A Complete Guide To Yoga For Weight Loss
Weight loss is one of the many benefits of yoga, a holistic practice that enhances your quality of life. Regular yoga boosts your mental and physical health. It works as effectively as an aerobic exercise, helps you shed extra kilos, regulates your moods, and relieves stress. This article is a guide to practising yoga daily.
Is Yoga Good For Weight Loss?
Yes, regular yoga promotes weight loss as much as other aerobic workout sessions. The combination of breathing exercises and yogasanas positively impacts metabolism, regulates blood flow in the body, and also aids weight loss. Yoga is a viable, low-cost, non-invasive alternative to typical weight reduction therapies, with the added advantages of long-term lifestyle improvements and positive psychological changes.
How Yoga Promotes Weight Loss?
Yoga promotes weight loss in different ways. The following are key weight loss benefits of yoga:
Helps Cultivate Mindfulness:
Practising yoga develops mindfulness and awareness of the body. This prevents impulsive eating, thereby restricting weight gain. For example, mindful eating helps exercise portion control and staying away from unhealthy foods. Regular yoga practice also calms anxiety leading to behavioural changes to prevent stress eating.
Sattvik diet is based on the three yogic qualities of food:
Sattva: Food that is balanced and pure.
Rajas: Food that increases the energy of the body.
Tamas: Food that decreases the energy of the body.
Based on these principles, the Sattvik aims to bring the feeling of happiness and calmness. It is a diet that is rich in micronutrients and fibre. You can include fresh, nutrient-dense food like fruits, vegetables, sprouted whole grains, legumes, nuts and seeds, and honey. This diet suggests avoiding meat, poultry, stimulants like caffeine, alcohol, fried food, white sugar, and processed food. Research shows that vegetarians have a lower body mass index and less body fat thus, following a Sattvik diet along with yoga can help you achieve your healthy body weight.
Speeds Up The Metabolism:
Hatha and power yoga poses like the Sun salutations and Bhastrika Pranayam help speed up the metabolism, contributing to better digestion. This aids weight loss.
Sun salutations with intensive breathwork are as effective as aerobic workouts and help accelerate calorie burn. Some active styles of yoga like Ashtanga Yoga, Power Yoga, and Vinyasa Yoga also prevent weight gain.
Burns Belly Fat:
Restorative yoga poses help burn harmful abdominal fat by working on the core muscles. Trikonasana and the Cobra pose are great at reducing upper and lower belly fat.
Promotes Lean Muscle Formation:
Yoga poses like the Boat pose, Plank pose, Chair pose, and Bow pose work on the glutes, abdomen, and hamstrings, helping you lose fat, strengthen muscles, and promote muscle formation.
If you practise yoga regularly and for a long time, your body will become highly flexible. Yoga also tones your body making you look lean and fit.
Studies conducted among various populations of different age groups have all concluded that yoga is beneficial for weight loss with additional benefits.
- A 12-week yoga mixed with aerobic exercise training had a favourable effect on morphological and blood lipid markers in female college students.
- A study conducted on adult males showed improvement in weight, body fat percentage, and stress levels.
- A study among overweight and obese women also showed similar results. They concluded that yoga with a calorie-restricted diet had better results compared to a typical energy-restricted diet and thus more helpful in weight control for people on weight reduction programs.
NOTE: Make sure you perform yoga under the supervision of an expert to prevent injuries.
12 Yoga Poses To Lose Weight
Here is a list of yoga poses that you can include in your workout routine for weight loss while strengthening your body:
Boat pose or Navasana is highly effective for a strong core. It also improves metabolism and reduces belly fat with regular practice. Both men and women can try this pose to improve balance, flexibility, and posture.
Plank pose or Phalakasana, helps reduce abdominal fat and improves core and shoulder strength. This is also suitable for both men and women.
