How can doing yoga reduce belly fat?


WebMD describes Yoga as a complete body holistic workout which

  • Tones and tightens muscles
  • Relaxes and calms mind

With over 100 yoga postures ranging from simple to complex, everybody can incorporate Yoga in their daily routine.

What is belly fat?

Belly fat is stubborn. Easy to put on, difficult to lose. Belly fat is the accumulation of fat around the abdominal area. This happens mainly due to excessive eating and too little movement. Belly fat is of two types - –subcutaneous fat and visceral fat.

Subcutaneous fat accumulates under the skin. It is harmless but increases inches of your belly.

Visceral fat is the fat lining the internal organs. It is an essential fat which protects internal organs from damage. But if it increases, it is difficult to shed. It secretes compounds which lead to inflammation and increase disease risk. Again sedentary lifestyle, processed or junk food and hormones contribute to increase in visceral fat.

Facts and Figures of belly fat

  1. Belly fat secretes proteins and hormones that worsen cholesterol, blood sugar, blood pressure and triglycerides. Increases insulin resistance which helps break down sugar.
  2. Catechins, a compound in green tea boosts the body’s calorie and fat burning mechanism.
  3. Higher stress, bigger waist. Stress activates the hormone Cortisol, which gives you strong cravings for junk, processed and high calories food.
  4. Subcutaneous fat is more stubborn.
  5. Abdominal exercises do not cut fat
  6. Intense exercise is not necessary for reducing belly fat
  7. Calorie counting does not help
  8. Certain foods like Turmeric or Apple Cider Vinegar can boost belly fat reduction.
  9. Belly fat should be measured in inches and not in weight.
  10. You can eat more and lose belly fat. A dietary plan helps.
  11. Incorporate whole grains in diet to reduce belly fat.
  12. Simple high intense exercises and activity helps reduce belly fat
  13. You can lose belly fat after 40 also
  14. Consuming a healthy amount of good fats are a key to weight loss
  15. Cutting on food or dieting leads to binge eating which leads to belly fat.

Does Yoga reduce belly fat?

The simple answer is – It does aid in reducing belly fat. But reduction in belly fat through will take a longer time and continuous effort.

Yoga does not burn calories as fast as high intensity cardio exercises. One year of regular Yoga practise will decrease visceral fat and overall waist size. You may experience burn doing Yoga but it will not directly remove fat. But it is a good tool to be used with other options of reducing belly fat.

Best Tips

The best tips for burning belly fat through Yoga are –

  1. Diet – Keep a check on your diet. Eat healthy, eat regularly. Do not binge eat, and certainly should do away with junk, processed, oily and fast food.
  2. Exercises – Do undertake high intensity exercises like cardio along with Yoga
  3. Keep a balance of energy intake and energy expenditure.
  4. Find the best Yoga trainers. Visit LiveYogis for holistic Yoga sessions directly in your living room.

Asanas that help reduce belly fat

Kumbhakasan (Board/Plank Pose) – [Pronunciation: Kum-bh-ka-suh-naa]

This asana is a full body workout with primary focus on thighs, buttocks, shoulders, back and belly area and specific for arms, writs and spine. It is also good for core strengthening and toning of abdomen.

In Sanskrit, Kumbhaka means holding of breath.

Scientific Way of Performing this Asana:

  1. Sit on you Yoga mat in the kneeling position. Bend forward and place your hands perpendicular to the mat with palms down. Raise your buttocks with knees on ground in a cat pose.
  2. Stretch both legs and raise your knees. Balance your body weight on your toes and palms.
  3. This is the variation in the plank pose. Inhale and hold your breath as long as you are comfortable.
  4. Your whole body should be straight and should make a upward trajectory with regards to the ground. Keep your hands and legs straight and do not bend knees or elbows.
  5. Release the pose by bending your joints and returning to the kneeling position.
  6. Keep the position for 15 to 20 seconds and release. Perform 5 reps with 15 seconds of break between each rep.

Pavanmuktasana (Wind Ease Pose) – [Pronunciation: Pavan-muk-ta-suh-naa]

The wind easing pose helps to relieve gas which causes bloating. Promotes healthy Ph levels and metabolism.

Scientific Way of Performing this Asana:

  1. Lie straight on your back on your yoga mat.
  2. Lift your knees and bend them at your chest. Exhale while performing this. Hold your knees close to chest by interlocking fingers of your hand.
  3. Hold the position for not more than 60 to 90 seconds. Breathe deliberately.
  4. Release the pose by releasing your fingers and bring your knees back on the ground.
  5. Perform 5 reps with 15 seconds break between each rep.

Naukasana (Boat pose) – [Pronunciation: Nau-kaa-suh-naa]

This asana focuses on back and leg muscles which reduce stored fat in the waist, belly, back, arms and legs.

Scientific Way of Performing this Asana:

  1. Lie down straight on your Yoga mat.
  2. Inhale and raise your legs and upper body from waist creating a 45 degree angle. Keep your back and legs straight.
  3. Variation – Lift your upper body and legs at waist creating a 45 degree angle. Bend your knees a little to straighten them so that they are in the same plane as the head.
  4. Breathe normally while holding the pose for 15 seconds. Perform 5 reps with 15 seconds break between each rep.

Dhanurasana (Bow Pose) – [Pronunciation: Dha-nu-ra-suh-naa]

In Sanskrit, Dhanush is a bow as in the bow and arrow weapon.

This pose strengthens core and tightens abdominal muscles. Stretches body Helps to stimulate digestive system and fights constipation. Helps in reducing belly fat.

Scientific Way of Performing this Asana:

  1. Lie face down on your stomach on your Yoga mat.
  2. Lift your legs at knees and your upper body with both hands stretching backwards to hold legs.
  3. Variation – raise your legs up for maximum stretch.
  4. Exhale while doing this. After in position breath normally and rock your body on the stomach for maximum benefit.
  5. Hold this pose for 15 to 30 seconds. Exhale and return to normal lying down position. Perform 5 reps with 15 seconds break in between each rep.

Bhujangasana (Cobra Pose) – [Pronunciation: Bhu-jan-ga-suh-naa]

This pose strengthens abs muscles to reduce belly fat.

Scientific Way of Performing this Asana:

  1. Lie down on your stomach on your yoga mat. Keep your hands crouched at elbows.
  2. Inhale and lift your upper body from waist up to its maximum stretch. Keep your lower body firmly on ground. Balance your upper body weight on your hands.
  3. Depending your strength, hold this position for 15 to 30 seconds. Breathe normally.
  4. Exhale and return to normal lying down position by lowering your upper body.
  5. Perform 5 reps with 15 seconds break in between each rep.

Pregnant women and people with hernia and/or back injury should not perform this pose.

Uthkatasana (Chair Pose) – [Pronunciation: Ut-ka-ta-suh-naa]

In Sanskrit, Uthkat means intense and asana means pose. So it is an intense asana.

It helps to tone the abs and helps reduce bloating and belly fat.

Scientific Way of Performing this Asana:

  1. Stand straight on your yoga mat. Stretch your arms high in the air in Namaste gesture.
  2. Bend your waist so as to sit in a chair position. As you bend more, your stomach should lean inwards.
  3. Breath normally and hold the position as long as you can or at least for 15 to 30 seconds.
  4. Perform 5 reps with 15 seconds rest in between reps.

Other benefits of these Asanas

All these asanas help to strengthen your back and spine as well as make your limbs supple.

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