Understanding the weight reduction potential of Yoga
weight, is mainly due to result of
heredity or a change in our lifestyle that is conducive to storing
(calories) in the form of fat tissue or heredity. These changes can include
moving from an active lifestyle to a more sedentary one, changes in diet,
increased consumption of fats, sugars and other foodstuffs that contain 'empty
calories'. Other changes may be a disease or an accident that makes us reduce
our activity, but we continue eating as if we were as healthy and active as
before the incident.
In order to
maintain normal body weight, it is not enough to
treat the body by special diets, changes in lifestyle or becoming a sportsman.
It is also necessary to work on the level of consciousness, which is the mental
energy, and on the other aspects which are instrumental to this power or energy.
The science of yoga is a scientific system for developing our body/mind
instrument for the expression of consciousness.
Yoga can be a useful tool in the battle of the bulge, but before
that one needs to understand how can yoga assist in weight loss and management.
To begin with, yoga allows us to slowly recognize the need to answer to
our body's unique physiology, undistracted by outside influences. We learn,
through practice, that no two people will perform a given pose in the exact same
manner. The individual differences are the result of each person answering to
what reflects their own personal comfort zone. Increasing an awareness of your
individual needs is only one potential benefit of yoga for weight loss.
A 150-pound person doing Hatha yoga burns about 96 calories
every 20 minutes.
Some of the asanas stimulate sluggish glands to increase their
hormonal secretions. The thyroid gland, especially, has a big effect on our
weight because it affects body metabolism. There are several asanas, such as the
shoulder stand and the
fish posture, which are specific for the thyroid gland.
Fat metabolism is also increased, so fat is converted to muscle and energy. This
means that, as well as losing fat, you will have better muscle tone and a higher
vitality level. Asanas like gatyatmak meru
vakrasana (dynamic spinal twist),
chakki chalana (churning the mill), and nauka sanchalana (rowing the boat),
massage the abdominal organs and help mobilize the extra fat tissue stored
namskara is a complete practice in itself because it includes
pranayama, mantra and
meditation. This practice has a unique influence on
the endocrine and nervous system, helping to correct
metabolic imbalances that
cause and perpetuate obesity.
Secondly, yoga deep breathing increases the oxygen intake to the body cells,
including the fat cells. This causes increased oxidation or burning up of fat
exercises induce more continuous and deeper breathing which
gradually burns, sometimes forcefully, many of the calories already ingested.
Thirdly, yogic practices that reduce anxiety tend to reduce anxious eating. When
strain we tend to gulp our food without attaining much genuine
satisfaction. We end up in eating more. If, on the other hand, we approach our
meals with greater calmness of mood, whether produced by habits which have
calmed our life or by yoga (like a pause for prayer before a meal), we tend to
be less likely to overeat in a frantic effort to quiet our midday anxieties.
Lastly, yogic aids may be employed between meals whenever one becomes tempted to
search for a snack. One may deliberately turn to yoga, rather than to the icebox
or snack bar, when he feels the need for a lift or relief from restless
nervousness. Practicing yoga may make you aware of your weight problem that may
also act as a deterrent from overeating.
For those whose eating habits, whether at meals or between
meals, are believed to be due to feelings of weakness rather than anxieties,
most yogic postures and breathing exercises are designed to increase one's
strength. The exercises themselves, although consuming some energy, also
store up energy which, when combined with oxidizing breathing, provide
energy that is ready for use rather than for storage
Most forms of yoga do not burn
significant amounts of calories. This is important, as a strong predictor of
long-term weight loss success lies partly in the ability to exercise for maximum
energy output. While yoga can certainly fatigue the muscles and require a great
deal of effort, the net energy expenditure from yoga is not likely to be high
enough to promote the all-important caloric deficit, which is what you need to
lose weight. There's an easy solution to this: simply make sure that in
addition to yoga, you're engaged in some form of enjoyable aerobic
swimming. As with all weight management tools,
yoga can become a powerful partner in helping you achieve your goals, as long as
you set reasonable expectations as to its strengths and limitations
Dated 3 January 2012