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Beginner Yoga Poses for Weight Loss: Full Body Workout – The Stability Set

Beginner Yoga Poses for Weight LossThere are many different beginner yoga poses for weight loss that you can use as a daily workout routine to burn fat and calories. I have chosen these 7 for their simplicity – it’s easy to get into each pose and they can be modified into Dynamic versions to give you a good full body workout.

I have added on a Flow version as well for those who want to do the basic poses in a sequential manner. Together, these 7 will help you find a solid starting foundation for your yoga practice – hence the name “The Stability Set”.

Stability, balance and focus are important when starting out any yoga poses. In any pose, you have to be able to align and ground yourself so that you won’t hurt yourself and reap the highest benefits of each pose. These 7 will help you find your personal center of gravity so you can progress to more fluid poses.

Try these poses for yourself and leave your comments to let me know if these work as well for you as it does for me.

1 Mountain PosePose 1:
Mountain Pose (Tadasana)
I always start with a firm pose like Mountain to form a solid foundation for my session. For this one, the dynamic version gives you a wonderful warm-up to loosen up your muscle and prepare you for the standing poses.

Benefits:
* Improves posture and stability
* Stretches the body
* Calms the mind and prepare the body

Basic Pose
* Stand straight with your feet together, ankles slightly touching. Point your toes forward with your arms at your side.
* Make sure your entire body is in a straight line – pull back your buttocks, squeeze your thighs and have your tailbone pointing down.
* Inhale and lift your arms above your head. Interlace your fingers. Stretch up, up, up and finally tiptoe to go higher. Pull your belly in, feeling the stretch at the torso.
* Hold for 5 count then exhale and drop your shoulders down.

Beginner’s Modification
* You can start off with your back against the wall to ensure your back is straight.

Weight Loss Dynamic Pose
* Instead of holding the pose for 5 counts, repeat the movements 12 times – inhale as your go up, exhale as you release.
* Do 3 sets of 12 counts


2 Chair PosePose 2:
Chair Pose (Utkatasana)
This is a great pose as it gives your whole body a cardio boost. Immediately after the first set, it gets the heart pumping. As we use the abdominal muscles and thighs to support the movement, it really tones the lower part of the body. Do it slowly at first, focusing on your breath and making sure the movement is controlled. When you get better at it, you can speed it up.

Benefits:
* Firms up the butt and thighs
* Stretches your torso, arms and shoulders
* Works on the abdominal organs and diaphragm
* Opens up the chest and heart
* Steadies the mind, enhancing focus

Basic Pose
* Stand straight with your feet together, ankles touching. Point your toes forward with your arms aligned at your side.
* Inhale and lift your arms above your head, palms facing each other.
* Exhale and lower your hips for about 45 degrees if you can – as if you are about to sit on a chair. Keep your abs tight to support your back and gaze forward.
* Do this for 5 counts of breath (inhale/exhale slowly 5 times, making sure your breath reaches your belly).

Beginner’s Modification
* You can start off with your back against the wall so that your back is straight.
* As you bend forward, inch away from the wall so that only your tailbone touches the wall.
* If you feel uncomfortable with your arms straight up, lower it to 45 degrees – make sure this helps to keep your balance.

Weight Loss Dynamic Pose
* Instead of 5 counts of breath, go up from Mountain and down into Chair pose for 12 counts
* Inhale as you raise your arms.
* Exhale as you sit back into Chair pose.
* Do 3 sets of Dynamic Chair pose with 12 counts for each set.


3 Standing Pigeon PosePose 3:
Standing Pigeon Pose
You can flow easily into this pose after Chair pose and it helps to further tighten up those thigh muscles. It really works to open up the lower body and the dynamic version really revs you up. This will test your stability and balance, so work on finding your centre of gravity.

Benefits:
* Opens up the hips
* Firms up the thighs
* Tightens the lower belly
* Builds stability and balance
* Improves concentration

Basic Pose
* Go into Chair pose. Hold it there for 3 breaths.
* Then lift your left leg up and set it onto your right thigh.
* Touch your palms together and hold this pose for 5 breaths.

Beginner’s Modification
* If you find that you keep losing balance, you can lightly place your hands on a chair in front of you.

