What if I told you, exercise doesn’t help you lose weight? It is a myth, backed by pseudo yoga gurus. What exercise does, is to boost your metabolism, speed up the breakdown of sugar and its absorption in the body. Still, if you are not careful, you can do all it takes to lose weight and fail. For a simple reason, your diet and exercise don’t compliment themselves.
Coming to diets, there is no miracle food that could help you lose weight. You can eat potatoes and potatoes alone, all your life and lose weight. On the other hand, you can have all the skinny salads and struggle to lose a single inch throughout your life. Harsh, but true.
Then what are your options to lose weight?
- Diet doesn’t work.
- The workout doesn’t work.
- Fasting doesn't work.
Do yoga to lose weight! Yes, yoga. Yoga, is an ancient art form of stretching, breathing, and relaxation. Unlike workout, yoga is a form of meditation that helps in healing your body and mind.
Root Causes of Weight Gain
Weight gain is a symptom of various physiological illnesses and psychological distress. Our body is capable of removing toxins and healing itself. But, we have become accustomed to an unhealthy lifestyle. The focus on money and success has taken over our innate desire of happiness and freedom. As a result, our body falls ill; we feel unhappy and grumpy. It becomes difficult to focus and grow.
We are drawn towards artificial means of happiness that includes substance abuse, overeating, binge eating, consumption of alcohol and OTC medication. Mostly, cravings for sweet and fried food.
Many scientific studies and experiments confirm the adverse effect of stress on the body. Fluctuations in the body weight and hormones. Stress elevates the production of cortisol in your blood stream leading to depression, weight gain, ageing and a weaker, disease prone immune system.
A weaker immune system makes you lethargic and irritated. Yoga helps you in bringing back the harmony between your mind, body, and soul. A process of healing and rejuvenating your body.
A disciplined practice of yoga will help you in true relaxation of your cells and organ, a deeper relaxation than that of sleep.
Swami Vivekanand said, “Not even the deepest sleep will give you such a rest as meditation can. The mind goes on jumping even in deepest sleep. Just those few minutes in meditation your brain has almost stopped. You forget the body. You feel such pleasure in it. You become so light and happy. This perfect rest we will get in meditation.”
A deep relaxation help in warding off diseases increases the blood flow, slows down your heartbeat and jumpstarts the immune system. A healthy body manages and maintains a good body weight ratio by itself. Practice yoga for weight loss.
What is Yoga?
In her book “An Introduction to Yoga” – Annie Besant wrote, “Yoga is a science. That is the second thing to grasp. Yoga is a science, and not a vague, dreamy drifting or imagining. It is an applied science, a systematized collection of laws applied to bring about a definite end. It takes up the laws of psychology, applicable to the unfolding of the whole consciousness of man on every plane, in every world, and applies those rationally in a particular case. This systematic application of the laws of unfolding consciousness acts on the same principles that you see used around you every day, in other departments of science.”
As our ancestors evolved into human beings, so did their consciousness changed to a higher form of intelligence. It was then when yoga found its way into the lives of Indians. Ancient Indian scriptures that date back 5000 years shows the practice of yoga and its health benefits. Around 2000 years ago, a sage and a physician “Patanjali” wrote all about yoga and the importance of breathing and relaxation in our life. All yoga is weight loss yoga. Patanjali penned down the Ashtanga yoga. Which explains the eight was of yoga that helps in overall healing and well-being of a human body.
If you are healthy from the inside, your body will never accumulate fat. Yoga means to unite. Yoga is a form of holistic healing ritual that will bring harmony ad peace in your life.
Yoga To Lose Weight
People often struggle to lose weight, even after following the asanas of yoga religiously. It is because they only perform one step of whole yoga process. Wikipedia suggests yoga consists of eight different disciplines.
We should practice Asanas first and then move to other disciplines of Yoga to lose weight.According to a famous yoga guru Baba Ramdev, there are few asanas that cold be practiced daily to lose weight. Baba has revolutionized the practice of yoga I India and around the world.
