Yoga is an ancient form of exercise and way of living that focuses on your mind, body, and soul. It's a holistic practice for all ages. Yoga is not a recent phenomenon. It is an ancient Indian practice that is associated not just with the physical well-being of the body but with the overall health of a human being. Yoga is seen as a package, which unlike other physical activities aims at cleansing and rejuvenating the human body from outside as well as within. If one adopts the practice as a part of everyday routine, one can feel the difference - mentally, physically as well as spiritually. And as a bonus, it can bring about weight loss too. With the growing trend of people getting more cautious of their expanding waistlines and increased instances of metabolic disorders - cancer, diabetes, and others - there has been a sudden upsurge in people prioritizing their health and resorting to tailor-made diet plans and fitness regimes. Yoga, the wonder tool for enhancing one’s mental and physical health, is an ideal aid for weight loss. It acts like an aerobic exercise when done at moderate speed, helping one to get in shape.
Moreover, it holds an advantage over other workouts - it diminishes stress - one of the main factors that lead to weight gain. It leaves you feeling relaxed, fresh and focused.
Maintaining a healthy weight is important for health. In addition to lowering the risk of heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and high blood pressure, it can also lower the risk of many different cancers. Your weight, your waist size, and the amount of weight gained since your mid-20s can have serious health implications. These factors can strongly influence your chances of developing diseases and conditions like cardiovascular disease, heart attack, stroke Diabetes, Cancer, Arthritis, Gallstones, Asthma, etc.
People today have unrealistic expectations is a major reason why losing weight is a problem. Usually, people give up because It takes a great deal of will power and motivation to continue pushing through, mentally, to get over this physical hurdle. Since everybody is busy in their chaotic lives, no one finds the time and the strength to go to the gym and they let their unhealthy lifestyle take over their bodies. In today’s rapid world, it has become an atmost necessity to take out some time from their routines and incorporate yoga in our lifestyle.
Along with weight loss, yoga also helps to relieve stress, which is one of the main causes of weight gain. When practiced regularly, it leaves you feeling relaxed, fresh and focused. Yoga brings your mind, body, and breath in harmony, thereby eliminating stress from your life. yoga aims at making you fit by increasing flexibility. It involves twisting the body, forward and backward bends, inversions and other poses that help in opening up the otherwise rusted muscles and thereby facilitate weight loss.
Here are a few simple Yoga Asanas to help you get started:
1. Surya Namaskar
Namaskar or Sun Salutation is a sequence of 12 powerful yoga poses. Besides being a great cardiovascular workout, Surya Namaskar is also known to have an immensely positive impact on the body and mind. Surya Namaskar is best done early morning on an empty stomach. Each round of Sun Salutation consists of two sets, and each set is composed of 12 yoga poses. You might find several versions on how to practice Sun Salutation. However, it is advisable to stick to one particular version and practice it regularly for the best results. it consists of:
1. Pranamasana (Prayer Pose)
2. Hasta Uttanasana (Raised Arms Pose)
3. Hasta Padasana (Standing Forward Bend Pose)
4. Ashwa Sanchalanasana (Low Lunge Pose)
5. Chaturanga Dandasana (Plank Pose)
6. Ashtanga Namaskara (Eight Limbed Pose)
7. Bhujangasana (Cobra Pose)
8. Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
9. Ashwa Sanchalanasana (Low Lunge Pose)
10. Hasta Padasana (Standing Forward Bend)
11. Hasta Uttanasana (Raised Arms Pose)
12. Pranamasana (Prayer Pose)
All the asanas carried out in Surya Namaskar focus on different muscle groups and nerve centers called Chakras. This helps you tone almost all your body parts including arms, abs, thighs, and butt. It also gives you more flexibility and improves your body posture. Sun salutations stimulate the digestive tract by producing the right kind of digestive juices. Thus, you improve your metabolism, which helps you get rid of all toxins and burn all the extra calories which help in losing weight.
The Trikonasana or the Triangle Pose is a Yoga posture that requires practitioners to keep their eyes open, unlike most other asanas.
How to do it:
- Stand and keep a minimum distance of 3 feet between your legs
- turn your right foot out 90 degrees and left foot in by 15 degrees. Now align the center of your right heel with the center of your arch of the left foot.
- While inhaling slowly, raise the left arm and bend the body towards the right, with the right arm pointing downwards, with fingers pointed at your toes. Your eyes should face the ceiling and most importantly, be open to keeping optimum body balance.
- Make sure to inhale deeply and relax the body on exhalation during the final position.
Strengthens the legs, knees, ankles, arms, and chest, Stretches and opens the hips, groins, hamstrings, calves, shoulders, chest and spine and Increases mental and physical equilibrium. It helps to reduce fat from the thigh and waist area.
3. Virabhadrasana B (Warrior II)
Warrior two pose, or virabhadrasana B in Sanskrit, is a powerful standing yoga pose that builds strength and stamina. It's most often entered from warrior one pose by planting the back foot, rotating the torso and hips to the side, and stretching the arms in either direction. While it's a basic yoga pose, warrior two is used for all levels as it gives a deep stretch to the hips and greatly strengthens the legs.
