Not only is yoga exceptional for reducing stress, relaxing the body and taming disease, but it’s also a fabulous method for shedding unwanted pounds. By increasing oxygen intake, unblocking energy and strengthening the endocrine system, this ancient practice can greatly improve weight control. Paired with other health enhancing habits, integrating a yogic program into a daily routine can revitalize your life – along with your waistline.
Five thousand years (and counting)
We all have witnessed yoga studios popping up like mushrooms around the country during the last decade. But what we forget is that yoga is a science of observation and transformation developed more than five thousand years ago. The foundation of practice is built on three key structures: breathing, stretching and meditation.
Since a balanced body is a prerequisite for maintaining healthy weight, yoga is the perfect practice to adopt. Known to relax the muscles and mind, it also massages the internal organs. When digestion and circulation are improved, detoxification becomes more effective. Additionally, yoga encourages endocrine equilibrium, which stabilizes hormones. When the hormonal system is operating at peak efficiency, proper weight is sustained. Oxygen utilization is enriched as well – helping to increase metabolism. Here’s a basic overview of the three yogic tenets that specifically can target undesirable pounds.
As simple as it may sound, when we breathe properly, our body is brought into harmony very quickly. If we want to lose weight, we need to balance the endocrine system – mainly, the adrenal glands since they produce the stress hormone cortisol. When levels of this hormone are high, the body is trained to store fat readily. Even just a minute or two of deep breathing before a meal is enough to calm cortisol production, heal the adrenals and promote healthy weight. For those who desire a more intensive yogic breathing protocol, specific instructions can be found here.
Frequently, asanas (or postures) are what we tend to associate with the bulk of yoga practice. For weight loss, certain postures are recommended. The focus is on improving liver function for detoxification and burning of fat stores, soothing stress and boosting the metabolism through thyroid health.
To enhance the liver, use backbend asanas such as:
– Chakrasana (wheel pose)
– Dhanurasana (bow pose)
– Bhujangasana (cobra pose)
– Matsyendrasana (spinal twist)
For curbing stress, try:
– Viparita Karani (legs positioned up on wall)
– Savasana (corpse pose)
And thyroid stimulating postures include:
– Matsyasana (fish pose)
– Sarvangasana (shoulder stand)
Here again we see the importance of stress reduction in the pursuit slimming down. When we are not spinning around in our heads or through our days, the body has a chance to regain equilibrium. Then cortisol production drops, digestion improves, fat stores disappear. When the mind is clear, we make better food choices and eat more slowly as well. So take a few minutes each day and find a quiet spot. Sit in an upright position with a straight spine and follow the breath. Ten to 20 minutes is a good time frame for beginners.
Dedication to harmony
Yoga is a complex system of healing that teachers study throughout their lives to master its subtleties. Yet with patient, methodical and committed focus, we too can reap the benefits of this sublime practice. Consistency is the key. By integrating a small measure of yogic principles into our daily lives, the cumulative value will reveal itself over time. Before we know it, a lucid mind and fit body are realized.
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