I will begin with one simple fact, but I know that one of two things will happen. Either you’ll be disappointed with the truth, or I will gain credibility because I’m telling you the truth. The truth is this: you cannot spot reduce fat anywhere on your body by doing a specific exercise. However, there are benefits to practicing yoga as a muscle-building and calorie-burning set of exercises. Workouts that both build muscle and burn calories will indeed help you burn belly fat.
While yoga itself may not be the most efficient way to burn fat, it can certainly be an excellent addition to routine weightlifting and cardiovascular exercises. Research shows that those who practice yoga are more likely to be motivated to exercise, or even better, are practicing the discipline of routine exercise for strength and endurance. Combining these things will set you up for the highest level of success when it comes to true, fat-burning progress.
The Difference Between Fat Loss and Weight Loss
It’s easy to get excited when that number on the scale moves in a downward direction. Especially after a prolonged period where your weight just won’t seem to budge in the least! Although, it is essential to understand the difference between weight loss and fat loss. Weight loss refers to a decrease in your overall body weight from muscle, water, and fat losses. Therefore, it’s important to understand that not all weight loss is fat loss.
True fat loss is crucial for the actual change of body composition. Have you ever been sick for a couple of days, making it tough to eat or drink much of anything? You’ll hop on the scale and realize you’re down as much as 5 pounds in 2-3 days. I’ve watched people celebrate something like this as a success, but I assure you, it’s very short-lived. The weight loss that occurs over a few days of reduced calorie intake is largely water weight. As soon you resume eating and drinking, the weight comes right back. This is because it’s unlikely that any of that weight loss was actual fat loss. Fat loss refers to weight loss from fat, and it’s a more specific and healthful goal than weight loss.
Nutrition For Fat Loss
I recently had a conversation with a friend who told me that she wanted to lose some weight, but she knew that she wasn’t doing enough cardio. She works on a farm and does a lot of manual labor throughout the day. Her normal daily routine leaves her worn out and makes doing an additional amount of routine cardio difficult. I was able to encourage her by saying that true fat loss has more to do with what you’re eating than it does with whether you’re doing a daily workout on top of the daily tasks you’re already doing. If you must choose one over the other, focus on nutrition first. If you need guidance, support, and a nutrition plan, read this article. Once you have a good nutrition plan in place, you can focus on your fitness routine.
Three Yoga Exercises For Burning (Belly) Fat
1. Cobra Pose
Cobra pose is a powerful, muscle-strengthening yoga pose. Benefits of the cobra pose, which are backed by science, include:
- May reduce symptoms of depression
- May relieve lower back pain
- May improve self-esteem
- May reduce inflammation
Each of these benefits is important to a true fat loss program!
How to do the Cobra Pose:
- Lie on your belly. Separate your feet and legs to hip-width. Point your toes so the tops of your feet are on the floor.
- Bend your elbows and place your hands on the floor next to your ribs, stacking your wrist and elbow.
- On an inhale, begin to peel your chest away from the floor, lifting into spinal extension.
- Repeat 6-8 times.
Keep your low belly on the floor and elbows bent. Look straight ahead or down toward your cheeks. If your low back is tender or you have neck pain, stay here.
Full Cobra: Continue pressing your arms straight without locking your elbows. Do this until your belly is completely off the floor and you are on your pubic bone. Keep your eyes straightforward, which will help keep your neck long.
2. Bow Pose
Bow Pose has a long list of benefits, including opening your shoulders from the front of the body, relieving tightness, and reducing slouching, which can improve posture. Bow pose is also energizing and stimulates the adrenal glands, which can help you fight fatigue. An alert and energized body is in the best position for fat loss.
How to do the Bow Pose:
- Lie on your belly on your mat. Press all of your toes into the floor and then bend your knees, keeping the toes active.
- Grab the outer edges of your ankles with your hands and flex your feet firmly.
- On an inhalation, lift your rib cage and shoulders toward your ears. On an exhalation, lengthen your tailbone and kick your legs back into your hands as you hold on firmly.
- From here, lift your head and heart. Gaze forward. Press down through your thighs to lift your chest.
- Stay lifted for 5 breaths.
- Relax to the floor.
- Repeat 6-8 times.
3. Plank Pose
Pose is quite possibly the most important yoga pose for increasing core strength and stability and, consequently, burning fat. Holding a plank pose will fire up a lot of muscle groups simultaneously. Benefits of the plank pose include:
- Healthy posture
- Balance and coordination
- Improves body alignment and helps avoid illness
- Builds core strength
- Improves flexibility
- Improves metabolism
- Improves overall mental health
As I mentioned earlier, all these things are connected to a healthy mind and body. Your fat-burning results will be the greatest when your mind, body, and mental health are all in good order.
How to do the Plank Pose:
- Begin in the plank position, face down with your forearms and toes on the floor. Your elbows are directly under your shoulders, and your forearms are facing forward. Your head is relaxed, and you should be looking at the floor.
- Engage your abdominal muscles, drawing your navel toward your spine. Keep your torso straight and rigid and your body in a straight line from your ears to your toes with no sagging or bending. Make sure your shoulders are down, not creeping toward your ears. Your heels should be over the balls of your feet.
- Hold this position for 10 seconds (or if you can). Release to the floor.
- Repeat 6-8 times.
The addition of these 3 yoga poses, along with a balanced nutrition and exercise program, will help you in your quest to burn fat and flatten your belly!