Yoga is a known stress buster, but it’s also one of the most effective workouts for fighting stubborn fat stores, especially the ones that crop up after age 40.
Most weight gain is not simply a matter of too many calories taken in for the calories spent. Most weight gain is just symptomatic of serious underlying causes. When each of the eight areas of health listed in this article become out of balance, then these tend to be the major causes weight gain.
But successful weight loss isn’t only about the physical, there’s the mental aspect, too. In fact, these aspects of yoga could be the most potent for weight loss.
Yoga helps us mentally unwind by assisting to lower the hormones that are released in the body when we’re stressed. Stresse is, unfortunately, a chronic state of being for many, especially in our cities. Studies have shown that when we’re stressed out, angry or upset we tend to engage in “food-seeking behaviour”, and most of us don’t make the most sensible food choices in those situations, reaching for the chips instead of an apple. The body takes all those extra kilojoules and distributes them as fat in the abdomen, contributing to weight gain and increasing our risk of disease.
Yoga could inspire you to become a more conscious eater, choosing healthy, natural foods which fuel your body’s energy. Paying attention to the body’s signals on your yoga mat, and distinguishing these from your thoughts and emotions, can help you listen to your body’s rhythm of when to eat and how much, as well as help build your intuition in other moments of your day.
Poor food choices, opting for convenience over nutrition, often contribute to weight gain. Becoming aware of the present moment and practising mindfulness can help you enjoy every bite of food creating a sense of fulfilment, instead of grabbing anything on the go thereby leaving yourself feeling unsatisfied.
Yoga can help you make changes in your life and importantly, sustain and support those changes. The ancient yogis have a word, tapas which is Sanskrit for “heat”, and refers to the fire, discipline and dedication that fuels the practise of yoga.
This principle can be extended to the rest of your life to overcome inertia or dullness and change dysfunctional, self-sabotaging habits. You may find that without making a particular effort to change things, you start to eat better, exercise more, or are finally able to keep off excess weight.
1.Surya Namaskar: Suryanamaskar can do to your body what months of dieting cannot. And it can do to your mind what no spiritual discourse can. Read more about Sun Salutation.
2.Warrior Pose: Begin in High Lunge with your right leg forward. If you are in correct stance, your right knee should be directly over your right ankle. Your right toes should point straight ahead and your left toes should be pointed 45-60 degrees away from your body.
Make sure your right heel is in line with your left heel, then engage your legs by pressing through your feet. Bring your hands to your hips, squaring your hips and shoulders straight ahead. Then, relax your shoulders down your back and gently draw them together.
3.Cobra Pose: Lie on your stomach with your toes flat on the floor and forehead resting on the ground.
Keep your legs close together, with your feet and heels lightly touching each other.
Place your hands (palms downwards) under your shoulders, keeping your elbows parallel and close to your torso.
Taking a deep breath in, slowly lift your head, chest and abdomen while keeping your navel on the floor.
Pull your torso back and off the floor with the support of your hands.
Checkpoint: Are you putting equal pressure on both the palms?
Keep breathing with awareness, as you curve your spine vertebra by vertebra. If possible, straighten your arms by arching your back as much as possible; tilt your head back and look up.
Checkpoint: Are your shoulders away from your ears? Keep your shoulders relaxed, even if it means bending your elbows. With regular practice, you will be able to deepen the stretch by straightening the elbows.
Ensure that your feet are still close together. Keep smiling and breathing. Smiling Cobras!
Don’t overdo the stretch or overstrain yourself.
Release your hands from underneath your head.
Rest your chin or forehead on the mat.
Bend your knees, grabbing ahold of your ankles with your hands.
If you are unable to reach your ankles with your hands, the teacher may be able to help you, or you can practice one side at a time until you increase your flexibility.
Inhale and lift your head and chest up off the mat. At the same time lift your knees as high as you can. Keep your elbows straight and try to arch your body as much as possible.
The weight of the body should be more on the abdomen than on the hips. To shift your weight from the hips, try lifting your knees higher, pushing into your hands with your feet.
Hold the posture for 10-30 seconds, working up to one full minute or more. Be sure not to hold your breath while in the bow.
Exhale and with control release the legs back down to the floor.
Bring your hands underneath your shoulders and push the body back into the child’s pose, counter-stretching the back on the way.
Learn more yoga beneficial yoga poses from Art of Living website.