What is yoga and what does it do?
Yoga: What You Need To Know | NCCIH
It began as a spiritual practice but has become popular as a way of promoting
physical and mental well-being. Although classical yoga also includes other elements
yoga as practiced in the United States typically emphasizes physical postures (asanas)
Spiritual health includes a purposeful life, transcendence and actualization of
different dimensions and capacities of human beings. Spiritual health creates a
balance between physical, psychological and social aspects of human life.
Yoga for Weight Loss: What you need know to succeed
Think Yoga for weight loss is impractical? Well, your opinion on that might change
after you read this. When used right (and incorporating all its limbs just as in
conventional exercise) Yoga DEFINITELY can help you lose weight…and did I mention
the positive effects on your mental and spiritual health? I just did my friend!
Using yoga for weight loss might not look effective to most people. I bet you they’ll
go: “Naw, it’s just stretching…what can it possibly do to burn calories?”
Well, a lot my friend. Yoga can work for weight loss if you use it right and I’ll tell you
what to do in due course.
“But how exactly can yoga work for weight loss Foras? (That’s my name by the way),
ya’ll just stretching that’s it…!”
Boy, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard that comment.
Well for interested parties, yoga as an option for weight loss is wise, safe and effective.
Remember, it is the oldest physical culture known to man and not only does this
exercise work the body, it works the mind and soul as well. Hey, have you seen Madonna,
Sting or Russell Simmons lately? (I can just see you go: “Foras…they were never overweight
so don’t go there! Well…they never gained weight either and they actually all still look
Okay, here are the poses I recommend you use when using Yoga for weight loss.
Now my friend, I will go over what I believe is the CORE of Yoga Poses.
Trust me, there have been times when I did this alone and still got the benefits that yoga
gives from daily practice.
Let’s take notes:
The Sun Salutations When using Yoga for Weight Loss:
These exercises are a combination of Yoga Poses, Breathing Exercises, Sun Bathing and
Prayer. They have been practiced for centuries by Yoga Practitioners in India, Martial Artists
and African Wrestlers and as a system to rejuvenate the body and soul are beyond compare.
It’s been said in the Drugless Healing circles that one round of the Sun Salutations is much
They are very simple to learn and just about anyone, regardless of their fitness or flexibility
levels can learn these simple exercises. In actuality, if you are familiar with “burpies” (the
calisthenics exercise), they do derive their origin from the Sun Salutations.
Here are some of their benefits:
-They alleviate disorders of the skin and waist.
-Flexibility increases and breathing is corrected, moreover, they mildly exercise the legs and
arms, thus increasing the circulation.
-They are the best way to burn calories and reduce weight and are often recommended for
obesity and depression.
-They are an effective way of loosening up, stretching and massaging all joints and internal
organs of the body.
-They stimulate and balance all the systems of the body including the endocrine, circulatory,
1. Stand straight with the palms together as in a prayer position.
2. Inhale and stretch the arms above the head.
3. Exhale and bend forward while touching the toes.
4. Inhale and stretch the right leg away from the body in a big backward step and keep the hands
and left foot firmly on the ground. Bending the head backward the left knee should be between the
5. Inhale and hold the breath. Move the left leg from the body and, keeping both feet together
and the knees of the floor, rest on the hands (arms straight) and keep the body in a straight line from
head to foot.
6. Exhale and lower the body to the floor. In this position, only 8 portions of the body come in
contact with the floor: the two feet, two knees, two hands, chest and forehead.
7. Inhale and bend back as much as possible bending the spine to the maximum.
8. Exhale and lift the body of the floor. Keep the feet and heels on the floor.
9. Inhale and bring the right foot along the level of the hands; left foot and knee should touch the ground. Look up, bending the spine slightly (same position as #4)
10. Exhale and bring the left leg forward. Keep the knees straight and bring the head down to the knees as in the third position.
11. Raise the arms overhead and bend backward inhaling. As in Position 2.
12. Exhale and drop the arms and relax.
You have now completed one round.
Perform as many rounds as possible in multiples of 3. Ideally you want to aim for 6 rounds
minimum and up to a maximum of 30. It only takes about 5-10 minutes, depending on your
speed and intensity and is best practiced with as little clothing as possible before an open air
window first thing in the morning.
Okay, we’ve gone over the core pose or combination thereof when using Yoga for weight loss
and some breathing exercises that would speed up burning up of calories. But my friends,
note, when I say use yoga for weight loss; I mean ALL its limbs: the poses, the prescribed
diet for practice and mind-set. If you were doing conventional exercise for weight loss, you’d
know to eat a healthier diet right…?
Well the same applies to yoga for weight loss as well friends.
Yoga for Weight Loss: What you need know to succeed
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
sing 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
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
-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
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
o way around it friends. (But I’m sure you know that already)