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If you're looking to lose weight, yoga offers many fat-burning benefits.
Jeremy Maude/Digital Vision/Getty Images
Yoga is more than stretching. While some forms of yoga are gentle, there are many yoga poses that build muscle, helping your body burn more calories. Some flowing styles of yoga, such as Vinyasa, are praised for being more aerobic. However, holding yoga poses for longer periods of time also builds muscles and can get your heart pumping. Yoga, along with aerobic exercise and a healthy diet, can help you lose weight.
Core Strengthening Warm-Up
With yoga, as with all forms of exercise, it's important to warm up your body first in order to prevent injury. For your warm-up, consider taking a five-minute walk, or try a yogic warm-up. Alternating arm and leg lifts warm up your extremities and strengthen the core. To start, come on all fours. Reach your right arm forward and extend your left leg back. Draw your belly button toward your spine and keep your hips parallel to the floor. Slowly lower your arm and leg and repeat on the other side. Continue alternating between sides for up to one minute.
A Warrior Flow
Warrior 2 strengthens the hamstrings and the quadriceps. To start, stand on a yoga mat with your feet wide. Lift your hands to the side at shoulder height. Turn your right toes to the right and your left toes to the right at about a 45-degree angle. Bend your right knee and gaze over your right hand. Hold the pose for up to one minute and repeat on the other side. For a Warrior 2 flow that strengthens your core, assume the Warrior 2 position. Exhale and drop your right elbow to your right knee. Lift your left arm up and over your head, in line with your ear. Inhale and lift back into Warrior 2. Flow through each movement five to 10 times, and repeat on the other side.
Downward Dog with a Kick
Downward-facing dog strengthens the upper body. To start, come on to all fours with hands under shoulders and knees under hips. Curl your toes under and lift your hips up and back, creating a triangular shape with your body. To protect your shoulder joints, draw your shoulder blades together. Hold this pose for up to one minute. For a simple downward-facing dog flow that strengthens the arms, legs and core, lift your right leg and extend it back. Bend your right knee and draw it in toward your belly, extend your leg again. Repeat five to 10 times. Repeat on the other side.
Rock the Boat, Baby
Boat pose is a strong core strengthener. Start in a seated position with your knees bent and feet on the floor. Slightly rock back on your sitting bones and lift your feet off the ground. Reach your hands forward, palms facing one another. Remain on your sitting bones; do not rock back onto your sacrum. For a boat flow, extend your arms out to your side and press your legs forward. Return to starting position. Continue alternating between positions for up to one minute.