DIET & FITNESS
The Yoga Way To Weight Loss
Yoga is no longer considered a passing fad or a novel phenomenon. It has earned global recognition as an ancient Indian practice associated not just with the physical health of one’s body but also with the overall well-being of a person. In several aspects, yoga is viewed as a holistic practice that aims at cleansing and rejuvenating the human body from outside as well as within.
If yoga teacher training is made a part of one’s everyday routine, the difference can be felt – mentally, physically and spiritually too. Added bonus – it can help with weight loss as well!
An increasing number of people are becoming aware of expanding waistlines accompanied by worries of metabolic disorders – diabetes, cancer etc. Unsurprisingly, there is a surge in health consciousness and flight to fitness regimes and customized diet plans.
The popular understanding of yoga is that it involves exercises where one bends and twists their bodies into certain postures and holds onto them for a few minutes. Yoga is considered to be a regime meant for people who were already fit who seek to increase their flexibility. Very few could relate to yoga as an effective tool for weight loss or even fitness in comparison with high intensity workouts in a gym.
The Yoga Way
In order to target weight loss, it is important that we understand the various factors that contribute to weight gain. Aside from faulty dietary habits, weight gain can also stem from various inefficient bodily functions. With basic breathing practices at its core, yoga aims at balancing, cleansing and rejuvenating the inner organs and their functions. Multiple basic asanas combined with breathing exercises help in regulating metabolism and heart rates. The focus shifts towards only after the inner body is reconciled in this manner.
Consequently, one cannot prescribe any set of asanas specifically for weight loss. Almost all asanas aim at cleansing the inner body mechanism, strengthening the core and increasing stamina, improving flexibility and regulating your metabolic process.
Yoga aims at fitness through increased flexibility. All those postures that twist and bend the body, forwards and backward, inversions etc. help in opening up the otherwise rusty joints and muscles facilitating weight loss in the process.
Here are a few simple asanas to help you get started:
Surya Namaskar (Sun Salutation)
Perhaps the most well-known and widely practiced of yoga asanas, surya namaskar comprises a series of twelve different yoga poses. What makes it great is that it combines these different poses focused on different parts of body into one.
Surya namaskar helps in exercising all possible areas of your body and is thus a very effective way to keep your body supple. It focuses on strengthening the skeletal system including joints and ligaments while also helping ease stress and anxiety.
Veera-bhadr-asana (Warrior Pose)
Start off by assuming the mountain pose, and then stretch one leg back and the other forward assuming a lunging position. Have your knees bent at ninety degrees and your hands stretched fully above your head.
The more advanced stance will have you bring your hands to the front of the chest and the back leg straightened outwards with your front leg still bent at ninety degrees.
Executed well, the warrior pose works for your legs, thighs, arms, and back as well as improving blood circulation.
Trikonasana (Triangular Pose)
This pose works on your arms, thighs and the sides of the body.
Assume a wide legged stance with your right foot turned outwards. With arms stretched out, slowly bend down sideways to the right and a bit forward. Ensure the right side of your waistline keeps over your right leg and the back flat. With your left arm stretched upwards, place your right palm in front of your right foot or behind it. Repeat on the other side.
Purvottanasana (Upward Plank)
The exact opposite of a conventional push-up. This might be a bit difficult to start with, but with time and effort, the results can leave you much gratified. A pose that extensively works and fortifies the muscles of your arms, shoulders, back, spine and wrists as well as the legs, hips and inner thigh muscles. It improves the core strength of the body and is also beneficial for the respiratory system.
Start off with your legs stretched out in front. With your hands behind your hips with fingers pointing towards the feet, raise your body. Focus on the tailbone, pull your head back while keeping your feet straight and planted on the ground.
The Boat Pose
Start off by lying down flat on your back and gradually rise to a V-shaped position. Try and hold the position for a few seconds, to begin with, and gradually increase the duration. Your stomach muscles will have to do the heavy lifting, strengthening the core and killing off that stubborn belly fat.
The Yogic Diet
Physical exercise is always important for the overall well-being. Any amount of yoga teacher training in Bali or elsewhere will be ineffective if not accompanied by a proper balanced diet. With the objective of weight loss, a sattvic diet comes highly recommended.
This yogic diet involves consuming mostly fresh and organic produce, avoiding spices and processed foods as much as possible. One should take pains to include fresh fruits, vegetables, and home-cooked meals as much as possible in one’s daily diet. Also important is the amount of food consumed. Portion limited eating is recommended for a balanced diet and also as a way to check over-eating.