Most people know that yoga has countless spiritual, emotional, and physical benefits, but did you know it’s also a great exercise for reducing stubborn abdominal fat? It’s true, yoga exercise is a shockingly effective way to target and tone your core. Here are some of the most effective yoga poses to eliminate lower belly fat, tighten and tone your abs, and get a flat stomach in as little as a month.
1. Mountain Pose
Tadasana or Mountain Pose is an ideal warm-up yoga posture and a great way to get your core engaged and improve blood circulation. Start with your feet flat against the floor, heels slightly spread apart, big toes touching. Stand tall and straight with your hands at your sides, palms against your legs. Then, bring your hands to the front of your chest with the palms together.
Take a deep breath in and raise your folded hands above your head, stretching the spine as much as you can with your eyes looking toward the ceiling. Lift your ankles off the ground and stand on the balls of your feet or your toes. Breathe normally and hold for 20 to 30 seconds.
Inhale, then exhale, lowering your heels back to the floor. Repeat 10 times, relaxing for about 10 seconds between each repetition.
This is a great starting pose as it helps warm up your core and works the thighs, knees, and ankles.
2. Seated Forward Bend
Paschimottanasana or seated forward bend is a basic Hatha yoga asana and one that really tones the tummy. It’s also great for the hips, thighs, and hamstrings. Sit on the floor in easy pose with the legs crossed at the ankles. Sit up straight and stretch your legs out in front of you with your feet pointing to the ceiling.
Deeply inhale, stretching your hands straight above your head. Lay your head back so you’re looking at your hands, fully stretching the spine. Exhale and bend forward, touching your toes (or getting as close as you can). Your head should rest on your knees but, when you’re first starting, it’s fine to go down as far as you’re able to, placing your hands on your ankles, shins, or thighs.
Pull your toes back and stretch your hamstrings, using a yoga band if necessary. Hold this position for 90 seconds if possible, or as long as you can. As you continue to improve, aim to hold for five minutes or longer.
Exhale and release your toes, bringing your body upward and returning to easy position.
3. Wind Relieving Pose
Wind Relieving Pose is a useful asana for burning belly fat, and the longer you can hold it, the better. Start by lying on your back with your legs stretched out, heels together, arms beside your body.
Bend your knees. Take a deep breath in, then, as you exhale, slowly bring your knees to your chest, applying pressure to your abdomen and abdominal organs with your thighs. Clasp your hands behind your thighs to hold your position. Inhale then exhale, lowering your chin. Hold for between 60 and 90 seconds.
Next, exhale slowly, releasing the knees and resting your head on the floor. Return your hands to the starting position. Repeat 10 times, resting for 10 to 15 seconds before each repetition. This move strengthens the back and ab muscles and helps tone and tighten the arms and legs, too.
4. Boat Pose
If you’re looking for a pose to help with fat loss, particularly belly fat, the boat pose or Naukasana is one of the most effective.
Lie down on your back, legs stretched out with toes facing the ceiling. Rest your palms at your sides. Inhale then exhale, lifting your legs, chest, and head from the ground. Stretch your arms out in front of you so that they’re parallel with your legs, fingers in line with your toes. Look toward your feet and breath normally, holding the pose by keeping your abs contracted. With practice, you should be able to hold for between 30 to 60 seconds. When you’re finished, inhale deeply, exhale, and slowly lower your body to the ground.
When you’re just starting out, repeat five times with a 15-second break between every repetition. Keep practicing and work your way up to as many as 30 repetitions. When it comes to yoga for belly fat, this is one of the most effective asanas, and it also works the arms, shoulders, and thighs.
5. Camel Pose
Ustrasana or camel pose is usually done in conjunction with boat pose. Start in Vajrasana, kneeling, and then sitting on your legs. Slowly lift your body so your knees are supporting you and the tops of your feet are flat against the ground. Exhale and arch your back, bringing your hands behind you and trying to grasp your ankles. Tilt your head back, stretching your abdominal muscles. Breath normally and hold this pose for 20 to 30 seconds, working your way up to 60 as you improve.
Exhale and relax, returning to Vajrasana. Repeat five times to start, working up to 30 repetitions. Relax for 10 to 15 seconds between each one. Camel Pose stretches and tones the abs as well as the back muscles, which helps to improve posture.
6. Chair Pose
To do chair pose or Utkatasan for a flat tummy, start in mountain pose. Inhale, raising your arms above your head. Exhale, bending your knees and holding your thighs as parallel to the ground as possible. Your knees should slightly jut out over your feet, and your torso should be at just about a 90-degree angle over your thighs.
Pull your shoulder blades into your back, reaching your elbows back and up toward your ears. Be sure to keep your ribs forward and elongate your back by drawing your tailbone down toward the floor. Then, lower your hips even further, slightly bending your upper back.
Shift your weight back onto your heels. Continue to take normal, deep breaths, spreading your shoulder blades apart. Spin your hands so your pinky fingers are together and your palms are facing each other, and rotate your arms outward, gazing forward.
