We will introduce the principles behind weight loss in Yoga in this article. Various routines and diet tips will be posted as we continue our journey. There are many forms of yoga, some of them are targeted at achieving different goals. If weight loss is the goal, then there are a few ways that yoga can help.
Yoga provides both isometric and isotonic exercises. A full range of asanas will properly stretch and work out every muscle in your body in a non damaging manner. This causes caloric burn. Then you add in the deep breathing. Proper oxygenation of blood speeds up your metabolism, which compounds the caloric burn.
So far this is just basic yoga. To add to this, you can practice specific styles targeted to weight loss such as :-
Vinayasa – Full session of constant movement and focus on continuous flow from one asana to the next. It can be done in a relaxed manner. If more intensity is required, do more frequent changes. This style of yoga will get your heart rate up and keep it up.
Ashtanga – This style is more aggressive using arm strength and balance and core strengthening exercises. Whereas Vinayasa can be more varied, in Ashtanga you typically do the same set of exercises in the same order. The effect on the body multiplies in this manner. Its possible to target muscle groups.
Iyengar – Full focus on the micro-accuracy of each pose. Holding the pose for as long as possible is encouraged. Breath management is very important in this style. Many parallels can be drawn to modern isometric exercises. Also, this form of yoga concentrates on structural alignment and addressing imbalances. It allows use of supporting props to address structural alignment concerns.
The Boat pose (Navasana) is a great example of a core workout that will make your muscles burn. Also like in any balance pose, the full body is engaged in keeping stability and that works out all the small muscles that often get missed in targeted workouts. Straighten out your kneecaps for an added hamstring stretch.
The yogic diet is also low in fats, nutrient rich and high in fiber which will aid in the weight loss. Meditation will give you the mental strength to control your desires. Meditation can be done in any stage and is after all, just a process of focusing. Do it while you eat.
Concentrate on chewing slowly, eating slowly. Focus on the taste. This will enable you to fully use every bite and process foods better. Gradually you will come to know your body better, gauge your hunger better. This will aid in controlling portion sizes. The respect for your body that yoga encourages will lead you to make better eating choices.
Barring medical issues, the number one thing you require to lose weight is Discipline. All of yoga encourages discipline.
Control the movement. Control your muscles. Control the breathing. Small steps.
Get your mind used to being in control of your body. That all important mental command over your body is practiced with each and every movement you make in yoga. Then finally when that comes easily to you, then you control the errant mind with its many desires, using meditation.