When stress levels are too high, it hinders the body's ability to burn fat. That's where yoga comes in — it's the perfect way to fight off stress, regardless of your level. These easy-to-follow poses do more than just relax; they stimulate the parts of the body responsible for metabolic function. Breathe deep as you try each asana, and start burning more calories and fat with your practice.
Side Fierce Pose
Detox and twist with this variation on Fierce Pose. It brings heat to the whole body and works to release toxins:
- Begin in Fierce Pose. Exhale and cross your right elbow over the outside of the left knee. Press your palms together and actively push your bottom elbow against your thigh to lift and rotate your chest up, increasing the twist. Pull your right hip back slightly, making sure both knees are parallel.
- If you're feeling comfortable and balanced in Side Fierce with your palms together, go for a more advanced shoulder opener. Reach your right hand to the mat, and place your palm flat on the ground. Let your left arm float up towards the ceiling with the palm facing forward.
- Stay for five breaths, then inhale as you press into your feet and lift your torso, rising back into Fierce Pose. If you can, refrain from straightening your legs to keep your quads and glutes engaged.
- Exhale to cross your left elbow over your right outer knee, holding for another five breaths on this side.
Bow Pose draws energy into the core and massages the internal organs responsible for digestion:
- Lie flat on your stomach, pressing your belly button into the ground.
- Bend your knees and grab onto the outside edge of your right ankle, and then your left.
- Once you have a firm hold of each ankle, try to keep your toes together, either pointing or flexing your feet. Now lift your feet up as high as you can, and shift your weight forward so that you're resting on your naval instead of on your pubic bone.
- Hold for five deep breaths and then slowly lower and lie flat. Turn your head to one side and shake your hips from side to side to release your lower back.
Keep reading for two more poses that boost your metabolism.
Half-Wheel Pose is a beginner-friendly inversion that still allows you to reap all the benefits of turning upside down. This big chest opener also stimulates your thyroid, the gland responsible for your metabolism:
- Begin lying flat on your back with your arms along the sides of your body, with your palms facing down.
- Bend your knees and place your feet flat on the floor. Walk your heels as close as you can to your tush, and turn your heels out slightly so the outside edges of your feet are parallel with the outside edges of your mat.
- With your palms and feet pressing firmly into the ground, lift your hips up. Try to keep your thighs parallel.
- Rest your arms on the mat along your torso; hold your ankles if they're close enough, or interlace your hands together in a double fist and roll up onto your shoulders. Inhale and press into your feet and shoulders, lifting your hips into the air.
- Hold like this for five breaths, and as you exhale, lower your hips to the floor slowly.
This variation on the classic spinal twist helps achieve a deep twist in your core. It doesn't hurt that it feels fantastic on a sore lower back or tight hip flexors:
- Lie on your back and cross your right knee in front of your left knee. Wrap your left toes around the back of your right ankle, just like in Eagle Pose.
- Extend your arms out in cactus position with your elbows at right angles, palms facing up.
- Slowly lower both knees to the left. Rest them on the ground, and turn your head to the right.
- Hold here for at least five breaths, feeling your spine lengthen and twist. You may even hear some "cracks."
- Use your abs to lift your knees back to center. Uncross your legs and cross them the opposite way, with your left knee on top. Slowly lower both knees to the right, and look over your left shoulder for another five breaths.