There are many ways to lose weight right from enrolling for a gym training or joining a dance class such as Zumba to going for swimming or any sports activity. If exercising is not your cup of tea, then you can even try Yoga asanas to lose weight. Yes, Yoga is not only a holistic approach to lose weight but can help you to stay fit both physically and mentally. However, before you try yoga for weight loss, there are a few things you need to consider.
According to Grand Master Akshar, Founder & Chairman, Akshar Yoga before an individual tries to lose weight through yoga, one must first assess their exact health condition which includes body mass index (BMI), dietary intake and lifestyle measures. Moreover, certain parameters such as genetic predisposition of a person to gain weight and health problems that lead to weight gain should be properly checked medically. This is because, certain health condition such as hypothyroidism, PCOS, physical injury and recent surgeries can make it difficult for a person to lose weight. In such a case, talk to your doctor and a certified yoga master to help you lose weight.
Yoga Asanas To Lose Weight
There are numerous yoga asanas that can help you to lose weight. But if you are a beginner and wondering where to start, then here a five simple and effective yoga asanas to lose weight.
1. Surya Namaskar
Surya Namaskar is one of the best ways to lose weight through yoga. This age-old practice is proven to be the key to stay fit and healthy. It also helps you to tone your body along with aiding in weight loss. It is proven beneficial to burn calories and improve overall body performance Here’s how to do Surya Namaskar.
-Stand with your feet together, spine aligned straight and palms joined in a Namaste position. Inhale and lift your arms up. Stretching your body as you bend back.
-Exhale and bend forward from your waist with your spine straight. Place your palms sideways. Push your right leg in a way that the knee touches the floor. Ensure your toes are stretched out.
-Inhale and take your left leg back similar to a plank position. Bring the knees down and relax your chest and chin on the floor as you slide forward. Your stomach should not touch the floor.
-Slide forward and raise the trunk and head up. Exhale and lift your hips up to an inverted V-shape. Inhale and bring your right leg forward so that it is placed between both your hands. Bring the left knee down, keep your toes out and hips down as you look up.
-Exhale and bring your left foot forward. Place your palms on the floor but rest your chest on the thighs. Inhale and raise both the hands above your head as you return to starting position.
-Repeat the steps with the left leg forward to complete one full cycle. Initially, you may begin with a fewer number of cycles as per the comfort or limits of your body until you reach the ultimate goal of 21 cycles per day.
2. Santholanasana (balancing pose)
Commonly called the hand plank, santholasana helps tone muscles of the arms, legs and abdominal region, thereby aiding in weight loss. It also energizes and improves the balance of the body. Here’s how to do the asana.
-Lie down on your mat, face down and palms flat on the floor, beside your chest. Exhale as you lift your body off the floor by balancing your weight on your palms and your toes.
-Your neck, spine, and legs must form a straight line. Ensure that your elbows are straight and focus your gaze forward. Hold the posture for 30 seconds. Do this along with other yoga poses for at least 30 minutes every day to lose weight.
3. Chaturanga dhandasana (Four-Limbed Staff Pose)
Also known as the low plank, Chaturanga dhandasana is one of the common yoga asanas to lose weight that helps in burning fat and strengthens the abdominal muscles. It also focuses on upper body strength thereby helping you to tone your upper body. Here’s how to do the asana.
Begin with santholanasana. Bend your elbows, and lower upper body such that your neck, spine, and legs are now parallel to the ground. Inhale as you assume the position and hold for 15 seconds. Do this for at least 30 minutes for added benefits.
4. Naukasana (Boat Pose)
Naukasana, as the name suggests, is been named after the shape it takes – that of a boat. The benefits of this yoga asana include strengthening the lower back, stomach and leg muscles. It also tones the waist and promotes weight loss, removes gastro-intestinal discomfort and helps in building and toning the abdominal muscles. It acts as one of the yoga asanas to lose weight.
Lie down on your back with your arms placed sideways. Lift your legs together such that the legs are 30 degrees off the floor. Exhale as you lift your arms and upper body. Ensure that as you lift your legs and upper body, it’s posture represents the shape of a boat. Try to dedicate at least 30 minutes to this practice every day for optimal and speedy results.
Pranayama is derived from two Sanskrit words “Prana” means breath and “ayam” means to control. Hence, Pranayama is a breathing exercise in which there are a conscious and deliberate control and regulation of the breath. It is the secret to channelize our breath to help gain maximum benefit to our body and mind. The common pranayama techniques include Kapalbhathi pranayama and Khand Pranayam.
These techniques can help you to get rid of the fat in the abdominal region (belly fat) and help balance body metabolism. Pranayama also strengthens the functioning of the inner organs and improve the overall functioning of the body. It is recommended to practice Pranayama for around 15 minutes a day to lose weight. Here’s how to do Kapalbhathi pranayama:
-Sit on a floor in a comfortable position with your spine straight. Inhale through both the nostrils, hold and then exhale sharply such that you pull your stomach towards the spine. Pull the stomach in as you exhale.
-Ensure that the exhalation is short and quick whereas the inhalation is short and passive. Do a round of 30 counts and rest for a minute by taking deep breaths. Repeat.
-You can do 15 and then gradually increase the reps. However, if you are doing it for the first time, do it under expert guidance.
(The article is reviewed by Dr. Lalit Kanodia, General Physician and Dr. Deepak Soni, Ayurvedacharya)