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Can you get a flat belly by just doing yoga? Here’s what you need to know

Published on:16 January 2021, 15:08pm IST
Yoga is the go-to exercise for some of the biggest celebrities in Bollywood, but does it guarantee a flat belly? Read on to know more about yoga for belly fat.
Geetika Sachdev
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Reduce stress by doing yoga to lose all that weight. Image courtesy: Shutterstock
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Yoga has been practised for generations, but it has been lately popularised by some of the hottest celebrities of B-town, including Shilpa Shetty Kundra and Kareena Kapoor Khan. C’mon, you just can’t stop admiring their washboard abs and their toned physique. But do you think their flat belly is only a result of doing yoga? Is it that quick fix that promises flat abs? Can you use just yoga for belly fat? 

Before we get down to finding that out, we want you to know that just like any other exercise, yoga takes its own time to show results. It can help you lose weight, but you need to be regular with your practice. When you follow a consistent routine, you are certainly going to see some great benefits! 

But remember, you can’t target a certain area with yoga and expect that to work. You need to lose weight overall, and then that belly bulge will disappear little by little. Research also says that yoga has the power to alter your eating patterns, sleep habits and even your mood. Why we are telling you all this is because all these reasons affect the weight you store in your waistline!

So that we know all of it, let’s get down to the details. 

Calories burned while doing yoga

First of all, an exercise is considered effective if it helps you shed weight. Unlike other high-intensity exercises, you can’t possibly put a finger on how many calories you burn while doing yoga. That’s because yoga is categorised as a ‘stretching activity’. Although Harvard Health Publishing has done some research, it only speaks about hatha yoga, a relatively gentle style that burns between 240 to 356 calories per hour, depending on your body weight. 

Also, read: It’s time to try these 5 yoga poses to lose belly fat and strengthen your core

On the other hand, a study in the Journal of Physical Activity and Health involved 

38 participants, and their energy expenditure was compared during relatively strenuous vinyasa yoga sessions, treadmill walking at a self-selected ‘brisk’ pace and treadmill walking at a pace that matched the heart rate they’d achieved during the yoga session. It was found that vinyasa yoga meets the criteria for moderate-intensity activity. 

The biggest takeaway here is that although yoga doesn’t burn as many calories as other high-intensity exercises, just like walking, it is a foundational part of your weight loss efforts. That’s because having a calorie deficit is what helps with weight loss. This forced your body to use stored energy, usually in the form of fat to get rid of that deficit. 

Yoga for belly fat 

Let’s just give you some good news—using yoga for belly fat does work, but in ways you might have not thought of. Most of us know how weight gain is influenced by stress. That’s because the stress hormone cortisol directly impacts fat storage and weight gain in stressed individuals. Research goes on to show that cortisol can apparently relocate fat cells deep into the abdomen in the form of visceral fat, and that’s not just unsightly, but very dangerous.

yoga for tummy
Yoga poses can help you shed stubborn belly fat in no time. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

With regular practice of yoga, you learn to manage stress and give importance to self-care, be it eating well or getting enough sleep. All this helps to bring down your cortisol levels, and that means you lose weight.  

Here’s another thing to keep in mind:  as we mentioned earlier, yoga can’t do spot reduction. But guess what? Just a few yoga classes, and your belly might appear to look flatter than before. How you may ask? First of all, yoga helps to strengthen your core and focuses on full-body movement, which can help you get better posture. That instantly makes your belly look slimmer than before. 

Besides, a study by Harvard Health Publishing says that yoga changes the way you look at your body. “Surveys have found that those who practiced yoga were more aware of their bodies than people who didn’t practice yoga. They were also more satisfied with and less critical of their bodies,” they write. 

Yoga poses that help with a flat belly

While you’re at it, we thought we could help you with some yoga poses too. Are you ready to find out?

  1. Bhujangasana

How to perform it:

  • Lie face down
  • Spread your arms on the floor
  • Stretch your legs back and slowly lift up your upper body
  • Make sure your pubis and toes form a straight line and touch the floor
  • Hold this position for 25-30 seconds. 
yoga for weight loss
This pose is easy and quick to do! Image courtesy: Shutterstock
  1. Ustrasana

How to perform it:

  • Kneel on the floor
  • Arch your back
  • Touch and then hold your heels with your hands
  • Hold this pose for up to one minute. 
  1. Paschimottanasana 

How to perform it:

  • Perform after sukhasana or padmasana
  • Stretch your body towards your feet as you exhale
  • Hug your feet with your hands
  • Hold this position for up to one minute

Ladies, as we told you, yoga can’t just give you a flat belly. You need to practice it regularly along with following a healthy diet, and sleeping well. 

Geetika Sachdev Geetika Sachdev

An independent writer and journalist, Geetika loves sharp and fresh humour, just like her coffee! If not writing, you'll find her cafe-hopping and raiding the best book stores in town.