Have you tried belly dance, aerobics, Zumba or maybe folk fitness but the weighing scale just didn’t budge? We hear you!
Well, we think yoga could be the answer to all your efforts! And no, yoga is not slow or boring. It may be hard to believe but many are turning to yoga for fitness.
12 sets of Surya Namaskar or 30 minutes of backbends, inversions, or standing poses may not make you burn 500 calories as other fitness exercises do. But what it does is, it pushes our metabolic activity, indirectly burns calories, and heals our body.
If you are facing a plateau in your weight loss journey, no need to worry! Yoga is an ancient practice of keeping your body in shape. It works at various levels from the inside out. It is a combination of physical, mental, and spiritual practices that work on the alignment of the entire body from the core.
Along with relieving stress and rejuvenating your mind and body, yoga also helps us to create lean muscle mass and tone up.
How yoga helps in metabolism
Metabolism helps in maintaining your body’s basic functions. Basal metabolic rate (BMR) is the rate at which you expend energy to maintain life-sustaining functions. Usually one tends to look for ways to manipulate the BMR and amplify the weight loss journey.
Yoga compresses and massages muscles which improve metabolism. Similarly, breathing techniques practiced during yoga also improve oxygen intake thereby warming up the body. This also improves metabolism. The art of traditional practice further stimulates and strengthens your endocrine glands and increases the metabolism even more.
Yoga is not a quick fix to lose weight but the continued practice of yoga is a great way to not only lose that excess weight but also maintain the ideal weight. It acts on your endocrine organs thereby stimulating and strengthening them. This in turn boosts your metabolism and burns more calories.
3 Asanas for increasing BMR
Ustrasana – Camel Pose
It is an intermediate-level backbend that opens the lungs and anterior spine. Ustrasana adds flexibility and strength to the body. It also helps in improving digestion, increasing breathing capacity, facilitating oxygen exchange, and fastening the fat-burning capability.
How to go into Ustrasana: Kneel on your yoga mat and take your hand behind your back. Place the palms on your hips. The sole of your feet should be facing the ceiling with knees in line with your shoulders. Slowly arch your back and move your hands further down on your leg.
Keep sliding and crawling with your arms slowly till they are fully extended and your back is arched away from your legs. The tail bone should be drawn-in towards the navel and the abdomen should not drop down towards the hips. Hold the posture for 30-60 secs. Release and repeat.
Salamah Sarvangasana – Shoulder Stand Pose
Sarvangasana is also referred to as the Queen or mother of all asanas. It is an advanced inversion. It is most suitable for weight loss because the practitioner is lifting his entire body weight on his shoulders with the support of his arms. This activates core muscles and helps in shedding the extra flab. It also strengthens the upper body, abdominal muscles, and legs.
In this pose, blood rushes to the upper body, delivering oxygen directly to our heart and brain. Sarvangasana improves the respiratory system and improves sleep. It also nourishes the thyroid gland which regulates our body’s metabolism. It also balances thyroid levels by stimulating the gland.
How to go into Sarvangasana: Lie on your back with your arms by your side. Throw or lift your legs over your head and bring them down like 180 degrees into half halasana or ardha-halasana. This will open up your hamstring muscles.
Once you are stable in this position, then slowly raise your legs vertically at 90 degrees while bringing your hands to support your back. Keep the elbow closer and the weight lifted away from your neck. Hold the pose for 30-60 secs and you can repeat by going back to ardha-halasana and then going back to sarvangasana.
Parivrtta Utkatasana – Twisted Chair Pose
This asana works on core muscles including the lower and upper back. It is a twisting asana that massages the endocrine and abdominal organs thereby improving digestion. The digestive tract functions smoothly and boosts metabolism.
How to go into Parivrtta Utkatasana: stand with your both feet together. Bend your knees and lower your hips as if you are sitting on a chair far behind you. Ensure your knees do not come forward at an angle.
Your knees should form a 90-degree angle to the floor. Fold your palms in namaskarasana and bring them together in front of your chest. Keep your arms folded, rotate your spine, and bring your right elbow to your left knee. Hold for 30 seconds and repeat on the other side.
It is advised to do asanas under the supervision of a teacher or consult your doctor before performing them independently.
There are many ways in which you can improve or facilitate your weight loss journey. Small steps will lead to big results. For a more sustained approach to managing weight, one needs to go to the root cause of weight gain and tackle the difficulty of losing weight.
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