Yoga Exercises to Lose Belly Fat

Although the primary purpose of yoga practice, as it is outlined in its ancient Indian origins, is to liberate humans from all forms of suffering, there are some concrete benefits to the practice as well. One of these is the ability of certain yoga poses in particular to help you lose belly fat.

Seated Forward Bend

The Seated Forward Bend, or Paschimottanasana in Sanskrit, gives a powerful massage to the abdominal muscles. In addition to helping you lose belly fat, this exercise tones all the digestive organs, improving your digestion. To do it, sit up, keeping your legs together and straight in front of your body, with your toes flexed toward your body. Inhale. Stretch both arms up over your head, parallel to your ears. Stretch your spine upward as much as you can. Keep your legs and back as straight as you can. If you are unable to reach your toes, hold onto your ankles, shins or even knees. Keep your knees straight and try to bring your chest as close to your thighs as you can. Hold the pose for 10 to 30 seconds. Inhale and stretch your body forward and upward until your arms and fingers point toward the ceiling. Relax your arms. Do this exercise at least four times a week for the best results in losing belly fat.

Bow Pose

In Bow Pose, known as Dhanurasana in Sanskrit, this yoga exercise gives you a full backward bend, which massages the back muscles and alleviates rheumatism. Regular practice of the bow pose (at least four times per week for 30 seconds at a time) can help you lose belly fat, stimulate your digestive system to perform better and is also helpful for those with diabetes (as it helps regulate the pancreas).

To do the Bow Pose, lie on your abdomen with your forehead on the ground. Bend your knees, bringing your feet up. Allow your knees to separate slightly. Reach back with both hands to grab hold of your respective ankles. Inhale as you raise your head, chest and thighs off the floor. Make sure your elbows stay straight. Arch your body up as much as you can, so that the entire weight of your body is on your stomach. Hold the pose for 30 seconds. Exhale as you gently bring your knees down to the floor, let go of your legs and rest on the ground.

Half-Seated Spinal Twist

The Half-Seated Spinal Twist is pose is called Ardha Matsyendrasana in Sanskrit. It massages the abdominal muscles, relieving you of constipation and other digestive problems, while enabling you to lose belly fat. Sit up with your legs together straight in front of your body. Bend your left knee; place the left foot flat on the ground outside the right leg. Bring the left arm to the ground behind the back while raising the right arm. Place the right arm over the left side of the left knee. Hold the pose for at least 30 seconds. Practice this exercise at least four times per week to lose belly fat.

About this Author

Ripa Ajmera has been writing for six years. She has written for ABCNews.com, General Nutrition Center (GNC), TCW Finance, Alliance for a New Humanity, Washington Square News and more. She was a Catherine B. Reynolds Scholar from 2006-2008 and graduated from New York University Stern School of Business with an Honors degree in Marketing.