The Best Yoga Moves for Slimming the Waist

The Best Yoga Moves for Slimming the Waist

Yoga is not just a beneficial method for achieving relaxation and promoting stress relief, it's also one of the most effective ways of strengthening and toning your entire body. If you want to trim your waistline and lose pounds, yoga should be a part of a weight-loss plan that includes calorie reduction and cardiovascular activity. While yoga alone can't help you lose weight, specific yoga postures can help you tone and strengthen your abdomen and slim your waistline.

Core Strengtheners
Yoga poses that strengthen your core can help you achieve a flatter, leaner midsection better than traditional exercises like crunches can, says certified personal trainer Jessica Smith in an article for "Shape" magazine. In core-strengthening poses, you hold specific poses that work your abdominal muscles to build strength and endurance. Smith suggests the Stacked Side Plank to tone your core and slim your side waist. To perform this pose, lie on your right side. Place your right hand under your right shoulder, press your body up and lift your hips off the floor. Your body should be in a straight line from your shoulders to your toes. Engage your side abdominal muscles to keep your body lifted -- don't allow your hips to sag. Raise your left arm toward the ceiling and look up at your left hand. Stay here for 60 seconds, then repeat on the opposite side.

In addition to slimming your waist, twisting poses and rotations may help alleviate pain in your spine and tone and energize your abdominal organs, says yoga instructor Lee Kennedy in an article for the "Mayo News." To perform a simple variation of a seated spinal twist, sit on the floor in a cross-legged position. Sit up straight and engage your abdominal muscles as you extend your spine tall. Exhale and twist to your left, rotating from the waist. Bring your right hand to your outer left thigh and rest your left hand on the floor behind you near your buttocks. Look over your left shoulder. Hold this pose for 30 seconds, then release and repeat on the opposite side.

Balancing postures involve engaging your core muscles to help you stay in an upright position and prevent you from falling over. In an article for "Shape" magazine, yoga instructor Heidi Kristoffer suggests the balancing series Boat-Low Boat Repetition as a way to strengthen your core and reduce your midsection. To perform this series, sit on the floor with your knees bent in front of you. Stretch your arms forward next to your knees, palms facing up. Lean your torso back and engage your abdominal muscles as you lift your feet off the ground, bringing your legs to a 45-degree angle with the floor. Lower your torso and your legs so they are hovering just above the floor, then lift to return to full Boat pose. Perform 10 to 20 repetitions of this exercise.

Stretching Poses
It's important to balance out core and abdominal-strengthening poses with stretches, says author Fernando Pag├ęs Ruiz in an article for "Yoga Journal." Some of the beneficial poses for stretching your abdominal muscles include the Upward-facing Dog and the Bridge pose. Bridge pose may also help stimulate your thyroid gland, which may, in turn, increase your metabolism, says yoga expert Kimberly Folwer in an article for "Shape" magazine. To perform the Bridge pose, lie on your back and bend your knees, bringing your heels as close to your buttocks as possible. Keep your knees hip-width apart. Rest your arms by your sides, palms facing down. Exhale and press your hips up toward the ceiling, keeping your body in a straight line from your knees to your shoulders. If possible, grasp your hands together and nudge your shoulder blades closer together to expand your chest. Stay here for up to one minute.