Here is a list of 7 poses that you should practice each day, for 45 minutes to lose weight and add strength to your body. These asanas will help you in getting a good posture with better hair and skin health. In addition to these poses, you should go for a 20-30 min walk or jog to get the maximum benefit of your yoga practice.
2. Anulom Vilom
4. Trikona Asana
6. Ardha Hal Asana
7. Buddha Kona Sana Butterfly Pose
A beginner should practice these exercises to lose weight and find peace in life.Traditionally, there are 23 different asanas (pose) that can be practiced to reduce fat from targeted body organs. [Source: http://www.stylecraze.com/articles/best-yoga-asanas-for-losing-weight-quickly-and-easily/]
1. Bridge Pose
Setu Bandha Sarvangasana is a back bending pose. It stretches the spine, helps tone down things and opens up the chest. It is a rejuvenating pose that eases stress and helps you live a fuller, more energetic life. It is very useful in controlling and managing blood pressure. It improves the blood flow and synchronizes the thyroid hormones in the body. It is very helpful for the people who spend their day sitting in the office. This will strengthen your spine and corrects your posture. Individuals with shoulder or neck injury should avoid doing this pose.
2. Boat Pose
Paripurna Navya Asana strengthens your abdominal muscles and core, keeps your waistline in check. This is one of the best asanas that anyone can do. Improves digestion, makes you sturdy and stable. Helps your internal organ work smoothly and removes toxins from the pancreas, kidney, and liver. Regular practice of this pose will optimize the functioning of Prostate and thyroid hormones in your body. Your posture will gradually improve with the practice of the yoga asana.
3. Frog Pose
Manduka asana is one of the sitting poses in yoga. Easy to perform and practice. This will help strengthen your heart muscles and lungs. Like a frog, you need to sit, relax and breath deeply. If you suffer from a migraine, headaches, and frequent mood swings, this asana is for you. This is especially beneficial for those who are suffering from diabetes; it regulates the flow of insulin in your body. If you are pre-diabetic, and struggling to lose weight this weight loss yoga pose will help you shed those extra pounds and live a healthy life.
4. Locust Pose
Salabhasana is a back bending pose. Though this is done while lying down on your tummy, it strengthens the leg muscles and improves your gait. Adds strength to your core and back muscles. Calms down your muscles and improves focus. Clears your thinking and removes negativity from the mind. An ancient theory suggests that thoughts are first formed in the spine region. By improving your willpower, this helps in reducing the extra pounds from your body. This yoga for weight loss and managing stress is a must practice for all.
5. Lion Pose
Simhasana tones down your facial fat. It is an anti-aging pose that makes you glow and look younger than your peers. Adds strength to your throat muscles, lungs and improves the quality of your voice. It minimizes the appearance of pores by stimulating the blood flow. Checks any infection of the chest and respiratory tract, this increase the air flow to lungs and increases the metabolism.
6. Chin Lock Pose
Jalandhara Bandha regulates the thyroid and parathyroid glands. It also activates the Visuddhi charka, i.e. it helps in cleansing the toxins from your body. Making it more supple and flexible. Adds “Tej” to the aura and stimulates the brain for better focus and concentration. This pose is especially beneficial for those who are suffering from high blood pressure and heart diseases.
7. Downward Dog Pose
Adho Mukha Shvanasana is one of the stretching exercises. It should be done as a warm up, transition and relaxation pose. It could be practiced several times in between the yoga poses. It is one of the salutation poses of Surya Namaskar. It is especially beneficial for women suffering from menopause and unintentional weight gain. It also helps to relieve the symptoms of asthma, sinusitis, and osteoporosis. Strengthen your bones and core; downward dog pose is one of the easiest poses that helps in weight loss without many efforts.
8. Low Plank Pose
Low plank pose helps you tone down your arms and upper body. It makes your core strong and adds flexibility to your body. Particularly beneficial for people who would like to lose weight from their upper body and torso.
