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Yoga Sequence to Boost Your Metabolism

Michelle Stanger
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Sometimes we crave a quiet Yin Yoga class, sometimes we crave a slower vinyasa class, and sometimes our body wants to turn it up and sweat! If you’re in the mood to jumpstart your metabolism with a fun and challenging yoga sequence, let’s go.
 

Practice this fun yoga flow to boost your metabolism and energy:

 

Sun Salutation A (Surya Namaskar A)

Sun Salutations are a fantastic way to warm up the body and continue to build heat, strength and flexibility throughout your yoga practice. So to kick off our Yoga for Metabolism Sequence, practice one round of Surya Namaskar A.
 
sun-salutation

  1. Begin standing at the top of your mat with your hands at heart center. Feel free to take a few breaths with your eyes closed and set your intention
  2. When you’re ready, release your hands by your side
  3. Inhale arms overhead (Urdhva Hastasana), palms touch
  4. Exhale Forward Fold (Uttanasana)
  5. Inhale Standing Half Forward Fold (Ardha Uttanasana)
  6. Exhale Low Plank (Chaturanga Dandasana)
  7. Inhale Upward Facing Dog (Urdhva Mukha Svanasana)
  8. Exhale Downward Facing Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana)
  9. Inhale walk or float to Standing Half Forward Fold (Ardha Uttanasana)
  10. Exhale Forward Fold (Uttanasana)
  11. Inhale arms overhead (Urdhva Hastasana)
  12. Exhale hands to heart center

 

Wide-Legged Forward Fold (Prasarita Padottanasana)

Wide-Legged Forward Fold will help you not only lengthen the inner thighs, hips and back, but strengthen them as well.
 
wide-leg-forward-fold

  1. From standing at the top of your mat, take a four foot step back and pivot your feet, coming into a wide-legged stance
  2. With your hands on the ground, inhale and extend the spine coming up halfway
  3. Exhale into your Wide-Legged Forward Fold
  4. Bring your hands to your ankles, calves or shins as you roll the weight into the balls of the feet. This will activate your inner thighs and add intensity to this pose
  5. Remain here for a few breaths as your hamstrings open and your legs strengthen

 

Goddess Pose (Utkata Konasana) with core work

Continuing to build heat and strength in the legs, Goddess Pose can be an intense hip opener to some and a great opportunity to use your breath to soften. Goddess Pose requires core activation to protect the low back.
 
goddess-pose

  1. From your Wide-Legged Fold, bring your hands to the mat and slowly heel-toe your feet closer together
  2. Place your hands on top of your thighs, bend your knees, activate your core and drop your tailbone. If this is very intense for your hips, keep your hands on your thighs for support and gently sway side to side to invite a slow hip opening
  3. Stack your knees on top of your ankles for correct alignment and support
  4. Remain here for a few breaths, moving your hands to heart center
  5. Your thighs will eventually be parallel to the floor

 
Add core work:
 
goddes-ab-work

  1. In your low Goddess Pose, bring your hands behind your head, clasping all ten fingers
  2. Keep your elbows out wide and your chest lifted. Keep the hips low and the thighs parallel to the floor
  3. Inhale lift the chest, exhale crunch the right elbow as close as you can to your right knee
  4. Inhale back to center, exhale crunch the left elbow as close as you can to your left knee
  5. Keep going. Try for five or more on each side

 

 

Yogi Squat (Malasana)

Although Malasana may seem like a resting pose, this is still a lot of work. Your legs, core and back are active to keep your spine long and your hips low. Use this opportunity to close your eyes and connect to your breath.
 
yogi-squat

  1. From Goddess Pose, release the hands to your mat and straighten the legs
  2. Heel-toe the feet closer together, then bend the knees and lower the hips
  3. Coming into a squat position, bring your palms to touch at heart center and press your elbows into your knees to open your hips
  4. Be sure your spine is not rounded. Inhale, lift the chest and exhale lower your hips even more
  5. Feel free to sit on a block if your hips are tight
  6. Close your eyes and take five deep breaths

 

Side Lunge (Skandasana)

Skandasana is another great pose to tone the legs, open the hips and work the core. Skandasana requires linking breath to motion and full concentration to keep your balance.
 
side-squat
 
side-squat-2

  1. Slowly lift the hips and straighten the legs to a Wide-Legged Forward Fold from your Malasana
  2. Bend your right knee and drop the hips to balance on the right foot, then extend the left leg straight toward the left side of your mat
  3. Keep both hands on the ground, your hips low and shift your weight to the left side – bending the left knee this time and straightening your right leg
  4. Now you are balancing on your left foot
  5. Continue moving side to side slowly and mindfully. You can keep your hands on the ground to help your balance or bring your hands to heart center to make this more challenging
  6. Be sure to keep the hips low throughout the movements
  7. Repeat this at least twice on each side

 

Sun Salutation A (Surya Namaskar A)

To keep the heart rate up and our breath flowing, let’s do another round of Surya Namaskar A. To set up for Surya Namaskar A from Skandasana, allow your final Skandasana to end on the right side, then pivot your feet forward so you are in a low lunge facing the front of the mat and bring your left foot forward to a Forward Fold.
 