Hold for up to one minute. Then, take a deep breath in, straightening your legs and lifting through your arms.
7. Raised Foot Pose
Uttanpadasana, also called raised foot pose, works not only your abs but your hips and thighs as well. This is one of the most efficient poses for weight loss and getting a flat belly.
To start, lie on your back, legs stretched out with your heels touching. Place your hands at your sides with palms on the ground. Take a deep breath, then exhale slowly, making sure your spine is straight and your ears are in line with your shoulders. Inhale and raise your legs off the floor at a 30 or 45-degree angle. Beginners should aim to hold this position for 15 to 30 seconds, working up to 60 seconds with practice.
Next, exhale and elevate the legs until they are at a 90-degree angle with the floor. Hold for 30 seconds, inhale, then slowly lower your legs back to the yoga mat. Repeat 10 times with a 15-second break in between, working your way up to 30 repetitions.
8. Cow Cat Pose
The contraction of the core muscles in Marjariasana, or cow cat pose, helps speed up belly fat loss. It’s also great for strengthening the back and correcting posture.
Begin by sitting in Vajrasana. Breathe normally, lifting your body to rest on your hands and knees with your back parallel to the floor. Keep your knees slightly wider than your hips and your hands directly under your shoulders, spreading your weight evenly. Inhale and lift your head while pushing down your spine. Breathe in, holding your breath and expanding the abdominal area for 15 to 30 seconds. Exhale and return to Vajrasana.
Relax for about 15 seconds, then repeat 10 times, gradually working up to 30 repetitions.
9. Cobra Pose
Bhujangasana, or cobra pose, gets rid of tummy fat and strengthens the back with regular practice. Start by lying down on your stomach, legs spread slightly, toes touching the floor, palms at your sides. Then, move your palms beneath your shoulders. Inhale deeply, lifting your chest and head and looking toward the ceiling. Keep your buttocks firm, tuck your pubic bone in toward your belly button. Hold for 15 to 30 seconds.
Take a deep breath and lift your body up, bending your back as much as possible without hurting yourself. Breathe normally and hold the pose for 30 to 60 seconds. Exhale and bring your body back to the ground, stretching your arms back in front of you. Repeat 10 times with a 15-minute break between each repetition, working up to repeating for a total of 30.
10. Sun Salutation
The Sun Salutation or Surya Namaskar is a combination of 12 different positions to tone and tighten the entire body. It’s a way to bring a lot of poses together into one continuous movement and a brilliant way to start the day.
Start in Prayer Pose, with your feet together, back straight, and hands in prayer position. Inhale, lifting your arms over your head and arching your back slightly. Exhale, centering to prayer position then lowering your palms to the floor or your ankles, whatever you can reach, keeping your back straight and chest lifted.
Next, lift your head and gaze forward. Place your palms on the ground and place your right foot behind you, bending your left knee and keeping the left foot flat on the ground. Next, move into plank pose by sending your left leg to meet your right leg. Keep your hands under your shoulders and your tailbone inline with the rest of your body. Inhale deeply and hold this pose.
When you exhale, drop your knees slowly, then bring your elbows into your sides, lowering your chest and chin to the ground. Your stomach, thighs, and shins should remain elevated with your toes, knees, hands, chest, and chin on the ground.
Next, move into an upward-facing dog by sliding your body into the ground, lifting your chest and straightening your arms. Keep your shoulders dropped, lifting your abdomen and pressing your feet and legs into the mat. Inhale, holding the pose.
On exhale, transition to downward facing dog by tucking your toes and lifting your hips off the mat. Bring the chest toward your thighs with your hands on the ground, lengthening your arms and shoulders. Press your heels into the mat as much as you can, engaging your thighs and core.
Inhale and return to a lunge position, bending your right knee under your chest with your left leg straight out behind you. When you inhale, return to standing forward bend by bringing the left leg forward to meet the right and straightening the legs. Keep your hands on the ground or at the ankles.
Next, reverse dive back into an upward salute, spreading the arms wide and lifting the body up into a slight backbend. Inhale, bringing your arms overhead. Then, exhale, returning to prayer pose.
Obviously, Sun Salutation is a workout for the entire body. Focus on posture and keeping the abs tight to benefit your core.
Final Word on Yoga for Belly Fat
A lot of people do yoga for mental and spiritual benefits, using it as a tried and true way to meditate, center, and de-stress. It’s effective at lowering blood pressure and a good way to stretch and stay active. `
That said, one of the great things about yoga is that it is such a powerful physical workout, too. The right sequence tones your entire body, and including poses like the ones we listed here can help melt away belly fat, fast.
The best part about yoga practice is that you can adjust your routine depending on how skilled you are. When applicable, we included instructions for beginners and how you can ramp up each pose as you advance. No matter how much experience you have, these poses will help you tone your core and eliminate body fat. Whether you try yoga at home or take a yoga class, keep it up, and, with regular practice, you should see less stubborn belly fat in as little as a month.