9. Dolphin Pose
Ardha Pincha Mayurasana helps relieve stress and mental fatigue. It keeps depression at bay and makes you feel happier, lively and energetic. It also relieves the symptoms of menopause and osteoporosis. Removes pressure from sciatica nerves and reduces the pain. If you are finding it difficult to lose weight due to immobility, the dolphin pose can help you in shedding those extra pounds. It is not only a weight loss yoga but an overall wellbeing exercise that eases a headache, insomnia, and fatigue.
10. Upward Facing Dog Pose
Urdhva Mukha Svanasana stretches the muscles of your chest and spine. Speeds up your metabolism and adds flexibility to your torso. Tones down your buttocks and thighs, this is an easy pose to shed weight from legs and lower body.
11. Seated Twist Pose
People with any spinal injury should refrain from practicing seated twist poses. These are beneficial for those suffering from liver and kidney malfunctioning. It stimulates the liver and spinal cord. This pose relieves the pain of menstrual cramps and backache. Women who have infertility are benefitted by the practices of this pose.
12. Yoga Twisting
Yoga twisting is an umbrella term for energizing and stress-relieving stretching poses. They help in weight loss and relieves pain from the back and improves digestive function.
13. Fish Pose
Matsyasana followed by gaum ukha Sana is beneficial in losing weight. If you are always suffering from constipation and fatigue, re-energises your pituitary and pineal glands. Fish pose is an integral part of weight loss yoga. It cures bleeding hemorrhoids and relieves pain. It is one of the yoga poses that gives flawless skin and protection against leprosy and other skin diseases.
14. Couch Pose
Paryankasana is another warm-up pose for pranayama. It alleviates kyphosis, fatigue and low blood pressure. A regular practice of this pose will keep depression away. Something the throat muscles and vocal cord, this pose will harmonize thyroid and parathyroid hormones. It helps in the drainage of toxins from the lymph nodes to prevent many forms of cancer. People who have a history of spinal or neck injuries should not practice this pose. This asana is good for healing the digestive tract and stabilizes the metabolism of the body.
15. Cobra Pose
Bhujangasana improves the blood circulation. It is one of the asanas that provide whole body workouts. It helps in toning down the chest, and abdominal muscles. Give you a flawless body and reduce fat. Bhujangasana is a definite weight loss yoga asana that everyone should practice. It is very helpful in strengthening the spinal cord muscles and relieves back pain. Reduces the symptoms of asthma and bronchitis, this open ups your chest muscles to breathe better and freely. Strengthen your shoulder muscles and reduces the signs of fatigue and stress.
16. Cobbler Pose
Baddha Konasana is very useful in removing fat from highs and toning don leg muscles. If you are worried about your thigh gap, the asana for you. This is a great pose for the women who are expecting, as it will ease your delivery. It cures the menstrual problems and strengthens knees, groin, and thighs. A great exercise to cure infertility and other menstrual problems in women. Cobbler pose helps in reducing stress and fatigue. Harmonises the flow of hormones to give you a more youthful look.
17. Garland Pose
Malasana should be practiced for about 5 minutes daily. This is one of the preparation pose for the longer form of seated meditation. It relieves stress and lowers the production of cortisol hormones. Malasana stimulates the groin and regulates sexual energy of the body. Stimulates your Mula Dhar chakra, this pose ca help you in creating a better connection with your inner self. Bringing peace and harmony in your life.
18. Crescent Pose
A versatile standing pose that will vanish your heart and blood pressure problems. This asana will cure your sciatic nerve problem and improve your gait. It is a common observation; beginners find it difficult to create a 90-degree angle between their legs while practicing this pose. Consult a yoga guru or certified yoga teacher before practicing any pose. They will help you in understanding the mechanism and importance of each pose. Cresent pose helps in toning down the lower body and strengthen the muscles of ankles calves and thighs.
19. Half Frog Pose
Ardha Bhekasana or Mandukasana is a chest opening and back bending pose. An advance poses for more experienced practitioners. Another version of this pose is called Bhekasana. It requires bending booth your legs like a frog and maintaining the balance. Ardha Bhekasana is beneficial for the athletes and runners. It strengthens the back of the body and the joints. Those who have a history of high blood pressure, migraine and insomnia should not practice this. A regular practice of this pose will keep away arthritis and gout; it can cure the calcaneal spurs and make the heels softer, more attractive with time.
