Yoga for Menopause: 9 Poses to Improve Weight LossYoga for Menopause: 9 Poses to Improve Weight LossYoga for Menopause: 9 Poses to Improve Weight Loss

Yoga for Menopause: 9 Poses to Improve Weight Loss

How to Lose Weight with Yoga During Menopause

How to Lose Weight with Yoga and cope with Menopause Symptoms

As women approach menopause, they often face challenges related to weight gain and changes in body composition. Hormonal fluctuations can lead to an increase in abdominal fat, reduced muscle mass, and a slower metabolism.

Yoga offers a holistic approach to managing these changes, helping women to stay fit, reduce stress, and maintain a healthy weight. Beyond the physical benefits, yoga provides mental and emotional support during this transitional phase, making it an excellent practice for overall well-being.

Yoga is more than nailing a specific and seemingly impossible pose as seen on social media. It's also more than sitting on a cushion and meditating.

Let's dive into the benefits and poses that will help you on your journey.

Physical Benefits of Yoga

Yoga is known to have many physical benefits, especially for women nearing or entering menopause. It helps to:

  • Increase muscle strength and tone
  • Reduce weight
  • Increase flexibility
  • Lessen chronic pain (arthritis, headaches, carpal tunnel syndrome, lower back pain)
  • Reduce insomnia (goodbye hot flashes!)
  • Lower blood pressure
  • Increase energy and mood

Mental Benefits of Yoga

And for many, the mental benefits are even more important (and surprising):

  • Reduces stress and anxiety
  • Creates mental clarity and calmness
  • Improves outlook on life
  • Sharpens focus and concentration

More and more studies have shown that Yoga can be an effective way to lower your weight, body fat, and BMI. Practicing Yoga regularly can lead to healthier eating, including lower fat intake and an increase in vegetables and whole grains.

Researchers found that people who practiced yoga for at least 30 minutes once a week for at least four years, gained less weight or actually lost weight and overall had a lower BMI compared to those who did not practice Yoga. Researchers attributed this to mindfulness. Mindful eating can lead to a more positive relationship with food and most importantly, portion control.

So we know that yoga has great benefits, but what if you don’t have time for a full hour of class each day? The great news is that you can add nine simple poses to your daily routine to help you lose weight.

These nine poses will help to tone, strengthen, and detox, shaping up your body so that it can reach its peak performance.

The top 9 yoga poses for weight loss are:

1. Spinal Twists - Matsyendrasana

You can choose between seated Lord of the Fish Pose (Matsyendrasana) or Reclined Lord of the Fish Pose (Supta Matsyendrasana).

Spinal Twists - Yoga pose for Menopause

The seated version is more active, as you can use your arms to help you deepen the stretch. Whereas, the reclined version is more passive, letting gravity do the work. Either way, this pose is designed to twist your entire spine and give your internal organs a gentle squeeze, supporting them in an internal detox. Twists also tone and lengthen the abdominal muscles and help to release any stored tension in the lower back. Not only is this therapeutic for the muscles, but it also helps to melt away any stress in the body and mind.

How to do Matsyendrasana:

  1. Sit on the floor with your hips firmly planted, legs extended long, and spine growing tall. Take your left foot to the outside of your right knee and plant it on the ground.
  2. Reach your arms to the sky, use your abs to twist your chest to the right, then release your right arm to the floor behind you and your left arm can wrap around the bent knee.
  3. Hold it here and breathe, looking back over your right shoulder as you do so, and perhaps deepening the twist on each exhale.
  4. After five to ten deep breaths, gently release and then take the stretch on the other side.

To try the reclined twist version:

  1. Simply lay down on your back. Plant your shoulders firmly on the floor beneath you.
  2. Bend both knees up into your chest, then let them fall to the right side. Holding it here and breathing, with your arms extended wide.
  3. After five to ten breaths, transition the knees over to the other side.

2. Bridge Pose - Setu Bandha Sarvangasana

Bridge pose is the classic abdominal toner. It activates all of the muscles in the lower half of your body from your feet to your thighs, your glutes, and your abs. The higher you can lift your hips and press into the floor, the more muscles you are working and therefore the more energy you are burning.

