5 Best Yoga Moves For Weight Loss

5 Best Yoga Moves For Weight Loss

You may consider yoga to be your go-to stress reducer or a way to power down before bed, but your favorite workout is also a powerful calorie-burning machine.

We recently caught up with Kathryn Budig, yoga teacher and author of Aim True, to get her 5 best yoga moves for weight loss, proving that a few chair poses can really work wonders for not only your legs, but also your waistline.

"Everyone deserves to be comfortable in their own skin. If this translates to wanting to shed a few pounds in order to feel comfortable in your favorite jeans or confident in your body's health—these poses are for you," Budig says. "Use these postures as a way to increase your heart rate, build up a sweat, and feel strong in your body."

Plank Pose


Plank Pose
"This posture is a surefire way to improve your shoulder and core stability and strength," says Budig. "It isn't the easiest posture to maintain, so feel free to modify with your knees on the ground as you cultivate more strength."

Do it: Start on all fours. Place your palms flat on your mat shoulder-width apart with your fingers evenly spread. Step your feet back hip-width apart so that your body is in one long line or looks like you're prepping for a push-up. Keep your arms straight as you hug the upper outer arms and forearms in. Draw your rib cage in like you have a corset on (this takes the pressure off of the lower back and engages your abdominal muscles) and activate your legs. Extend your gaze slightly forward of your fingertips. Hold for 30 to 60 seconds. Repeat 2 to 5 times.

Side Plank


Side Plank
"The side plank is a fantastic posture to build oblique and shoulder strength as well as fantastic balance," Budig says. The pose is one of the best calorie-burning yoga poses out there (as well as a great way to ease lower-back pain), but if it feels like too much (at first), you can easily modify by resting on your bottom knee. 

Do it: Begin in plank pose. Place your right palm flat in the center of your mat under your face as you wiggle your feet together to touch and roll onto the outer edge of your right foot. Stack your left foot directly on top of your right. Firm your right shoulder in (avoid letting it scrunch up close to your ear). Press the ground away and powerfully elevate your hips to fire your obliques. Extend your left arm straight into the air, stacking it over your right arm. If you'd like to challenge your balance, look up! Hold for 5 breaths and return to plank. Repeat on the other side. Take a break, then repeat 1 to 2 times.

Chair Pose


Chair Pose
"This fiery pose is a great way to build strength in your lower body, core, and mind," Budig says. That burn you'll feel as you dip into the pose will translate into even more calories burned. Repeat 10 times, and you'll burn even more. 

Do it: Begin standing with your feet touching. Drop your hips and bend your knees as you sweep your arms overhead shoulder-width apart. Keep the weight in your heels. Press your shin bones back enough so that you can see the tips of your toes when you peer down. Sink your hips deeply (the goal isn't to drop into a full squat, just to take a "seat" at a regular chair level) and engage your lower belly while keeping your pelvis neutral. Extend your gaze and chest toward your fingertips. Take 8 full breaths, then press to a standing position. Repeat 10 times.

Revolved Chair Pose


Revolved Chair Pose
"Twists are a fantastic way to stimulate the digestive system," says Budig. "Combine this pose with clean eating, or as a way to press out the bad and get your system back on track."

Do it: Drop into Chair Pose. Inhale while lifting your arms above your head, then exhale as you draw your hands to your heart and swing your left elbow to land on your right thigh. You can stop here or wiggle deeper into the pose by taking your tricep onto your thigh. Press your palms together with your right elbow pointing up toward the sky. Firm your top hand into your base one and revolve your chest so that your sternum elevates toward your thumbs. Keep your hips neutral and knees even. Take 8 breaths and then lift back into Chair. Without straightening your legs, go directly into the pose on your other side.

Dolphin Pose


Dolphin Pose
This posture is exhausting, but so worth the effort," says Budig. The dolphin move can also be a great way to warm up for a meditation, leading you from a sweat-filled session to a relaxing cool-down.

"It will give you an incredibly strong base for inversions, develop shoulder and hip flexor flexibility, and ultimately give you confidence that you can wield your body in a unique way," she adds.

Do it: Start on all fours, and place your forearms parallel to each other and shoulder-width apart on your mat. Stack your shoulders over your elbows. Curl your toes under, lift your knees, and straighten your legs as you elevate your hips up toward the sky. Walk your feet in a bit toward your elbows (or as much as your flexibility will allow) to create an inverted V-shape with your body. Do your best to keep your forearms parallel by firming the outer arms in and pressing down evenly under all of your knuckles. Relax your neck and gaze backward, but keep your head off of the ground by pressing your elbows into the mat while simultaneously pulling your shoulders back. Hold for 8 breaths and then drop onto your knees. Take 5 breaths, and then repeat 3 more times.