Weight Loss Dynamic Pose
* Instead of holding the pose, alternate between left and right legs.
* In your Chair pose, start by lifting your left leg and placing it onto your right thigh.
* Release, then lift your right leg and place it on your left thigh.
* Do 3 sets of 12 counts.


4 Forward BendPose 4:
Forward Bend (Uttanasana)
This is a simple pose that comes with many benefits. When you can do the full pose, it can be a very relaxing pose. However, when you are first starting out, it may feel weird to have your head pointing down with blood rushing to your face. If you feel a little light-headed at first, slowly go into the pose and hold for shorter counts. You can also do a half bend instead of going all the way.

Benefits:
* Stretches and strengthens the legs: thighs, knees, calves, hamstrings
* Releases stress from the hips and shoulders
* Improves digestion
* Relieves symptoms of menopause
* Reduces fatigue and anxiety

Basic Pose
* Stand in Mountain pose but with hands on your sides.
* Exhale and bend forward – make sure you use your hip joints to roll forward.
* Bend as far as you can until your torso touches your legs.
* Hold your ankles or place your palms on the floor.
* Hold this pose for 5 breaths.

Beginner’s Modification
* If you can’t bend very far, it is ok to bend your knees a little.
* It is also fine to do a half bend (your torso is bent 90 degrees with the spine straight), with arms stretched out in front of you.

Weight Loss Dynamic Pose
* For the dynamic version, you can come up and down from the bend.
* Exhale to bend and touch the floor with the tip of your fingers, then inhale back into standing position.
* Do this 12 times, and go for 3 sets.


5 Garland PosePose 5:
Garland Pose (Malasana)
This pose transitions you to the final two seated poses. It’s also a wonderful pose to rest up the legs and the back after the previous few poses.

Benefits
* Opens the hips
* Tighten inner thighs and hip flexors
* Improves flexibility, balance and focus
* Increases circulation and blood flow to the pelvis
* Relaxes the mind

Basic Pose
* Stand in Mountain pose with hands on your sides.
* Come into Forward Bend again.
* Bend your knees all the way until you are squatting and hugging your knees.
* Place your palms on the floor to balance yourself.
* Make sure the balls of your feet are firmly on the ground.
* Open up your thighs to either side so that they are shoulder-width apart.
* Bring your upper arms to the inside of your knees and put your palms together in prayer position.
* Hold this pose for 5 breaths.

Beginner’s Modification
* If you need balance, you can keep your palms on the floor and forgo the prayer position.
* You can also hold your ankles by leaving your arms on the outer side of your knees.

Weight Loss Dynamic Pose
* I like to ‘flap’ my thighs, tapping them together to make a movement. I find that it helps to give the inner thighs a good workout and loosen the muscles there. It does take some effort though, so I do it slowly at first and build up speed when the muscles are loosened up.
* If the thigh flapping is too challenging for you, keep the legs there and work out your arms instead. Bring them straight in front of you and make cutting motions by criss-crossing your arms.
* Do this 12 times, and go for 3 sets.


6 Boat PosePose 6:
Boat Pose (Navasana)
This pose is really rather simple, but holding it or doing the dynamic version can be a challenge. I assure that you will really feel the burn even during the first set. Do what you can, and always use your ab muscles to control your movement as this is the best pose to strengthen and tone up the belly area.

Benefits:
* Activates and strenghten the abs and hips flexors
* Firms up hamstrimgs
* Stretches your spine
* Stimulate intestines, kidney and thyroid
* Build endurance

Basic Pose
* Sit down and stretch your legs on the floor.
* Inhale and raise both legs off the floor until it’s 45 degrees from the floor. Activate your abdominal muscles here to hold pose – if you use your thigh muscles only, you will quickly tire yourself.
* Ensure spine is straight and your buttocks are firmly flat on the floor to support your balance.
* Point your arm straight in front of you.
* Hold this pose for 5 breaths.

Beginner’s Modification
* If you find that you keep losing balance, you can lightly place your hands behind you.
* It’s OK if you can’t do a perfect 45 degrees. Just lift your legs as high as you can, but make sure your spine is straight and your abs activated. You can even bend your knee slightly – but not too much, because we want to work the abs.

