Yoga for weight loss
We all know that yoga is the best mental exercise that you can do at home to give your mind the much-needed relaxation that it deserves. Today, our lives are moving at a very fast pace, and there is a lot of stress in us. We have urgent deliverables to meet, and most of us feel anxious most of the times, because of our crazy schedules. When we are stressed, we become victims to the binge-eating ailment. We eat a lot of junk food and start skipping meals – two very important reasons for weight gain.
Yes, exercises and a strict diet schedule help you in knocking off the extra flab in your body, but when you combine it with a mental conditioning exercise such as yoga, the results are even better. In this article, we are going to see how yoga aids in weight loss and some effective poses that you can try out at home, for the same.
Here, we have collated some of the opinions that yoga experts have about the relationship between yoga and weight loss.
1. Yoga makes you conscious of your lifestyle
Yes, physical exercises such as running and walking help you burn more calories than yogic postures. However, yoga sends some important signals to your brain. It sharpens your mind and makes it more cautious than ever about eating habits and healthy lifestyles. When you start doing yoga, you will be surprised to feel that you no longer crave for junk foods or foods that are high on fats. Subconsciously, you are tuned in a way to eat healthy foods and work out regularly, and this helps immensely in weight loss.
2. Yoga corrects breathing patterns and makes your body flexible
When your body becomes flexible, it is well-prepared to handle intense workout sessions. Power yoga especially conditions your mind and body well enough so that you are withstand longer and more powerful exercise schedules than before. Naturally, when you work out more, you tend to shed a lot of weight. Where there is a will, there is a way, isn’t it? Yoga helps to bring that will in us so that we can achieve the weight loss target that we have set for ourselves, in a disciplined way.
3. Consistency is the key
It is very important to do intense yoga exercises for at least 4 to 5 times a week. Each of these sessions should extend for around 60 to 90 minutes. This level of intensity is very important for the continuous strengthening, lengthening and balancing of the muscles. Thanks to these consistently long sessions, you will see a visible improvement in your body’s metabolism rate, thereby helping you to lose a considerable amount of weight. The right yoga asanas will not only aid in weight loss but will also help in giving a perfect shape to your body.
Yoga for weight loss – what are the asanas that will benefit you the most?
Disclaimer – Some of the postures mentioned here might be too difficult for you if you are a beginner. Start out very slowly and try out the simple ones first to feel confident about yourself. Don’t be too hard on yourself right at the beginning.
1. Wide-Legged Forward Bend (Prasarita Padottanasana)
This is the posture where you keep your legs wide apart and bend down with your hands tied together at your back. When you bend, ensure that you bend forward at the hips. Don’t let a hunch form on your back when bending. Before bending, ensure that your legs are placed at a distance of 3 to 4 feet from each other.
Stay in this position until you take about five to six breaths. If you find the posture uncomfortable, you can start off by touching your hands on the floor, in front of you, before you bend. Once you have perfected the art of bending, you can tie your hands at the back and then slowly stretch your hands up towards the ceiling for a good stretch. This will help improve your breathing patterns and body flexibility.
2. Surya Namaskar
Surya is the Sun God, and Namaskar means salutation. The Surya Namaskar is an important posture in Yoga because it helps every single part of your body. It is a combination of 12 poses, with pose designed to strengthen different body parts. If you have just started out to do yoga, you can start out in a simple Surya Namaskar pose.
Stand straight in a prayer position with your hands folded at the front. Now, bend forward nicely without forming a hunch on your back. When you do this, you will feel not only immense relaxation in your bones and muscles but also feel reduced bouts of stress attacks or panic attacks.
Trikona means triangle. So, in this posture, you will strike a triangular pose. First, you need to keep your legs wide apart and then put only your right foot forward. Stretch out both the arms freely. Push the right side of your body (just the area of your waistline) over your right foot and bend down nicely. Place your right palm on the floor and stretch your left arm up towards the ceiling. Remember that your back should remain straight when you are doing these. Hold this position for a few seconds before you repeat the process by placing your left foot forward.
4. Ardha Navasana
This is the pose in which your body is placed in the half-boat position. Keep your palms on the ground and raise your legs slowly. This will help you if you are a beginner. If you have enough experience in doing yoga, you can also take away the balance from your hands and keep them raised as well. Your knees and chest should be at a reasonable distance from each other. If they are close, lean a little without forming a hunch in your back.
