Keeping up the vitality in your body through increased energy will not only make your body look young, it will also start to feel young.

These yoga poses aim to boost your metabolism while helping you achieve a youthful being.

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Plow is most effective in near the end of class, when your body is thoroughly warm. Because Plow compresses your throat, it is believed to stimulate your thyroid gland, increasing metabolism, along with strengthening your abs while stretching your glutes, lower back, and hamstrings.

GETTING INTO THE POSE

Lying on your back, use your abdominals to bring your legs over your head. Support your lower back with your hands as you slowly straighten your legs and place your toes on the floor.

HOLDING THE POSE

Keep your legs straight. If your feet don’t touch the floor, support your lower back with your hands. Breathe into your throat.

MODIFICATIONS

Reminder: People with certain conditions should not attempt this pose. Ask your doctor which inversions are appropriate for you.

Practice Legs Up Against Wall as an alternative.

If your toes don’t reach the floor, place the tops of your feet on a chair.

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Shoulder Stand is an inversion that follows Plow Pose. Like Plow, this pose is believed to stimulate the thyroid gland, increasing metabolism. Always follow with Knees-to-Chest, and it will strengthen your upper and lower back, abs, and glutes, while stretching your shoulders and chest.

GETTING INTO THE POSE

From Plow pose, bend your knees and support your back with your hands as you lift your legs to the sky. Don’t move your head or neck.

HOLDING THE POSE

Keep a slight bend at the waist and knees for less pressure on your neck. Breathe into your throat.

MODIFICATIONS

Reminder: People with certain conditions should not attempt this pose. Ask your doctor which inversions are appropriate for you.

Practice Legs Up Against Wall as an alternative.

Take it to the next level: Straighten your legs and continue lifting them to the sky until your body is perpendicular to the floor. For less pressure on your neck, keep a slight bend at the waist. Don’t move your head or neck.

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This pose will help strengthen your legs, ankles, shoulders, and back while it tones your entire body, especially your core. It also encourages better posture and helps to stabilize balance.

GETTING INTO THE POSE

Standing in Mountain Pose, bring your hands to heart center. Start bringing your right leg behind you and tipping your upper body forward so that it is parallel to the floor.

HOLDING THE POSE

Engage your core.

If you’d like, extend your arms out from your shoulders or out to your sides.

Hold for 10 to 20 deep breaths. Switch legs.

MODIFICATIONS

Do this pose against the wall.

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Half Moon pose is a standing yoga posture that will challenge your leg muscles and your ability to balance. This pose will strengthen your ankles and thighs, will stretch your hamstrings, obliques, and hip abductors, and will improve your balance, concentration, and core strength.

While you will have the additional use of your hand in this balance pose, you will experience the added challenge of holding your spine parallel (or nearly) to the floor.

GETTING INTO THE POSE

From standing Forward Fold, raise your back leg level with your hip. Place your forward fingertips on the floor directly beneath your shoulder and your back hand on your hip.

HOLDING THE POSE

If balanced, roll your chest toward the sky and extend your top arm overhead. If you are balanced, look up to your top hand. Stay focused, breathing deeply. Switch sides.

MODIFICATIONS

If your hamstrings are tight, use a block under your lower hand. People with shoulder instability and rotator cuff injuries may want to avoid this pose.

Take it to the next level: Enter Half Moon from Warrior III. Bend your standing leg as necessary for balance and control as you transition.

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A powerful standing balance pose, Tree will force you to use all the muscles in your legs and engage your core. This pose will strengthen your legs, abdominals, and glutes as well as your powers of concentration. This popular balance pose promotes poise and calm.

Visualize yourself as a tree, rooting down through your standing leg and expanding upward and outward like branches through your arms. Play with your arm and foot positions until you find a steady place to hold and breathe.

GETTING INTO THE POSE

Balance on one leg. Bring your opposite foot onto your standing ankle, calf, or inner thigh, avoiding your knee. Bring your hands into the prayer position, or raise your arms overhead and look up.

HOLDING THE POSE

Lift up through the crown of your head while firmly rooting through your standing foot. Contract your abs and level your hips. Switch sides. Finding a focal point helps.

MODIFICATIONS

If you have difficulty balancing, place the toes of your raised leg on the mat, or stand next to a wall for support. People with knee problems should use caution.

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Another valuable energizer, Standing Backbend allows us to experience backbends in a particularly safe way, as you can really contract your glutes and extend out of your lower back.

This pose will strengthen your glutes and lower back, and it will stretch your chest, shoulders, hip flexors, and abdominals. This pose will also improve flexibility in your spine.

GETTING INTO THE POSE

Move slowly. Firm your glutes and place your hands or fists on the bony points
alongside your spine. Push your hips forward and lift your chest to the sky.

HOLDING THE POSE

Lift out of your lower back, drawing your elbows back to expand your chest. Without
dropping your head back, look up toward the sky.

MODIFICATIONS

People recovering from a lower back injury should use caution. If your neck fatigues, look forward, tucking your chin slightly.

Excerpted from YogaLean: Poses and Recipes to Promote Weight Loss and Vitality-for Life! by Beth Shaw, Ballantine Books.




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