Yoga has been gaining increasing popularity over the years with even gym junkies opting for power yoga few times a week in preference to their gym machines and weights. This is not surprising in the least because yoga focuses on maintaining both physical and internal balance. It is also easy to perform and leaves the body holistically refreshed. More often than not, it can be easily performed in the comforts of one’s own home and no extra effort is required. So get out your yoga mat because we bring to you a list of the Top 12 Yoga Asanas to help you shed those extra kilos!

12. Setu Bandhasana or the Bridge Pose:

Starting position:

  • Lie flat on your back on the mat with folded knees, keeping your feet hip distance apart.
  • Make sure that your ankles and your knees are in the same line.
  • Your arms must be kept beside your body, palms facing downward.

Method:

  • While inhaling slowly, gently lift your back off the yoga mat.
  • While doing so, touch your chest to your chin, without bringing your chin down. This means that your entire body weight must be supported by your feet, shoulders and arms.
  • Also ensure that your thighs are parallel to the floor as also to each other.
  • Continue breathing gently.
  • Stay in the position for 40 seconds (this can gradually be increased to about two minutes over time)
  • Finally, come back to the starting position while exhaling slowly.

Benefits:

  • It improves digestion.
  • Completely stretches out the neck, chest, abdomen and spine.

Warning:

Do not perform this pose if you suffer from any kind of neck or back injuries.

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11. Dhanurasana or the Bow Pose:

Starting Position:

  • Lie on your yoga mat on your stomach.
  • Your palms must rest beside your torso, facing upwards.

Method:

  • While exhaling, bend your knees, bringing your heels close to your buttocks.
  • Clasp your ankles with your hands, making sure that your knees are just hip-distance apart.
  • Inhale and simultaneously lift both your heels away from your backside and your thighs away from the floor.
  • Open your chest by pressing your shoulder blades against your back and keep looking forward.
  • Keep breathing throughout.
  • Hold this position for about twenty to thirty seconds and then return to the starting position while exhaling.

Benefits:

  • Stretches out the abdomen and chest, stimulating internal organs.
  • Improves body posture

Warning:

Do not perform this pose if you suffer from blood pressure issues (whether high or low), lower back or neck injury, migraine or insomnia.

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10. Naukasana or the Boat Pose:

Starting Position:

  • Sit on the floor and straighten out your legs before you.
  • Your hands must be slightly behind your hips, pointing in the direction of your feet.

Method:

  • Slightly lean back, lifting through your breastbone and stretching your front torso.
  • Exhale and bend your knees, lifting your feet off the floor. Your thighs must be at a 45 degree angle to the floor.
  • Stretch your arms above your legs, making sure that they are parallel to the floor as also to each other.
  • Begin by holding this pose for at least twenty seconds and gradually increase the duration.

Benefits:

  • Strengthens the abdominal core.
  • Intestines and kidneys are stimulated.
  • Digestion is improved.

Warning:

Do not perform this pose if you are suffering from  headaches, asthma, diarrhoea, heart problems or low blood pressure; if you are pregnant or menstruating.

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9. Pavanmuktasana or the Air-Releasing Pose:

Starting Position:

  • Lie down flat on your back, keeping your legs straight.

Method:

  • Inhale and lift your legs and bend your knees.
  • Clasp both your legs with both your hands and press them against your stomach.
  • Lift your head slightly and try touching your knees with your chin.
  • Hold this position for twenty seconds and then exhale while releasing to get back to the starting position.

Benefits:

  • Relieves constipation.
  • Burns fat in the abdomen and stimulates the abdominal organs, improving digestion.

Warning:

Do not perform this pose if you have ever had an abdominal surgery, if you are pregnant or if you are suffering from hernia or piles.

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 8. Bhujangasana or the Cobra Pose:

Starting Position:

  • Lie on your stomach, forehead touching the floor.
  • Place your palms below your shoulders by bending your elbows, making sure that they are close to the body.
  • Stretch your feet such that your instep touches the floor.

Method:

  • Inhale gently and raise your chest by straightening your arms. Do this till you have raised your entire upper body (till your navel) into a bended curve. Make sure your lower body and shoulders are firm.
  • Hold this position for about twenty seconds and come back to the starting position as you exhale.

Benefits:

  • Stretches the abdomen and the chest, stimulating the abdominal organs.

Warning:

Do not perform this pose if you suffer from any kind of back injury, carpal tunnel syndrome or headache and if you are pregnant.

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 7. Padahastasana or Standing Forward Bend Pose:

Starting Position:

  • Stand upright with your feet hip-distance apart.

