Yoga to reduce belly fat Part 1: 4 asanas that will stretch and contract your core muscles
Your midsection or belly might be the first area where weight gain shows up, but losing this very fat can be one of the most difficult things.
Your midsection or belly might be the first area where weight gain shows up, but losing this very fat can be one of the most difficult things. Sugar, stress, an unhealthy lifestyle and little or no exercise helped create the belly fat that affects every aspect of your health and looks. But what will help you get rid of it?
Of course, you need to make some positive lifestyle changes and cut harmful foods from your diet. But more than anything else, you need exercise. And when it comes to a holistic exercise regimen that’ll show results, yoga is what you need.
According to a study published in Deutsches Ärzteblatt International in 2016, 60 women who tried yoga intervention for 12 weeks to get rid of abdominal obesity were able to do so with success. Practising yoga for 12 weeks also improved their mental and physical well-being.
There are many asanas which target the abdominal area, stretching and contracting the muscles there to great effect. To avoid any injuries, it is recommended that you perform yoga under the guidance of a trained professional. Having said that, here are four asanas that are great for getting a flatter stomach:
1. Uttanasana or standing forward bend
This asana stimulates the abdominal area while also stretching out the back and the hamstrings. If you have a back injury, it’s best to do this pose with bent knees and with the support of a wall.
- Stand straight with your hand at your waist.
- Breathe out as you slowly bend forward from the hips.
- Move your hand to touch the floor with the tips of your fingers. If unable to, try touching the feet, holding the ankles or the opposite elbow with your hands.
- Breathe normally in the pose and try to lengthen and stretch your torso to the maximum.
- Stay in this position for 30 seconds if possible.
- Place your hands on your waist and then raise your torso to return to a standing position without bending your back.
2. Bhujangasana or cobra pose
This asana opens up the chest and shoulders apart from stretching the abdomen. Pregnant women and people with a back injury or carpal tunnel should skip this asana.
- Lie down on your stomach with the upper part of your feet on the mat and toes pointing away from the body.
- Bend your elbows and place your hands on the mat, next to your chest.
- Breathe in as you raise your head and straighten your arms to your push your torso up from the mat.
- Your pelvic region and legs will remain on the mat.
- Hold this position for 10-15 seconds as you gaze upwards.
- Exhale and bend your elbows to lower your torso to the mat.
3. Paschimottanasana or seated forward bend
This seated asana stimulates the abdominal organs and muscles, while also stretching the hamstrings and the back. People with a back injury, diarrhoea and asthma should not perform this asana.
- Sit on the mat with your back straight, your legs stretched out in front of you and feet together.
- Place your hands on your knees without locking your elbows. Keep your toes flexed towards your body.
- Breathe in as you slowly bend forward from your hips. Move your hands down your legs as you bend and try to grasp the big toes with them.
- Hold this position for a few seconds and then slightly bend your elbows to stretch your torso forward. Try touching your forehead to your knees.
- Hold for 10 seconds and then return to the starting position.
4. Dhanurasana or bow pose
This asana stretches out the entire body while engaging the core muscles and the abdomen. Do not try this asana if you have blood pressure issues, migraine or insomnia.
- Lie down on your stomach with your arms beside your body and feet together.
- Bend both the knees and bring your feet towards your buttocks.
- Take your hands back to grab your ankles. Place your chin on the mat and look straight ahead.
- Now curve your back and move your feet higher while still holding onto them. Your chest and thighs will rise off the mat and your head will tilt upwards. Keep your arms straight.
- Hold this pose for 10-15 seconds or for as long as it is comfortable before lowering your chest and thighs back towards the mat.
- Release your ankles and return to the starting position.
This is the first article in a two-part series on yoga to reduce belly fat.
For more information, read our article on Yoga: Benefits, Types, Importance and Rules.
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