Restorative yoga positions can build muscle and boost your body's metabolism so that more calories are burned and weight is lost. 20 to 30 minutes of yoga a day can tone and stretch the muscles, increasing both strength and stamina. As the body begins to lose excess fat, it will be able to sustain the positions for longer periods of time, thus improving relaxation and reducing stress. The following poses are ideal for weight loss and increasing muscle mass.
A proper sun salutation is performed by standing and reaching the arms and hands upward toward the sky and stretching. When the maximum stretch has been achieved, bend forward at the hips and reach your hands to the ground. Once the hands are on the ground, work them forward until the full length of the body is on the ground as if prostrating to the sun as it rises.
The plank pose has many variations and offers several degrees of difficulty. A plank pose involves holding the trunk and core of the body in a straight, level pose that resembles a wooden plank. The key is to maintain the rigidity of the body for an extended period of time. The plank can be performed while laying on the stomach, the side, the back and any other position a person can assume. It utilizes all of the core muscles of the body including the main muscle groups of the arms, legs and neck.
A full or partial boat pose involves sitting on the floor with both legs in front of the body, straight and firmly held together. While keeping the legs straight, lift them off the ground, pointing the toes upward and forward. As the core of the body begins to angle back and upward, raise the arms reaching forward with the hands until they stretch past the knees.
To start the position, stand with feet shoulder width apart. With the right foot, step forward approximately 4 feet. Keep the front foot pointing forward while turning the back foot 45 degrees outward. Bring both hands upward, reaching skyward and stretching the body's core. Variations can be performed that include stretching one arm upward, both arms forward, and also placing the weight one foot and stretching one of the legs backward, keeping the entire body flat and level.
Reclining Bound Angle Pose
The reclining bound angle pose stretches the groin, knee, and leg muscles. To perform the pose, sit upright keeping the back straight. Cross the legs and bring them in towards the body as tightly as possible. Once the legs are in the proper position, recline the body so that the full length of the back is on the floor. The head can be propped up on a pillow so the spine is kept in proper alignment.
The tree pose is another popular yoga position that has many variations. The basic pose, however, is fairly easy to perform. Standing upright, place the weight firmly on the left foot. Raise the right foot and rest it on the inside of the knee or thigh, using the heel as an anchor. Raise the arms, stretching them above the head and bringing them together. As the palms of the hands are brought together in a prayer pose, they are brought down to the level of the heart.
The hero pose is performed from a seated position holding the trunk of the body upward and straight. The person begins on their knees, slowly lowering their body to a seated position while maintaining the tightness of the core muscles that are holding the body in the upright position.
When performed properly and for specific amounts of time, yoga poses can increase muscle mass and help to improve stamina and endurance. Using several different poses during one session can work several areas of the body much like a regular work out routine. Yoga can be performed almost anywhere and is able to accommodate a person's physical abilities.