep core muscles. You can also put a stability ball in between your thighs and squeeze it in, for an added challenge.
Want long and lean back muscles? Do Locust pose! On your yoga mat, lie down on your belly. Lengthen your toes behind you, and reach your fingertips back with your palms facing up.
Squeeze your glutes, then lift your arms, chest, and shoulders up from the mat. Keep your neck long, and squeeze your upper back.
From your Forearm Plank, lift your hips up in a pike. Press your forearms down onto your mat, and hug the belly in. Firm up the inner thighs, and lengthen your heels down to your mat.
Dolphin Pose helps tone the upper body, especially the shoulders, biceps, and triceps. If you’ve always wanted leaner, slimmer arms, this is the pose for you!
From Malasana, squeeze your thighs into your elbows. Place your palms down onto the mat and lean forward. Push with your hands, then try to lift one heel up followed by the other. Crow is a challenging arm balance that works the entire body, especially your abdominals!
To give you an added boost, try perching your feet on a Yoga Block. You’ll take flight in no time!
Bring the crown of your head down to your mat, with your fingers interlaced behind your head for support. Push the arms down, lift the hips up, then walk your feet in.
Once you’ve gotten your hips stacked over your shoulders, draw one knee into the chest followed by the other. Lift your legs up slowly.
Headstand is an advanced pose, among yoga poses for weight loss, so if you don’t get it right away—don’t sweat it! You’ll get there in no time.
Have a wall to help you out for this. Do Downward Facing Dog a few inches away from the wall, with your fingers facing the wall. Step one foot forward, and, using that foot as a a spring, kick the opposite leg up.
The hips should stack over your shoulders, and your legs will be supported by the wall. Keep your arms and your shoulders engaged, while hugging the belly in.