Yoga And Weight Loss
Yoga is the physical, mental, and spiritual practices or disciplines which originated in ancient India with a view to attain a state of permanent peace. The ultimate goal of Yoga is moksha (liberation) though the exact definition of what form this takes depends on the philosophical or theological system with which it is conjugated.
It has ability to foster an inward focus, making you more aware of how your body feels in all of your daily activities. That self-awareness can cause a shift in the way you think about how you treat your body in other ways, such as eating when you are hungry, rather than because it is your normal time to eat, and choosing to stop eating when you are satisfied, rather than over full.
Any style of yoga helps tone, lengthen, and strengthen the muscles, which can contribute to the sculpting of the body, but not necessarily to weight loss. Remember that muscle is, after all, denser and therefore heavier than an equivalent volume of fat tissue. According to yogic tradition, asana practice also gets the prana (vital energy) of the body moving, which can be helpful for you if weight gain, decreased energy, and sluggishness have appeared together.
Calories burned during yoga vary widely — from 180 to 360 per hour — depending on the type of yoga you practice. Certain poses, or asanas, are “killer apps” for weight loss, with benefits that far exceed mere calorie burning and muscle strengthening. Yoga speeds up the metabolism by stimulating endocrine glands that regulate the metabolic rate.
Certain poses can also help with trouble spots. You can try the following:
- Shoulder stand and fish pose: Both rouse the thyroid, helping to give your body a metabolism boost .
- Valrasana (spinal twist), a lengthening child’s pose, and cobra pose: These twisting poses massage the abdomen, target internal organs and aid with optimal digestion.
- Dhanurasana (bow pose) stimulatesthe vital force of the liver.
- Savasana (corpse pose) and Viparita Karani (legs up the wall) helps finding the right balance between the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous system.
- Paschimottanasana (seated forward bend) activates the internal heat of nervous system by lengthening the femoral nerve and the spinal nerves. This heat burns up and purifies visceral (deep) fat and subcutaneous (superficial) fat.
- The dogs: Downward-facing dog and upward-facing dog poses are particularly helpful in toning hips and thighs, also try Ardha Chandraasana(If you have digestive disorders, a spine injury or high blood pressure, avoid doing this pose).
- Ardha Matsyendrasana: This aasana is specifically designed to increase the capacity of your lungs so it can inhale and hold more oxygen.
- Pranayam is the best way to relax after exercise and allow your mind to reach a peaceful state.
But while you’re striking poses — particularly in fast-moving vinyasa or power yoga — it’s crucial that you pay attention to your body. Good alignment is always important but when people are too focused on burning calories they sometimes compromise alignment.
IMPORTANT NOTE: Ask your doctor before you begin, and then go to a class, get a yoga DVD or get other how-to on basic yoga positions, or join meltdownchalenge.com to work out with professional trainers live via Skype.
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