Method:

  • Exhale, bend your upper body and touch your feet with your fingers. Gradually, try to place your palms on the floor, keeping your legs absolutely straight.
  • Hold this position for only a few seconds and then return to the starting position.

Benefits:

  • Improves digestion by stimulating the abdominal organs.
  • Calms the heart beat, relieving exhaustion.

Warning:

Do not perform this pose if you suffer from severe back problems or any spinal problem (like a slipped disc).

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6. Paschimottanasana or the Seated Forward Bend Pose:

Starting Position:

  •  Sit on your yoga mat and straighten out your legs in front of you.

Method:

  • Inhale and bend forward from your hips, keeping your torso stretched out.
  • Keep stretching and attempt to hold your feet with your palms.
  • Hold the position for about sixty seconds and then return to the starting position.

Benefits:

  • Improves the digestive process, increases appetite and reduces obesity.
  • Relieves stress, anxiety and fatigue.

Warning:

Avoid performing this pose if you suffer from a back injury.

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5.  Virabhadrasana or Warrior Pose I:

Starting Position:

  • Stand upright.
  • Exhale and make sure your feet are about four feet apart.

Method:

  • Raise your hands in a straight line, perpendicular to the floor and parallel to each other.
  • Turn the foot that is forward by 90 degrees forward and your back foot about 45 degrees backward.
  • Exhale, and rotate your torso in the forward direction.
  • Again exhale, and bend your forward leg such that the shin becomes perpendicular to the floor.
  • Make sure your back foot is firmly on the ground.
  • Hold this position for about 30 seconds for starters and then return to the starting position.
  • Switch the leg and repeat.

Benefits:

  • Stretches your upper body and your back muscles.
  • Strengthens the muscles in the lower body.

Warning:

Do not perform this pose if you suffer from high blood pressure or heart problems.

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4. Adhomukha Svanasana or the Downward Facing Dog Pose:

Starting Position:

  • Sit on the floor on your hands and knees.
  • Make sure that your knees are directly below your hips but your hands are in front of your shoulders.

Method:

  • Exhale and raise your knees from the floor.
  • For beginners, lift your heels away from the floor.
  • Straighten your back away from your pelvic area and lift your hips, facing them towards the ceiling.
  • Exhale and push your front thighs backwards, straightening your knees.
  • Your upper body must be firm and your head must be between your upper arms.
  • Hold for about a minute and then return to the starting position.

Benefits:

  • Improves digestion
  • Cures exhaustion and back pain.

Warning:

Do not perform this pose if you are pregnant, if you suffer from high blood pressure or headaches and diarrhoea or carpal tunnel syndrome.

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3. Ardha Chakrasana or the Half Wheel Pose:

Starting Position:

  • Stand straight, feet comfortably placed and arms by your side.

Method:

  • Inhale and extend your arms over your shoulders and hand, palms facing each other.
  • Exhale and bend backwards, pushing your pelvic forward.
  • Keep both your knees and elbows straight and your arms close to your ears. Your upper body must face the ceiling.
  • Hold the pose for a few seconds and then return to the starting position.

Benefits:

  • Increases lung capacity, improves digestion and stimulates the abdomen
  • Treats the lower back and regulates blood pressure.

Warning:

Do not perform this pose if you suffer from peptic ulcers, hernia, spinal or hip problems and if you are pregnant.

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2. Utkatasana or the Chair Pose:

Starting Position:

  •  Stand upright on the floor.

Method:

  • Stretch your hands up in the air.
  • Bend your knees and sit on an imaginary chair, keeping your thighs parallel to the floor.
  • Hold this position for fifteen seconds and then return to the starting position.

Benefits:

  • Stretches the upper body.
  • Strengthens the upper body organs.

Warning:

Do not perform this pose if you suffer from headaches, insomnia or low blood pressure.

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1.Vasisthasana or the Side Plank Pose:

Starting Position:

  • Lie down on the floor on one side, keeping your legs over each other.

Method:

  • Stretch your lower arm and lift your body, supporting it on that arm.
  • Stretch your upper arm upwards towards the ceiling.
  • Turn your head upwards and look towards the ceiling.
  • Hold the position for around fifteen seconds, return to the starting position and repeat on the other side.

Benefits:

  • Stretches almost the entire body.
  • Improves balance.

Warning:

If you have issues with your wrists, elbows or shoulders, refrain from doing this pose.

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So what are you waiting for? Get ready and set out on this Yogic path to getting your dream body!