Weight Loss Dynamic Pose
* Instead of holding the pose, we will lift our legs up and down to work the lower belly muscles.
* In the Boat pose, place your arms behind you. This will support you throughout the dynamic pose. Keep your legs up.
* Now, lower your legs, but don’t touch the floor. Then raise it up again.
* Do this for 12 counts (up=1 count, down=1 count). Go for 3 sets, if you can.


7 Bridge PosePose 7:
Bridge Pose (Setu Bandhasana)
This pose can help you relax the back, and it is particularly good for those who spend long hours seated at a desk in front of a computer. I find that we get progressively more flexible with our backs when we do this frequently. It also activates the leg muscles very well.

Benefits:
* Opens up the chest and shoulders
* Stretches the spine, abs and thighs
* Prepares you for backbends
* Increases lung capacity
* Helps improve digestion
* Improves stability at the core

Basic Pose
* Lie down on your back, keep everything in a straight line.
* Bend your knees, placing your feet firmly on the floor and arms on the side.
* Inhale and lift up your buttocks. Draw the tailbone to the floor and roll your shoulders back. Here you can keep your hands planted on your side or clasp it underneath you.
* If you want to go higher, you can draw your legs closer to your buttocks by lightly clasping your ankles.
* Hold for 5 breaths then release, coming back down.

Beginner’s Modification
* If you are unable to lift your buttocks up due to an inflexible back, just go as high as you can manage. Even a slight lift off the mat will do.
* If you can’t hold the pose, you can use a block underneath your lower back to support you. Ensure that you feel a pull at your torso.

Weight Loss Dynamic Pose
* Instead of holding the pose, we will lift our torso up and down.
* Inhale to lift, exhale to set your body back down.
* Do this for 12 counts (up=1 count, down=1 count). Go for 3 sets.


Stability Set: The Dynamic Flow 
You can turn the 7 poses into a flowing sequence instead. Start with the first one, inhale to go into it, then exhale to release. You don’t have to hold for 5 counts. Now continue with the second and all the way to the seventh one. These 7 poses aren’t chosen randomly, so make sure you do them according to the sequence shown above.

Poses 4 and 5 are transitional poses from standing to sitting, so feel free to take a breather during these poses – between each pose, pause for 3 breaths to reestablish yourself, and then continue to the next pose. Do 10-12 sets – that would take about 15-25 minutes, depending on how fast or slow you go.

* Stand straight. Prepare for the first pose. Takes 5 breaths.
* Go into Pose 1/Mountain, stretch up, release and lower yourself into Pose 2/Chair.
* From Chair, go into Pose 3/Standing Pigeon: left leg on right thigh first, then switch to right leg on left thigh.
Come back up into Mountain. Then bend forward into Pose 4/Forward Bend. You can catch a breather here for 3 counts.
* Then lower yourself to to Pose 5/Garland. Hold it for 3 counts to reestablish yourself. Then lean back and release the legs to a sitting position with your legs bent.
* Come into Pose 6/Boat upon inhalation. As you exhale, lie back.
* Come into Pose 7/Bridge. Inhale to go up. Exhale to come back down.
* Rest for 3 counts. Then roll yourself up to a sitting position or come into a squat. (It’s easier to stand up into Mountain again from a squat.)
* From the seated or squatting position, come back into Pose 1 again.
* Repeat 10-12 times.
* End the yoga flow session after the last Pose 7/Bridge. Lay on your back, release all tension, and relax here for 5 minutes.

Full Body Yoga Workout for Weight Loss - The Stability Set. Click image for larger view.

Full Body Yoga Workout for Weight Loss – The Stability Set. Click image for larger view. You can print this out and have it with you when you do the session or just load it up on your smart phone or tablet.

30 Comments

  1. Yoga for weight loss, it makes sense. I should do a video of me trying these positions, I might just become a You Tube sensation hahaha, on a serious note, I believe that if you create a positive balance within your body you allow and encourage the bodies natural process of burning those extra calories. I will have a laugh but I’m going to give this a try.

  2. Hi there Lily,

    I practice Yoga on a weekly basis and one of the most challenging pose I find is the Navasana. Every time I raise my legs at a 45 degree angle, my upper body will start to tremor.

    I noticed that the other students don’t do that. I can’t even hold more than 5 breaths unless I use my arms to sort of clasp the side of the legs.

    Is this normal and are there better ways to improve on this pose? Thanks for your advice.