How to do it:
- Stand in Tadasana (Mountain Pose). With an exhalation, step or lightly jump your feet apart. Raise your arms parallel to the floor and reach them actively out to the sides
- Turn your right foot slightly to the right and your left foot out to the left 90 degrees. Align the left heel with the right heel. Exhale and bend your left knee over the left ankle, so that the shin is perpendicular to the floor.
- Stretch the arms away from the space between the shoulder blades, parallel to the floor.
- Turn the head to the left and look out over the fingers.
Improves strength and stamina, Builds core strength, Improves flexibility, Opens the chest, Aids healthy digestion and helps to tone the muscles in your thighs and shoulders.
4. Adho Mukha Svanasana ( Downward Dog)
The Adho Mukha Svanasana looks similar to how a dog looks when it bends forward. This asana has numerous amazing benefits that make it extremely essential for you to practice it every day. The best part is, even a beginner can get the hang of this asana with great ease.
How to do it:
Set your knees directly below your hips and your hands slightly forward of your shoulders
lift your knees away from the floor. Lengthen your tailbone away from the back of your pelvis and press it lightly toward the pubis.
push your top thighs back and stretch your heels onto or down toward the floor. Straighten your knees but be sure not to lock them. Narrow the front of the pelvis
lift along your inner arms from the wrists to the tops of the shoulders. Keep the head between the upper arms; don't let it hang.
It helps to stretch and strengthen the abdominal muscles that also help support the spine. the downward facing dog is an inversion. The hips are lifted, and the head is dropped below the heart. There is a reversal in the pull of gravity, so fresh blood flows, thus promoting circulation. The body weight is on your hands and feet when you do the Adho Mukha Svanasana. Therefore, it tones the limbs and prepares them for better balance.
Yoga may not conjure up the same images of a calorie-burning, sweat-inducing workout as boot camp workouts or cardio dance-party routines. doctors and personal training experts say it can seriously trim and tone your body and also work on your mind and spirit to help you get healthier overall. Calories burned during yoga vary widely from 180 to 360 per hour depending on the type of yoga you practice. During a typical 90-minute session, the deep breathing techniques heat you inside, helping to flush out toxins and water weight and boost the performance of the lymphatic system and organs. Certain poses, or asanas, are “killer apps” for weight loss, with “benefits that far exceed mere calorie-burning and muscle-strengthening. Yoga speeds up the metabolism by stimulating endocrine glands that regulate the metabolic rate
Regular yoga practice can influence weight loss, but not in the "traditional" sense of how we link physical activity to weight loss. Typically, weight loss occurs when a person's calorie intake (i.e., food and drink consumed) is less than their caloric expenditure (i.e., energy is expended all day and more is expended during exercise).
Most individuals need to change both their energy intake and energy expenditure to lose weight.
Many yoga practices burn fewer calories than traditional exercise (e.g., jogging, brisk walking); however, yoga can increase one's mindfulness and the way one relates to their body. So, individuals will become more aware of what they are eating and make better food choices.
Yoga helps by bringing you better in tune with your body, improving your self-image and sense of well-being. Reducing stress and thereby stress eating is another way that yoga can support weight loss. By encouraging a healthy lifestyle, consistent yoga practice makes it more likely that you'll be able to maintain your weight loss. Perhaps most significantly, yoga's emphasis on listening to your body first and foremost can be a positive change for people who have struggled to shed pounds in the past. Yoga has an important role to play in a holistic approach to weight loss.
Research proves people who do yoga weigh 19 pounds less on average. This could be because yoga lowers cortisol levels so you’re less likely to overeat or snack. Plus yoga is a great way to burn fat and calories. Yoga is a great means to become stronger, help balance, normalize, and revitalize your bodily systems over time.
You will quietly catch yourself with far greater in-depth and broader benefits even if you started the practice with just seeking physical benefits.
yoga practitioners also simply ate more mindfully — and had a lower body mass index – than non-practitioners, In other words, they notice when they’re full, and more easily avoid eating out of stress or boredom. Yoga teaches awareness of the self, which is important for long-term change.
The practice of yoga turns attention inward, as the practitioner observes her- or himself with an attitude of compassion. As the practitioner gains skill, a sense of physical, psychological and emotional realities often shift, becoming less influenced by the external forces of modern culture and more anchored in an internal value system.
The practice of yoga and meditation may aid the development of mindfulness during mealtimes, aiding awareness of portions sizes, food preparation, and eating speed.
While yoga isn’t traditionally considered an aerobic exercise, certain types of yoga are more physical than others.
Active, intense styles of yoga help you burn the most calories. This may help prevent weight gain. Ashtanga, vinyasa, and power yoga are examples of more physical types of yoga. Vinyasa and power yoga are usually offered at hot yoga studios. These types of yoga keep you moving almost constantly, which helps you to burn calories. Practicing yoga may also help you develop muscle tone and improve your metabolism. Regardless of the exercise, you’re doing, however, good nutrition is essential. If you’re not paying attention to your diet, you won’t see the results you want. Exercise right, eat clean, and you’ll be able to actualize your goals.