Bridge Pose - Yoga pose for Menopause

How to do a Bridge Pose:

  1. Lay down on the floor. Bend your knees and walk your heels in towards your hips.
  2. Let your arms rest long down by your sides, palms facing the floor.
  3. On your inhale, roll the spine up, lifting your hips and pushing them to the sky above, while squeezing your glutes and activating your legs.
  4. On your exhale, roll the spine back down, trying to touch down one vertebra at a time. Relax the muscles as you soften.
  5. Repeat this ten times, inhale to rise the hips and exhale to lower them back down. Keep your knees at an equal distance, hip-width apart the entire time.

3. Downward Facing Dog - Adho Mukha Svanasana

Downward Dog is one of the most common yoga poses and for a good reason. This pose works the entire body if done correctly, activating every muscle from your fingertips to your toes. Holding it for a minute or so each day can help to build strength in your body and therefore support you on your weight loss journey.

Downward Facing Dog - Yoga pose for Menopause

How to do Downward Facing Dog:

  1. Come to a tabletop (all fours position) with your hands beneath your shoulders and your knees beneath your hips. Press into your hands and then tuck your toes and begin to straighten your legs, sending your hips to the sky.
  2. Keep your feet hip-width apart and press into the balls of your feet. Bend your knees as much as you need to reduce strain on the hamstrings. But, at the same time, try to press your heels toward the ground.
  3. Press all ten fingers into the floor and activate through all parts of your hands. This will help to engage the arms and lengthen your spine. Straightening your spine will also send your tailbone to the sky.
  4. Take your gaze between your feet, knees, or thighs.
  5. Once you are set up, hold it here for five to ten deep and nourishing breaths.
  6. Gently release by placing your knees back on the floor.
  7. You may repeat this three times, building strength each time.

4. Warrior II - Virabhadrasana II

Warrior II is a powerful pose that strengthens your legs, glutes, and core while also improving balance and stability. It is excellent for building stamina and burning calories.

Warrior II - Yoga pose for Menopause

How to do Warrior II:

  1. Stand with your feet wide apart, about the length of one leg. Turn your right foot out 90 degrees and your left foot slightly in.
  2. Extend your arms out to the sides at shoulder height, with your palms facing down.
  3. Bend your right knee over your right ankle, keeping your left leg straight and strong.
  4. Gaze over your right hand and hold the pose for five to ten breaths.
  5. Straighten your right leg and repeat on the other side.

5. Boat Pose - Navasana

Boat Pose is a core-centric exercise that helps to strengthen the abdominal muscles, improve balance, and enhance digestion. It’s effective for toning the core and aiding in weight loss.

Boat Pose - Yoga pose for Menopause

How to do Boat Pose:

  1. Sit on the floor with your legs extended in front of you.
  2. Lean back slightly and lift your legs off the floor, keeping them straight or slightly bent at the knees.
  3. Extend your arms forward, parallel to the floor.
  4. Hold the pose for five to ten breaths, maintaining a strong core.

6. Chair Pose - Utkatasana

Chair Pose is a dynamic posture that targets the thighs, glutes, and core. It helps to build strength and endurance while burning calories.

Chair Pose - Yoga pose for Menopause

How to do Chair Pose:

  1. Stand with your feet together and arms at your sides.
  2. Bend your knees and lower your hips as if you are sitting back into a chair.
  3. Raise your arms overhead, keeping them in line with your ears.
  4. Hold the pose for five to ten breaths, engaging your core and legs.

7. Crescent Lunge - Anjaneyasana

Crescent Lunge strengthens the legs, glutes, and core while stretching the hips and improving balance. It is excellent for building stamina and burning calories.

Crestent Lunge - Yoga pose for Menopause

How to do Crescent Lunge:

  1. From a standing position, step your right foot back and bend your left knee to a 90-degree angle.
  2. Raise your arms overhead and keep your hips square to the front.
  3. Hold the pose for five to ten breaths, then switch sides.

8. Extended Side Angle - Utthita Parsvakonasana

Extended Side Angle stretches and strengthens the legs, hips, and sides of the body. It improves flexibility, balance, and stamina.