20. Big Toe Pose
Padangusthasana improves the balance between your mind and body. Big toe pose rejuvenates the tired muscles and massages the internal organ like liver and kidney. It relieves flatulence and bloating. It speeds up the fat burning process of the muscles and strengthens the knees. The fat metabolism rate of weight loss yoga is higher than any other exercise.
Padangusthasana harmonizes the blood pressure and eases anxiety; it helps in calming down and thinking positively. Especially beneficial for the women who are trying to conceive. It is not advisable for people suffering from back injury or pain to practice this asana.
21. Pyramid Pose
Parsvottanasana or side plank asana prepares your body for Locust Pose and other seated meditation. Pyramid pose helps in correcting the posture of the body. It strengthens the upper body muscles including shoulder and hamstrings. It is also beneficial in developing confidence and harmony between mind and body. These side planks improve the blood circulation and give a flawless skin, healthy hair and sculpted body to the practitioners. People with chronic hip injury should not practice this pose.
22. Baby Pose
Balasana or Ananda Balasana makes yo happy like a child. Adds glee to your nature and relieves stress from neck areas. It relieves stress and reduces fatigue. Practicing this asana on a regular basis will cool down your mind and make you more vibrant. This will reduce your cravings for sweet and fried food.
The primary purpose of this asana is to provide real happiness that s not dependent on any external factors. It brings down the heart rate and checks the flow of blood in various organs, including the brain. This makes your skin supple, makes you look and feel younger regarding energy and vitality.
23. Eagle Pose
Garudasana tests the limits of your body. It helps in correcting the posture. Cures and reduces the chances of sciatica and rheumatism. It adds grace and poise to your body. Women in their last trimester should avoid practicing this asana.
When people try to lose weight, they go to extremes. Like other forms of exercises, yoga too has its limitations. It could injure your spine and muscles if you do not practice them carefully. It is advisable to start your practice under the guidance of a teacher. Someone who is certified or trained to teach various yoga asana. There are few common mistakes that everyone makes, make sure you don’t –
- Yoga is beyond exercise. It helps you create awareness of yourself. Always perform pranayama before starting your yoga session
- Learn the breathing process. Always breathe deeply and exhale completely
- Eat clean and unpasteurized food.
- Focus on yourself. Don’t compare yourself with others. Everybody is different, and yoga poses could take some time to practice in a correct way.
- Do not practice yoga if you are high or under the influence of any drug and alcohol.
- Find a good, nonslippery mat to practice yoga
- Learn to keep your mind focused on your asanas
- Work with your teacher and let them know if you feel any discomfort during the practice.
- Wear loose, comfortable, cotton weave to practice yoga.
- Don’t be disheartened if you could not perform in the beginning. Take baby steps
- You don’t need to detoxify, leave smoking or be a vegetarian to start practicing yoga.
- Certain poses should not be practiced during mensuration and pregnancy, ask your teacher to educate about such poses.
- Try to practice yoga in the morning. This will keep you energetic and happy throughout the day.
Health Benefits of Yoga
Yoga is not just a set of exercises it is a manual of healing. People suffering from cancer, back injuries, paralysis and other chronic conditions have been cured by the simple practice of yoga. Yoga brings peace and harmony in your life. Also losing weight, yoga has countless other health benefits
- Builds muscles and adds flexibility. Unlike the gym, yoga makes your body lean and strong without adding any bulk.
- Corrects your posture. Most of the illnesses that we counter these days are because of sitting and walking in the wrong posture.
- Protects the cartilage and joints from break down. Yoga helps in lubrication of joints and provide the required massage to your organs
- Strengthens your spine. Spine has the most vibrant form of life energy. Yoga helps in creating a uniform flow and distribution of this energy in your body
- Make your bones stronger Yoga helps in better absorption and distribution of essential nutrients in the body making it strong and immune to diseases.