  1. Begin standing at the top of your mat with your hands at heart center. Feel free to take a few breaths with your eyes closed and set your intention
  2. When you’re ready, release your hands by your side
  3. Inhale arms overhead (Urdhva Hastasana), palms touch
  4. Exhale Forward Fold (Uttanasana)
  5. Inhale Standing Half Forward Fold (Ardha Uttanasana)
  6. Exhale Low Plank (Chaturanga Dandasana)
  7. Inhale Upward Facing Dog (Urdhva Mukha Svanasana)
  8. Exhale Downward Facing Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana)
  9. Inhale walk or float to Standing Half Forward Fold (Ardha Uttanasana)
  10. Exhale Forward Fold (Uttanasana)
  11. Inhale arms overhead (Urdhva Hastasana)
  12. Exhale hands to heart center

 

Dolphin Pose (Ardha Pincha Mayurasana)

Now that you have connected back to your breath, let’s work on our shoulders. Dolphin Pose is an excellent way to build strength and flexibility in the shoulders. It’s also an excellent core strengthener and hamstring opener.
 
dolphin-pose

  1. Begin in Table Top Pose and place your forearms on the floor. You want your forearms about shoulder distance apart
  2. Palms can be flat on the mat or clasped together depending on your shoulder flexibility
  3. Flip your toes and send your hips high similar to Downward Facing Dog
  4. Drop your head so your gaze is toward your toes, if your head is not off of the mat, continue pressing into your forearms until it lifts
  5. To add more intensity to this pose, continue walking the toes forward
  6. Continue pressing the forearms down, keeping the core active and breath flowing
  7. Hold here for five to ten breaths

 

Down Dog Push-Ups (Adho Mukha Svanasana with Push-Ups)

Now that your shoulders are warm and your core is active, let’s continue to build strength and boost metabolism with Down Dog Push-Ups. These movements are great to gain awareness of the external rotation in your shoulders and how to keep the shoulders stable with added weight.

  1. Begin in Downward Facing Dog and allow your shoulders to externally rotate, a bit more than a normal Down Dog
  2. Keep your core very active and slowly drop your elbows to the mat, allowing your forearms to completely rest on the mat
  3. Then press the forearms off the mat, coming back into Down Dog
  4. Keep going! Try to do at least five
  5. A great modification is to lift one forearm at a time off the mat when you move back to Down Dog

 

Crow Pose Hold (Bakasana)

Can you feel it yet? Your shoulders are getting so strong and your energy is moving! Let’s keep it going with an arm balance hold. Crow Pose is a great arm balance to start practicing breathing and longer holds. If Crow Pose is not in your practice yet, check out 6 Yoga Poses to Help You Learn Arm Balances and practice whichever variation works best for you.
 
crow-pose

  1. From a squat position with your hands on the mat
  2. Come onto your toes and lift your hips high
  3. Place your knees on the back of your triceps as you slowly shift the weight into your hands
  4. Engage your core and keep your hips high
  5. Bring your toes closer together as you find your stability
  6. Then focus on your breath
  7. Try to hold for five or ten breaths and slowly return to a squat position

 

Low Plank (Chaturanga Dandasana)

We practice Chaturanga a lot in a vinyasa class, but how often do we hold Chaturanga? Many yogis flow right through this posture and never find the full benefits. Chaturanga builds strength not only in the upper body, but the entire body. You are definitely boosting metabolism with the full body engagement in this pose.
 
low-plank

  1. After you release from your Crow Pose hold, walk the feet back to High Plank
  2. From High Plank, shift your weight slightly forward
  3. Keep your core active as you slowly bring your elbows straight back and your biceps close to the body
  4. Lower until your shoulders are at a 90 degree angle, then pause and breathe
  5. Key points to think of in this pose: core tight, chest forward, elbows stacked on wrists and don’t drop your shoulders toward the mat
  6. Hold your Chaturanga for five breaths, then drop to a Child’s Pose

 
Still not sure about your form? Review these 5 Tips to Practice Chaturanga Correctly
 

High Plank with Shoulder Taps

If you are not sweating by now, you’re a rockstar. One more pose in our sequence to get the whole body energized and strong. High Plank is another pose we practice in our vinyasa classes but again, we often flow through it quickly. So we are going to hold the pose and add a little more intensity to it.
 
shoulder-tap

  1. From Down Dog, shift the weight forward into your High Plank
  2. Be sure your shoulders are over your wrists, your core is active and your heels are pressing toward the back of the room
  3. The key to this movement is complete body activation, so your awareness is on keeping your body strong and engaged
  4. To add more, begin to shift the weight into your left hand but be sure you maintain the shape of your High Pank (don’t turn this into a Side Plank variation)
  5. When you feel stable, slowly lift your right hand and tap your left shoulder
  6. Continue this movement back and forth keeping the body solid and breath moving
  7. When complete, drop the knees to the mat and take a Child’s Pose

 

Sun Salutation A (Surya Namaskar A)

Let’s complete our practice with one more salute to the Sun with Surya Namaskar A.
 
If you’d like to boost this heat-building sequence even more, feel free to continue your sun salutations as many more times as you’d like. Don’t forget to end with a nice long savasana to allow your body to recover and receive all the strengthening benefits of your practice.
 
There are many ways to boost your metabolism and speed up weight loss beyond the gym or yoga studio. Our bodies are intricate, and finding a healthy balance is the key.
 
We often need to make a complete lifestyle change to find our healthiest self, so check out 13 Lifestyle Changes to Boost Your Metabolism for some great tips to get you started
 

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Michelle Stanger

Michelle is living the yoga mom life and loving every second. She believes all beings deserve joy, peace and love and aims to be an example. Forever grateful for her yoga practice, she is honored to be able to share as a yoga teacher and Editor here at YogiApproved.com.

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