Spirituality, peace of mind, relaxation, breath control, meditation, stretching, and body poses are some of the things that come to mind when most people hear the word yoga. I actually never thought of yoga as an efficient method to lose weight, until one of my colleagues suggested to try it after my complaints about how difficult it was to shed a few extra holiday pounds.
My idea of getting in shape used to be going to the gym and work hard to get in shape. Which is great, but getting into that strenuous routine can be tough, especially for people who are overweight. That’s why it was always such an impossible mission for me to stay fit for longer than few months.
If push-ups, pull-ups, and crunches seem like a herculean task to you, then yoga can change your perception about weight loss techniques. Just as it helped me redefine my lifestyle and kick my bad habits, it can help you too!
Strike a Pose
Even casual practitioners know that there are various types of yoga, but only few realize that this ancient practice isn’t all about stretching. Ashtanga, Kundalini, Sivananda, Vinyasa, and Hatha are among the most popular styles and each offers different benefits. However, there are some universal ways in which yoga improves your well-being:
- Improves your concentration.
- Lowers the cholesterol and blood sugar levels.
- Helps you lose weight.
- Restores your inner peace.
In case you’re wondering how it is possible to accomplish all these things with a seemingly simple practice, I suggest to try several yoga poses and see it for yourself. These are just several positions that you can experiment with if you want to tone up your body; and once you get into the groove, you’ll get acquainted with many more:
- Boat Pose helps to lose weight and improve the thyroid gland, as well as kidney function.
- Surya Namaskar or Sun Salutation, which consists of series of 12 different poses, is one of the most popular asanas, and apart from reducing stress, it also has a vital role in weight loss.
- Triangle Pose improves digestion, ameliorates backache, and slims down your body.
- Seated Forward Bend can reduce obesity and soothe anxiety.
In a few words, what yoga does is to boost your metabolism, help you develop healthy eating habits, as well as lower levels of cortisol – the stress hormone. The trick is to fully immerse yourself in this life-changing discipline.
Take a Deep Breath
Breathing is an essential component of yoga. Although it is what keeps us alive, many people actually don’t do it properly, which means that the body doesn’t get enough oxygen. The American Lung Association says that an average person takes from 12-15 breaths per minute at rest, and this adds up to about 17000 breaths a day. Short, puffy breaths are responsible for fatigue, indigestion, poor fluid movement, and inefficient exchange of gases.
Now that it’s clear how essential proper breathing is for the functioning of your body, it’s easier to understand why we might sometimes feel sluggish, bloated, or tired. Once the normal breathing pattern kicks in through yoga, you can even expect to grow a bit taller since deep breathing is beneficial to both bones and muscles. Believe it or not, you can even lose fat by breathing! A research study carried out by the University of New South Wales, found that we actually breathe out fat as carbon dioxide.
Framing the Mind
I must admit that I was a bit reluctant to start practicing yoga (or any other physical activity) because I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to keep up with the challenge. I couldn’t possibly believe that my body would be able to bend and twist so much. After my first yoga class, I soon realized that it’s an amazing way of getting around to exercising, as it smoothly ushers you into the process without putting too much strain on the body. It resulted in a more positive outlook on the whole training idea.
A good way to keep the motivation up, is by tracking your progress and monitoring the most important body stats while you’re exercising. I recommend to use a body measurement app, because the more you’re aware that your exercising routine is effective, the more you’ll be encouraged to continue and put even more effort into it.
So, if we put two and two together, we can easily conclude that yoga produces countless favorable effects for the body and mind. Just sit up, strike a pose, take a deep breath and have your body run like clockwork!
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