Yoga for Weight Loss: What you need to know to succeed (Part 2)
Can Yoga work for weight loss? From the ‘Breath of Fire’ exercise to the sun exercises, to the specific poses, learn how to execute each Yoga exercise when seeking to lose weight through this ancient, yet effective, form of physical culture.
Okay, let’s cut right to the chase for how Yoga for weight loss works.
We’ve gone over the sun salutations and if you are anything like me, you probably tried them out and are sold on Yoga ‘the stretching’ exercise actually burning calories.
Now let’s target the trouble spots.
Poses for Trouble Spots when Using Yoga for Weight Loss:
1. Abdominal Region: The Forward Bending Pose, the Bow Pose, the Peacock Pose, the spinal twist and the Triangle Pose.
2. The Arms: Definitely the Peacock Pose! the Wheel Pose, the Crow Pose, the Side plank Pose and the 4-limb Staff Pose.
3. The Thighs: The Bow Pose, The Shoulder-Stand, the Hero Pose, the triangle and wheel poses.
4. Love Handles: The spinal twist, the triangle pose, (with practice) the Side Crow Poses, (for ease) The Side plank pose.
I realize the spots above are the ones most of us seem to target when trying to lose weight, so I have made sure to go over them first.
I’m under the impression that if you had searched in google or done some research on Yoga for weight loss, you must have gotten some degree of information on the poses above, or signed up for a class, bought a Yoga DVD, something to learn some more about it, which is why I did not go over each pose in detail. But trust me, they are indeed very easy. I will emphasize though, performing the Sun Salutations (upwards of 24 rounds) should be your main focus in using Yoga for a weight loss regimen, even before the other poses.
This too will help: One pose that some Yogis and Yoginis state to be a versatile enough pose for the whole body will be the Shoulder-Stand. It is best practiced with its counter poses, in fact, since these poses have effects on the meta-physical and spiritual aspects of our lives, it will be safe to say never execute a yoga pose without counter posing it. You may throw some things out of normalcy.
Here’s a brief overview on the Shoulder-stand as a yoga pose for weight loss:
Spread a thick blanket on the floor and place your yoga mat on it. Lie on the back. Slowly raise the legs. Lift the trunk, hips and legs to a vertical position. Rest the elbows firmly on the floor and support the back with both hands. (See the Illustration for Proper Execution). Raise the legs till they become vertical. Press the chin against the chest. This is the chin lock. While performing this pose, the back of the neck, the posterior part of the head and the shoulders should touch the floor. Breathe in counts of 5-5-5 (inhalation, retention and exhalation). Don’t allow the body to shake. Its counter poses are the bridge and fish poses which will target your forearms/thighs and chest/neck respectively.
As I promised; here is the Breath of Fire breathing exercise that you can add to your yoga practice to speed up the burning of calories. (Doesn’t the name alone tell you something…?)
Breath of Fire Exercise (aka Kapalabathi or Bellows Breath)
-Take a few breaths and see that the diaphragm is moving properly. Now with the eyes closed (as they should be when performing all breathing exercises) make a sudden contraction of the abdomen with a backward push. This leads to a sudden yet firm expulsion of stagnant air from the lungs.
-Now follow this with a sudden relaxation (which naturally makes the new air rush in) now perform the exercise in this manner: passive inhalation and active expulsions at a rate of sudden abdominal push per second one after the other. A round should have 15-20 expulsions. Do not exceed 3 rounds
-You may gradually increase to 120 expulsions per round and then perform only 2 rounds. (As soon as you are doing 50 expulsions per round, do not exceed 2 rounds!) Between each round take a pause for about 30 seconds of normal breathing.
Now, there you have it, the information needed to get you started on the use of Yoga for weight loss: The poses for the trouble spots, the bellows breath, the shoulder-stand and the almighty Sun Salutations.
Remember, for the same reasons Hippocrates-the father of Medicine stated: “Let your foods be your medicine and your medicine your foods”, you’ve got to include a proper diet when seeking to lose weight with yoga. Keep in mind this is an all too important limb of this exercise so, there’s no way around it friends. (But I’m sure you know that already)
So strike a pose, and see for yourself how Yoga for weight loss can be an effective and safe choice.