- Increases the blood flow and lowers the heart rate to provide relaxation and rejuvenation. Makes you look younger.
- Removes toxins from your lymph nodes It boasts immunity of your body by detoxifying it internally
- Regulates your blood pressure. People suffering from low or high blood pressure are greatly benefited by regular practice of yoga.
- Helps in reducing weight and maintaining a good physique.
- Regulates your blood sugar. A regular practitioner of yoga can ward off diabetes from their life.
- Makes your mind sharper and develops clear thinking.
- Regular practice of yoga will make yo a positive thinker
- Cures insomnia. Reduced level of stress makes you sleep better and get adequate rest.
- Makes your lungs stronger. We can not run away from pollution, but we can train our lungs to be stronger.
- Cures asthma, allergies, and inflammation of the body.Inflammation in the body is the leading cause of all the diseases. Yoga helps in strengthening of the immune system, reducing the chances of inflammation in the body.
- Builds confidence. It stimulates the hormones in the body. Giving you more confidence and increases your self-esteem.
- Builds compassion, kindness, and love for all.Inspires yo to live a healthy, drug-free lifestyle.
- Brings peace and tranquility in your life.
Money can not buy you happiness, yoga could. It is true, important things in life are priceless. You just have to take the leap of faith to find the right guidance and path towards happiness. Yoga is one such path, join the revolution. Don’t just lose weight, learn to live better, feel better and think better.
Health Through Yoga
Practicing yoga to lose weight will also help you meditate and reconnect with yourself. Yoga and another ancient form of exercises like Qigong, Tai Chi, etc. focus on the overall wellbeing of a person. All these exercises have one thing in common, deep breathing and relaxation. When we breathe deeply, we open our heart muscles or charkas. This deep breathing helps us connect to our true self. Also, it empowers us. Guides us, to keep our needs forward. Once you understand your needs, and how it makes you feel you will make informed choices about your food and lifestyle. Yoga for weight loss is not just a set of exercises; it is a way of living that will change your outlook towards life.
As discussed earlier, obesity or weight gain is a symptom of malfunctioning or inflammation in your body. Studies from Harvard Institute show the powerful impact of yoga on our psychological health. People who practice yoga daily are much more calm, compassionate and successful than their counterparts. Relaxation process of yoga asana provide us with greater stress relief, and it reunites our senses. The awareness that you feel while practicing each asana brings to closer to self-knowledge and actualization.
Yoga will help you fight depression and general gloominess. Our day-to-day life leaves us drained and frustrated, which leads to stress and inflammation in our body. Daily practice of yoga will bring peace and tranquility to your life. It brings mindfulness and compassion, an unadulterated love towards life and yourself.
When we stretch and move our body, we give ourselves permission to let go of negative energy. Our negative monolog subsidies and we come closer to our best selves. Gradually we turn into a better version of ourselves.
Life ends when an egg breaks from outside force, whereas life begins when it breaks from inside inspiration. This inspiration is yoga. That will not only help you lose weight, shed pounds but inspire you to become a better person, a good human being, and a genuinely happy individual.
Yoga is for One and All!
B.K.S. Iyengar said, “Yoga, an ancient but perfect science, deals with the evolution of humanity. This evolution includes all aspects of one’s being, from bodily health to self-realization. Yoga means union – the union of body with consciousness and consciousness with the soul. Yoga cultivates the ways of maintaining a balanced attitude in day to day life and endows skill in the performance of one’s actions.”
Iyengar was a yoga guru who founded Iyengar Yoga. He simply made variations to the ancient form of yoga, so that the practice could benefit everyone. Similarly, you too can start yoga practice from little variations to the original posture ad gradually learn to practice the more intense form of yoga.
Let your teacher help and correct the errors in alignment, so that yo could harness the maximum benefit from your yoga session. Don’t be afraid to experiment with poses, but do that in the guidance of your teacher.
Yoga is a life form that could be enjoyed by people of all ages, caste, race and religion. It brings you back to life.