Stress Less, Burn More: Yoga Workouts That Blast Fat

Source: Thinkstock

Source: Thinkstock

Yoga has endless benefits, including the ability to add flexibility and feel less stressed. It can also be a great way to increase your heart rate and burn calories. But, like all exercise, in order to achieve a fat-blasting workout, you’re going to have to crank up the intensity and push yourself. Ready to feel lean and limber? Here are three yoga workouts that create an optimal calorie burn.

1. 500 calorie burner

Inspired by a Fitness yoga routine, this workout lasts an hour and burns about 500 calories.

Start with the sun salutation series. You’ll begin in mountain pose, where you stand tall with your feet together and arms at your sides. Breathing deeply, raise your arms straight and reach toward the sky. From here, exhale, sweeping your arms sideways. Bend at the hips until your fingertips or palms reach the ground on either side of your feet. Keep our fingers in line with your toes. Keeping your feet together, place your fingertips on the ground near the outer edges of your feet, in line with your toes. Inhale while lifting your torso halfway up, keeping your back flat. Look forward, reaching your tailbone away from the top of your head. Finally, bend your knees, placing palms flat on the ground and about shoulder-width apart, jump both feet back, landing in a downward dog position.

Add on the half push-up series. From downward dog, get on all fours, aligning your knees on the ground under your hips and keep your hands directly below your shoulders. Keeping your abs pulled in and your head aligned with your spine, bend elbows about 45 degrees in a half push-up, arms close to your sides. Straighten your arms and repeat four to six times before returning to downward dog.

Add on the lunge jump. From downward dog, step your left leg forward between your hands, bending your left knee 90 degrees while keeping your right leg straight. Hold for a few breaths, then switch legs, jumping your left leg back and your right leg forward. Repeat four to six times and return to downward dog.

Add on the warrior series. From downward dog, step your left foot forward between hands, bending your left knee 90 degrees with foes facing forward. Keep your right leg straight and lift your upper body. Raise your arms overhead next to your ears and hold for three to five breaths. Then straighten your left leg while lowering your arms, keep your palms in and your right heel lifted. Repeat four to six times. Return to the warrior pose, then to downward dog. Repeat on the opposite side, ending in downward dog.

The last move in the series is chair with a twist. From downward dog go into mountain pose. Then, bend your knees, pushing your butt back. Bring your palms together in front of your chest and bend forward, pressing your right upper arm against the outside of your left thigh as you twist your upper body to the left. Hold for one to two breaths, then come back to the center and twist to the right. Continue alternating sides, four to six times in each direction, then stand.

Each full sequence should take about 15 minutes. Repeat four to five times.

Source: Thinkstock

Source: Thinkstock

2. Power yoga sequence

“This flowing power yoga sequence by David Magone, founder of PranaVayu Yoga in Boston, will raise your heart rate while introducing you to relaxation and meditative techniques that you can use off the mat,” according to Women’s Health.

Begin with an extended side angle pose. Step your right foot forward to a warrior II position from downward dog. Keep your right leg bent and either stack your right arm on your right leg or place your right hand on the floor near the inside of your right foot. Keep the sides of your torso long and extend your left arm over the left ear, creating a long line from the outside of your left foot. Extend with your inhales, and hold for 10 breaths. Repeat on the other side, and move back to downward dog.

From downward dog, you’ll go into the revolved side angle pose. Lift your right foot into the air and step it forward between your hands. Keep your left heel up and bend your right knee. Sweep your arms up overhead into the crescent lunge. Square your hips to the front of the mat and lift them away from your thighs. Place your hands in a prayer position at your chest, lift your belly up and in and twist to the right. Cross your left elbow over your right leg and gently twist your torso to the right. Hold for 10 breaths, repeat on the other side and move into downward dog.

The final move in this shortened Women’s Health-inspired workout is the eagle pose. Inhale and step your feet forward to your hands from downward dog, lifting onto your fingertips to lengthen your spine. Exhale and fold forward. Inhale, bend your knees and reach your arms overhead into a chair pose. Cross your right arm under your left, and bend your arms, placing your palms together. Cross your right leg over the top of your left leg and hook your ankles if you can. To help balance in this pose, fix your eyes on one point and breathe deeply for 10 full breaths. To release, uncurl your arms and reach them overhead. Draw your right knee to your chest and straighten the standing leg. With your arms still extended overhead, step your foot into a warrior II position.

Repeat this sequence four to five times.

Source: Thinkstock

Source: Thinkstock

3. Stress relieving moves

Weigh less and beat stress with these Fitness yoga moves.

Begin with a kickstand tap. Start in chair pose by standing with feet together and arms extended overhead with your palms facing each other. Sink into a squat, and as you hinge forward slightly from the hips, reach your arms diagonally upward. Maintaining your squat, lift your left foot off the mat and quickly extend your leg behind you to tap the mat. Immediately return to start. Do 20 reps, switch sides, and repeat.

Move into high heel. Starting in the chair pose again, raise both heels off of the mat, lowering your arms directly in front of you at shoulder level as your rise onto your tiptoes. Do three pulses, lowering your butt 2 inches toward your heels and rising again. Lower your heels and return to the chair pose. Do 10 reps.

Time for the side slide. Start in tree pose by standing with your palms pressed together in front of your chest, and bend your right knee out to the side, placing the sole of your right foot on the inner thigh of your left leg. Bend your left knee to lower into a squat as you extend your right leg out to the side, sliding it out on the floor, with toes pointing forward. Immediately return to the tree pose, tapping your right sole on the left inner thigh before quickly repeating the move. Do 20 reps, switch sides, and repeat.

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