Extended Side Angle -  Yoga pose for Menopause

How to do Extended Side Angle:

  1. From Warrior II, lower your right hand to the inside or outside of your right foot.
  2. Extend your left arm over your head, creating a straight line from your left foot to your left fingertips.
  3. Hold the pose for five to ten breaths, then switch sides.

9. Half Moon Pose - Ardha Chandrasana

Half Moon Pose improves balance, strengthens the legs and core, and enhances flexibility. It’s a challenging pose that can aid in weight loss and muscle toning.

Half Moon -  Yoga pose for Menopause

How to do Half Moon Pose:

  1. From Warrior II, shift your weight onto your right foot and lift your left leg parallel to the floor.
  2. Extend your right arm to the floor and your left arm towards the sky, creating a straight line.
  3. Hold the pose for five to ten breaths, then switch sides.

How Exactly Does Yoga Help with Weight Loss Then?

But the question remains…is Yoga helpful for losing weight due to increased physical activity or changes in eating habits?

We think it's a combination of factors.

Monika, co-founder of Reverse Health, is a seasoned Yoga & Mindfulness instructor and often uses these techniques with her clients:

"Becoming mindful of how you're breathing and moving during a Yoga practice has a direct impact on how mindfully you eat, both in terms of quantity and quality. Yoga is also a great stress management tool. Many of our ReverseHealth members experience stress due to various lifestyle factors. Let's face it, life is just inherently stressful. That constant stress leads to an increase in the hormone cortisol, which in turn can increase abdominal fat, lower your immune system, and cause cravings for energy-dense (speak fat and sugar-rich) foods.

The community aspect of Yoga is huge, too. Many women go to a weekly class, online or in person, and keep each other accountable, socialize and stay motivated as part of being in a group setting. We know that accountability is a key factor when it comes to sticking to a diet, or not."

The bottom line is, Yoga can be incredibly beneficial on your weight loss journey, IF it is a form of movement you enjoy. If not, leave it and find something else. No attachment! (That's actually a Yoga rule, ha!) It is definitely worth trying though for it has profound mental health benefits. The mind is your strongest muscle, and sometimes you have to flex and train it in order to achieve great things, such as your dream weight.

Other sources:

https://osteopathic.org/

Harvard Health

  • The content in this app is provided as lifestyle recommendations for informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. For any medical concerns, always consult with a healthcare professional. The sources that informed our meal plans and recommendations are available at: reverse.health/research.

FAQs

Can you lose weight by doing Yoga? Yes, Yoga can help you lose weight by increasing your muscle mass, which in turn boosts your metabolism and helps burn more calories.

Which type of Yoga is best for weight loss? Power Yoga and Vinyasa Yoga are particularly effective for weight loss due to their dynamic and physically demanding sequences.

Is 30 minutes of Yoga a day enough to lose weight? Yes, 30 minutes of Yoga a day can contribute to weight loss, especially when combined with a healthy diet and other forms of exercise.

Is 20 minutes of Yoga a day enough? While 20 minutes of Yoga a day can contribute to overall fitness and toning, it may need to be supplemented with other exercises and a healthy diet for significant weight loss.

What is the 80 20 rule in Yoga? The 80 20 rule in Yoga suggests that 80% of your fitness results come from 20% of your efforts, emphasizing the importance of consistency and focusing on key exercises.

Can Yoga change your body in 2 weeks? You may start noticing some changes in your body, such as increased muscle tone and flexibility, within 2 weeks of consistent Yoga practice, but significant weight loss will take longer.

How quickly will I see results from Yoga? Results from Yoga can be seen in a few weeks, with noticeable improvements in muscle tone, flexibility, and posture. Weight loss results may take longer depending on individual factors.

Is Yoga and walking enough exercise? Yoga and walking can be a good combination for overall fitness, weight loss, and maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Adding variety to your workouts can enhance results.

What happens if you do Yoga every day for a month? Doing Yoga every day for a month can lead to improved muscle tone, flexibility, balance, and posture. You may also notice some weight loss and overall body conditioning.

Conclusion

Yoga offers an effective way to lose weight and tone your body through targeted exercises. By consistently practicing these poses and incorporating variations, you can achieve your fitness goals and enjoy the numerous benefits Yoga has to offer.

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Health
Menopause
Weight Loss
Yoga
Mindful Eating