To understand how yoga enhances weight loss, one needs to understand the essence of yoga and how it relates to the human body.
Before we target weight loss, it is imperative to comprehend the various factors that contribute to weight gain.
Asides bad dietary habits, one should understand that weight gain also arises from the ineffective functioning of different body functions. Yoga has some of the most fundamental breathing practices at its base which aims at balancing, cleansing and rejuvenating our internal organs and their functions. These different breathing exercises and basic poses help to increase metabolic and heart rates. They strengthen your core and stamina.
Yoga aims at making you fit by increasing your flexibility. It involves body twisting, forward and backward bends, inversions and other variety of poses that facilitate weight loss.
Once you’re healed from within, the focus then shifts towards the outer body.
Now, pull out your mats and let’s begin!
The Bridge Pose (Setu Bandh)
Lie flat on your back.
Flex your knees while keeping your feet a distance apart. Make sure your knees and ankles are in a straight line.
With your palms facing down, put your arms beside your body.
Inhale gently while slowly lifting your back off the ground.
Rotate your shoulders and let your chin touch your chest.
You must sustain the weight of your body with your arms, shoulders and heels.
Both of your thighs must remain parallel to each other on the ground.
Continue breathing quietly and softly.
Maintain that position for some minutes before returning to your original position as you gently exhale.
One variety is raising your right knee to your trunk upon exhalation, and then inhaling and straightening the leg perpendicular to the floor.
Maintain the position for a minute before returning to the initial position. Repeat the pose with your left leg.
Stretches the neck, chest, spine and abdomen.
Lowers stress and anxiety by calming the brain.
It’s advisable to skip this pose if you have a history of neck or back injuries.
The Frog Pose (Bhekasana)
Lie supine on your abdomen.
Put your hands behind you and attempt to grab your feet as you turn your knees up.
While you inhale, raise your chest, and press your shoulders towards each other.
Make sure your hips are touched by your heels while you hold your feet by the toes.
Retain this position for about a minute and gradually return to the previous position.
You can do a half frog pose (Ardha bhekasana) as an alternative.
Just lie on your stomach and push your forearms against the floor. Lift your head and upper body. After that, flex your right knee touching your buttock with your heel on the right side.
Bearing yourself on your left forearm, guide your right arm back, as you curl the toes of your right foot. Keep this position for about 30 seconds. Rinse and Repeat.
This pose strains the chest and the abdomen.
Stimulates the visceral organs.
This pose is not advisable if you suffer from any neck, shoulder or back injuries.
Also, avoid this pose if you suffer from high blood pressure or a migraine.
The Locust Pose (Shalbasana yoga)
Lie on your stomach and rest your arms beside your body. Ensure your palms are facing up, while your forehead rests on the floor.
By turning your big toes towards each other, your thighs will inwardly rotate. Now, firm your buttocks.
Elevate your head, arms, upper torso, and legs away from the ground as you exhale.
Ensure your big toes are still turned towards each other, tightly set your heels and legs.
Now raise your arms in such a way that they are parallel to the ground, and extend them with your fingertips.
Thrust your arms towards the roof.
Look to the front or slightly upwards as you keep the back of your neck erect.
Remain in this position for about 30 seconds. Exhale gently before returning to your initial position.
Crocodile or Sea Monster pose (also called Makarasana) is a variety of this pose. After you attain the final position of shalabhasana, interlock your fingers, and press your palms against the back of your head.
This pose strengthens the chest, shoulders and belly.
Stimulates the visceral organs.
Relieves stress and enhances posture.
Avoid this pose if you have a headache or back injury.
For people with neck injuries, they can support their forehead on a thickly folded blanket.
The Boat Pose (Nauka Chalan)
Sit on the ground spreading your legs straight before you.
With your fingers pointing towards your feet, place your hands on the floor a little behind your hips.
Lean back slightly and heave through your breastbone
Keep lengthening and stretching the front of your torso.
Bend your knees, and lift your feet off the floor as you exhale. Make sure your thighs are at an angle of 45 degrees with the ground.
Extend your arms along your legs so they are parallel to each other and the ground.
Maintain this position for about 20 seconds before returning to the original position.
Half Boat Pose (Ardha navasana) is another variety that can be tried.
Once you have attained the final pose of navasana, firmly clasp your hands to the back of your head. Slowly exhale and slightly lower your legs. Stretch your elbows out to the sides, and ensure the tips of your big toes are in line with your eyes.
Stretches the hip flexors and abdomen.
It stimulates the kidneys and bowels.
Relieves tension and enhances digestion.
Pregnant and menstruating women, people suffering from headaches, asthma, diarrhea, heart-related diseases and low blood pressure should refrain from this pose.
If you have had a neck injury, do this pose with your back against a wall.
The Half Spinal Twist Pose (Vakrasana)
Sit comfortably assuming a cross-legged position.
Turn your lower body to the right, stretching your right leg and flexing your left leg at the knee.
Place your left arm slightly away from your body while you bend your right hand placing it on the outer part of your left thigh.