Warrior 1 Pose:
Warrior 1 pose or Virabhadrasana 1 is a popular beginner yoga pose, especially among women for weight loss. It helps in improving one’s balance and getting a good stretch of the leg and arm muscles. It improves core strength and increases fat burn from the abdominal region.
Warrior 2 Pose:
Warrior 2 pose, also known as Virabhadrasana 2, is a variation of the Warrior 1 pose. It is easy to do and is among the best poses for weight loss. With regular practice, you can expect a flat stomach. It works for men and women and boosts balance, flexibility, and strengthens the core muscles.
Bow pose or Dhanurasana is an excellent pose to increase fat burn in the abdominal area. It works by stretching the muscles around the tummy, arms, and legs. It is an intense yoga pose for both men and women. It is advisable to do it under expert supervision.
Chair pose or Utkatasana works wonders for both men and women. It mainly targets legs, thighs and knee muscles. The pose helps improve metabolism and accelerates fat burn.
Bridge pose, also known as Setu Bandha Sarvangasana, helps improve metabolism and stimulates abdominal organs for improved digestion. It is great for both men and women.
Cobra pose or Bhujangasana provides a good stretch to the abdominal muscles and helps reduce belly fat. Both men and women can include this in their routine. Avoid it if you are pregnant.
Upward-Facing Dog Pose:
Urdhva Mukha Svanasana, the Upward-Facing Dog pose strengthens abdominal muscles and burns fat around the waistline. Both men and women can do it regularly and benefit from it.
Downward-Facing Dog pose:
This pose has several benefits. Also known as Adho Mukha Svanasana, it works on the core, leg muscles, arm muscles, back of the legs, and the brain as the pose improves blood flow. It burns calories faster among men and women.
Trikonasana or Triangle pose also engages the core muscles to reduce abdominal fat deposits and promotes muscle formation and strengthening on legs and arms in both men and women.
The Cat-Cow pose or the Marjaryasana – Bitilasana helps release tension in the neck and spine areas while burning belly fat in men and women.
Best Time To Do Yoga!
Yoga has a wide range of poses and variations that help the body and mind in different ways. You can do it either in the morning or at night, depending on your preference and suitability. One study suggests that yoga improves sleep quality when done in the evening, enabling weight maintenance and enhancing weight loss.
On the other hand, morning yoga, mainly Sun salutations, boost your metabolism, which helps maintain sugar levels throughout the day.
7 Yoga Tips for Weight Loss
Here are 7 tips that will help you achieve your desired weight and fitness level with yoga:
- Consistency is key. Practice yoga regularly to see visible weight loss results.
- Start with simple postures and gradually proceed to the advanced poses.
- Do not forget to focus on your breath along with the poses.
- It is best not to eat anything before yoga. If you are too hungry, choose a light snack.
- If you want to lose weight faster, consider combining yoga with other workout routines like running, swimming, or HIIT. Consult a certified expert for guidance.
- Along with regular yoga practice, eating a healthy and balanced diet will maximise your weight loss efforts. It is best to consult a certified fitness expert before you begin.
We know that Yoga is a holistic practice that incorporates the knowledge of food, drink, a balanced diet, and consumption patterns, as well as their impact on one’s body and mind. The practice encourages Mitahara, which translates to consuming moderate food.
It suggests that the food you choose should be fresh and light to eat. Further, the solid food you consume should fill up half your stomach, one quarter with water and the last quarter must be left empty. It also encourages choosing wholesome foods like whole grains, nuts and seeds, fresh vegetables, fruits, herbs, and unprocessed additive-free food. It also suggests avoiding meat, fish, coffee, alcohol, spicy or sour food, and fried or stale food.
- Do not expect results too soon, as you may get disappointed and give up. Be realistic and patient.
A well-balanced diet with regular yoga practice has extraordinary health benefits for both men and women. It is best to include it in your fitness regimen under the supervision of a certified trainer and nutritionist who will suggest a plan best suited to your lifestyle.
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