This position will act on your abs and help you burn fat easily, thereby aiding in weight loss. Remain in this position for about 30 seconds before you repeat the process. Once you have mastered this pose, you can also try out the full-boat pose in which you will have to straighten the legs that you have raised.
This is also known as the upward plank position. Here is a disclaimer – this pose is not right for you if you are a beginner. It requires immense control and balance from your body. You will get this only when you have a reasonable experience in doing yogic postures. However, this asana is worth trying because it provides an all-around benefit to your body. This posture will strengthen your core muscles and also stabilize your breathing patterns.
Stretch out your legs well and sit on the floor. Now, with your feet in the pointed direction, slowly elevate your body from the tailbone. Before lifting your body, you should ensure that your hands are kept at the back of your body (right behind your hips), and they should point towards your feet. Now, slowly raise the only body without altering the position of your hands or your feet. Never bend your knees in this exercise. This posture is great for the muscles in the spine, shoulder, arms, wrist, and back.
This is a great posture if you want to to get rid of stiff-hips or stiff-back problems. Today, we are all glued to our computers all day, and our body becomes very tight and rigid. This posture will loosen these stiff muscles and make our body more flexible than ever.
For this, you have to lunge with one of your knees in the front. This knee should be in a right-angled position. The best part about this posture is that it gives you the flexibility to place your hands in a position that is convenient for you. You can stretch your arms to the sides, stretch them upwards or keep them down. If you are a professional, you can try stretching the arms at the back of your body without altering your front knee position. Continue this posture for about half a minute, before you move to continue it with the other knee.
7. Bridge Pose
This posture might seem to be quite difficult initially, but when you practice it well, you can do it with ease. If you want washboard abs and a figure to die for, this is the pose that is right for you. The muscles around your hips, stomach, and thighs are benefitted immensely from this posture.
First, lie down your back and stretch your arms on your sides. Spread your knees well and fold them. Raise your body from your pelvis and balance your posture by bringing your hands to hold your ankles well. This will not only help you maintain this posture for a while but will also lend the much-needed flexibility to your body muscles.
If the name of this posture sounds complicated to you, here is the simplified form – the side-plank! Yes, it is the simple side plank that you usually do when you work out in the gym. However, with yoga, you will learn the correct posture that will correct your breathing patterns and bring about weight loss effectively.
With your palms facing down, start your regular plank with your shoulders wide apart and your toes placed together. Now, slightly tilt only your feet towards your left with the entire balance on your right hand, because you have to lift your left arm as well. Place your left arm high above you to point towards the ceiling. Ensure that you don’t bend your hips or shoulders when you maintain this posture. Stay in this side-stacked position for half a minute, before you move to the other side.
9. Parivrtta Anjaneyasana
We saw about the Anjanayesana (lunge) position in one of the previous paragraph. The Parivrtta Anjaneyasana is the revolved lunge position, and it is more complicated than the original lunge position. This is an intense yoga pose that benefits your abs greatly. It is highly recommended that you first perfect the lunge position before you move on to this position.
Lunge forward by bending your knee at a reasonable angle. Keep the other leg that you have stretched out, as straight as possible. Rest your right elbow on your left knee and hold your hands together in a prayer position. Hold your hands together very tightly as this will put enough pressure on the shoulders and back, thereby helping your muscles to stretch well.
This is the shoulder-stand position as you are standing on your shoulders! It requires a lot of flexibility and practice from you to perfect this position. Inverted yoga postures are not only fun but also immensely useful for weight loss as they increase your body’s metabolism rate very rapidly.
Lie on your back on the ground with your knees bent slightly. Your feet will be placed high in the air in this position, but your hands will be flat on the ground. This is the basic posture. Once you can balance your feet in the air properly, you can use your hands to hold your upper back for better balance and flexibility. Ensure that your legs are held straight when you stretch them towards the ceiling.
Some tips to remember when you do yoga for weight loss
The postures mentioned above are great for losing weight; however, you need to know the right way of doing them if you want best results. Never rely on yoga alone to lose weight; you have to follow a strict diet pattern as well.
Also, don’t eat before these postures because that will hamper your flexibility. Take enough rest between the postures to help your muscles recover well. Breathe deeply during these yoga poses and allow your muscles to be flexible. Have a weight loss goal and talk to your yoga trainer about the same. This will help you do those poses that will benefit you. Some poses are great for losing weight around the hip whereas some are great for burning fat. Some poses are great for getting a lanky frame. You need to have an objective and work towards it for great results.