  3. Hi Lily
    Thank you for such a good post!
    I don’t have many time to exercise myself and this 7 poses seems to be relaxing and easy to follow.
    Maybe it helps me to focus and to balance my body and mind because I’m really anxious!
    I took notes to make the poses later and I will get back to you!
    Thank you very much
    Alex

  4. I have tried yoga in the past and preferred to go for higher-intensity exercises. However, now that I am getting older (in my 40s) I am looking for something a bit gentler, but which will still benefit me. I like the look of the poses you have shown, but due to a knee injury I wouldn’t manage the Standing Pigeon Pose. Is there something else I could replace it with, which would give me a similar benefit? I am definitely going to try the other ones.

  5. I like the idea to do yoga poses and help weight loss.
    I’ve never tried yoga before so I think the beginner version would be right for me. But do you think an exercise as relaxed as yoga could help lose some weight? I really hope so.
    I would try these yoga poses and would keep you posted how easy or difficult I find them.
    Thank you for sharing these with us.
    Ellie

  6. I really enjoyed this article! The older I get, the less I am interested in aerobics and the more I am interested in yoga. I have tried other routines and for just a few minutes a day, they made a tremendous difference in my posture, balance and shape, so I know it works.

    I am not familiar with some of these poses. I tried all of them as I was reading the article! The hardest ones for me were number 4 and number 6. I don’t know why, but number 4 was almost impossible for me to get my head close to my legs! I must seriously need to stretch those legs! Thanks for sharing! I am going to save this one and keep trying!

  7. All these 7 poses may look simple and easy for those already long into Yoga but definitely it’s a challenge for newbies like me. Are they suitable for kids about 7 years old to practise ? I might want my kids to try them out too. Good for their standing position and their general well being too if that is suitable for them to start young.

  8. This is just what I needed. I was planing on starting yoga for weight loss next week. But changed my mid because I didn’t really have a good understanding of it. Nor did I know which exercises to do. That would effectively help me lose weight. But your post has changed all of that and I thank you so muc.

    Do you recommend going to a gym or doing it at home? Also do you recommended any good quality yoga mats?

  9. This page is very detailed and provides all the information needed to help start a workout regime with beginning yoga poses. I like the modifications section listed for each pose and how each pose has rep counts. Unlike other sites that simply list the pose and provide a picture, this site lists what you need to do, the benefits associated with the pose, and a workout regime that tells you how many recommended reps to do. Great job and thank you!

  10. Awesome and detailed list of Yoga poses! It’s a perfect overview for beginners. I think I will print it out and hang it on my wall. Pretty sure my wife will love it. Yoga for weight loss is an interesting subject. Hope you get a lot of readers. 🙂 Andreas

  11. Hello,
    This is a nice yoga workout for weightloss. Very nice article! I have never tried yoga but after I have read your article I will definetely try a yoga workout at home or outside.
    Normally Im doing fitness workouts but Yoga seems to be fun too.
    Have a nice day.

  12. I enjoyed your site very much and really liked how you broke down the yoga lessons from pro to beginner. And your site looked very nice and easy to follow! And I also liked the fact that you put social buttons on it! Also putting the benefits of different teas and braggs cider vinegar by the mother was a nice article as I also use braggs. And your site flowed smoothly, which made it very pleasurable to read!..Bob

  13. Isn’t that fascinating to view a website where weight loss seems so easy that anyone can do it? Although weight loss topic is very popular, yours is nevertheless so natural and relaxing that it can be done by anyone wishing to burn some fat. The wealth of information and the actual exercises that are being performed are great incentives to get on board now. I wish you all the best. Elliot

  14. I Love Yoga and your site makes me want to get back into it, although I don’t need to loose weight. I love the poses and the flow of your page and your photos are very well tied in with the descriptions. I am very much a visual person and need to see things that I am trying to do.. I would love to have a one page printout that I could look at while doing the poses.. like the “circle flow” at the bottom of your page… maybe a future e-book?

  15. Hello Lily, I was just looking at your website and just loved everything it entailed. It was all so well organized that I could not resist going through it a second time.
    I loved how you laid out all the yoga work outs in full detail and even pointed out an alternative way to do them if you are just starting out a beginner.
    I also loved reading about all your smoothy recipes. I might actually try some of the work outs and recipes myself. Lol.
    How often do you do these yoga work outs? Are they actually getting great results from them?