Maintain this position for about 10 seconds before returning to the previous position.
Breathe normally, turn to the other side and repeat.
For more comfortability, you can turn the bent leg a little farther away from the body.
Reduces abdominal fat and strengthens the backbone.
Pregnant women, people with recent abdominal surgery and people with severe spinal complaints should refrain from performing this pose.
The Triangle Pose (Trikonasana)
Stand upright, with your feet apart.
Slightly turn your right foot out by 90 degrees and turn your left foot towards the right side.
Firm your thighs.
Extend your torso over your right leg as you exhale, bending at the hip joint.
Position your right hand on your shin or the floor outside the right foot.
Stretch your left hand towards the roof. Make sure it is straight.
Now turn your head in the direction of your left hand.
Keep this pose for up to 30 seconds before you go back to the previous position by inhaling.
You can stretch the top arm over your top ear and parallel to the floor instead of stretching it towards the ceiling.
Relieves tension, stress and backache.
Stimulates abdominal organs.
Hypertensive people should turn their heads downward in the final pose.
Those having neck pain should look straight ahead instead of turning their necks to look upwards.
The Headstand Pose (Shirshasana)
Pad your head and forearms using a folded blanket.
While kneeling on the floor, lace your fingers together and place your forearms on the floor (make sure they are shoulder-width apart).
Put the center of your head on the ground.
As you breathe in, elevate your knees off the floor. With your heels elevated, slowly move your feet closer to your elbows
Lift through your upper thighs, set your shoulder blades, and move your feet away from the ground. Make sure you raise both feet at the same time.
Firmly secure your tail bone as your legs rise perpendicularly to the floor.
Now, press those heels towards the ceiling.
Inwardly firm your outer arms and soften your fingers. Balance your weight on both forearms.
As a rookie, you can try maintaining this pose for approximately 10 seconds before returning to the previous position as you breathe out. Make sure both of your feet touch the ground at the same time.
Eka pada shirsasana is one variety where you lift your left leg and move it perpendicular to the floor. Place your right leg parallel to the ground. Stay in this pose for about 10 seconds, after which you inhale and swap the positions of your legs.
Stimulates the abdominal organs and enhances digestion.
Tones the spine, arms and legs.
Relieves stress and calms the brain.
Contraindicated in people with heart diseases, headache, hypertension, back and neck injuries.
Pregnant women must also refrain from trying this pose.
Since this is an intermediate pose, prior experience is needed to perform this pose or under the supervision of a professional.
The Upward Plank Pose (Purvottanasana)
Sit down with your legs stretched in front of you. Place your hands behind your hips pointing in the direction of your feet.
Point to your feet and prepare your body to rise.
Lift your body from the tailbone and attempt pulling your head back as well. It is an exact opposite of a standard push up.
This will stretch your spine, back, shoulders, arms, wrists and fortify your muscles. It is also great for the respiratory system. It is also good for the core strength of the body as it works on your inner thigh muscles, legs and hips.
Though this may seem a bit difficult at first, the yielded results will leave you much satisfied.
The Warrior Pose (Veerabhadrasana)
This involves doing the mountain pose, followed by extending one of your legs backwards with the other leg going into a lunge-like position as you position your knee at a ninety-degree and your hands raised above your head.
You can bring this further by doing the Veerabhadrasana II or Warrior Pose 2 in which you’ll bring your hands to the front of your chest and straighten your outstretched leg outwardly while your other leg remains positioned at ninety degrees and both of your arms are stretched out wide apart.
The warrior pose tones your thighs, legs, back and arms. It also improves blood circulation.
The Shoulder Stand (Sarvangasana)
Stack a few thick blankets on one another before lying on it with your head placed on the floor and shoulders supported.
Bend your knees and put your arms beside your body firmly
pressing your arms against the floor. Now begin to move your feet away from the floor till your knees come near your face.
Stretch your arms outwardly, flex your elbows bringing them closer to each other.
Clasp your palms to your back and ensure your torso is in a straight vertical line.
Elevate your bent knees towards the roof and straighten them as you take a breath in.
Attempt raising your upper backbone from the floor and look at your chest. Stay in this position for about 30 seconds, after which, you can gradually come down by flexing your knees. Now slowly roll back your torso to the floor.
It stimulates the visceral organs and thyroid glands.
Aids digestion and reduces fatigue.
Tones the buttocks and legs.
The Sun Salutation Pose (Surya Namaskar)
One of the essential, well-known and widely practiced poses is Surya Namaskar, which means sun salutation. It consists of a series of twelve different yoga poses that focuses on various parts of the body.
What makes Surya Namaskar exceptional for the whole body is the fact that it involves twelve different poses enveloped in one – examples are: the cobra pose (bhujangasana), forward bend and the basic prayer pose among several others.
According to experts, Surya Namaskar is an excellent way to keep your body active.
It helps to exercise properly, all the possible areas of the body.
It helps in strengthening the skeletal system including the ligaments.
Also aids in relieving stress and anxiety.
Power Yoga Suryanamaskar
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