  16. Great information I have always thought yoga to be something women did to relieve stress. But after reading this. I will say i was completely wrong. \I will invest in me a yoga mat and give this a shot.

    Any recommendations?

    This is well will be my first time ever doing yoga.

    • Hi, glad that you are giving yoga a try! It’s for everyone, not just women. 🙂 And, you don’t really need a yoga mat. I do all those poses without one – I just do them on a carpet so that the back poses are more comfortable. Drop me a comment and let me know how it goes!

  17. I have just come across your site and these beginner yoga poses are exactly what I have been looking for. Overweight and flexibility don’t really go hand in hand, so to start with something as gentle as yoga and to work on both issues sounds like the plan for me.

  18. Haha I think this article is perfect for me considering I’m absolutely horrible at yoga haha. Like really bad. Though I am athletic, yoga poses such a challenge for me. I had surgery on my left knee when I was 13 (I;m now 28), hah and it still bothers me. So i’ll see how I can work around that position. Great post for beginners, definitely needed.

  19. Hey Lily!, Fascinating information here. It is my concrete belief that balance from Yoga aligns all your chakras easing the back and forth passage of energy through your energy centers. I currently have a friend who keeps asking me to attend her classes for Hot Yoga and one of these days I swear I will attend. Weigh loss at my age is crucial and with your methods ontop of a solid diet im sure these things can be attained. Thanky you for this wonderful post!

  20. Nice article Lilywph,

    It caught eye because I also have a page for a natural fitness program but a different approach. You article is very well laid out and full of good photos to illustrate your texts. This is something worth keeping and referring to. Thanks for your hard work and dedication

  21. I’ve just recently started getting into yoga as a part of my exercise regime. Right now though, I’m terrible at most of the poses. Some of these poses are things that I can do, but I find a few of them too difficult and or dangerous for me to use (I have a bad knee and have to be very careful with how much pressure the poses put on my joints). From this set of poses I’m unable to do the Garland Pose and the Standing Pigeon Pose. Do you have recommendations for poses that I should do instead of those? Or should I just skip them?

  22. Hi there Lily,

    Excellent article and thank you kindly for sharing it with us.

    Yoga is not easy for beginners, and some of those poses look like I would need some practice and time before I can do them due to a natural lack of flexibility. How long, on average should it take me before I can do those poses without too much difficulty? .

  23. These are amazing! I am VERY new to yoga and quite over weight at this point. My goal is to lose 25 pounds and tighten my stomach by New Years. Do you think this is a realistic goal if I am cutting my calories down to 1200? I tried all of these poses, but I couldn’t do the 7th one. Do you have any alternatives? Thanks!

  24. Awesome post on beginner yoga poses for weight loss!
    I have done some Yoga before in small doses, but I am definitely a beginner.
    The trouble I have had is having step-by-step instructions to follow, but after finding this article, I now do!
    I am bookmarking this page and first thing tomorrow morning I will be following along with these Yoga moves!
    I am really looking forward to it, thanks!

  25. Yoga is great for everybody. I took yoga years ago and I’m ready to sign up for a class again. It is very beneficial. This time I want to lose weight with yoga. I’ll start easy and not push it. You show many poses here that can be helpful for more than just losing weight. Is hot yoga too intense and what does it involve?

  26. Fantastic! I’ve recently had to drop my weekly yoga class due to a change in schedule so I’ve been looking for sequences I can do at home in a short amount of time. This looks like a nice little warm up flow, is it suitable to be done first thing in the morning?

  27. Yoga is very good for you. I just started taking yoga again since I moved out of state. It’s been a while and I recognize some of the poses. I just bought a new yoga mat and I want to try doing them at home but I will probably join a yoga class. Some of the poses are difficult for me such as the boat pose, but I’ll get used to it. I want yoga to help me relax but mostly to aid in weight loss.

  28. These are cool tips! I’m gonna give this a try. These are definitely a good way to stretch your muscles as well. I go to the gym often and I believe that I hurt myself in the process because I don’t do a lot of stretching before the workout that’s why it takes longer to heal my sore muscles after a tough workout. But I feel like these yoga poses can do a lot of help in finding our stability in our core and also the breathing exercises that goes with these poses will be beneficial as well. Thanks a lot!

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