is not a religion. It is a science, science of well-being, science of
youthfulness, science of integrating body, mind and soul."
- Amit Ray, Yoga and Vipassana: An Integrated Life Style
Yoga is not a recent phenomenon. It is an ancient Indian practice which
is associated not just with the physical well-being of the body but with
the overall health of a human being. I see yoga as a holistic package,
which unlike other physical activities aims at cleansing and
rejuvenating the human body from outside as well as within. If one
adopts the practice as a part of everyday routine, one can actually feel
the difference - mentally, physically as well spiritually.
With the growing trend of people getting more cautious of their
expanding waistlines and increased instances of metabolic disorders -
cancer, diabetes and others - there has been a sudden upsurge in people
prioritising their health and resorting to tailor-made diet plans and
For the longest time in my life, I was of the opinion that yoga involves
a set of exercises where holding certain postures for a few seconds was
the main objective. I used to think of it as a regime meant for those
who were already fit but were keen on building their flexibility. I
could somehow never relate it to being an effective tool for weight loss
as compared to the high intensive workout sessions in the gyms. It took
me quite some time to understand the mechanism of different asanas and their efficacy but I must tell you, the understanding of it was enlightening, affirmative and oh, so gratifying!
( 5 Easy Yoga Poses For Common Health Problems )
Yoga and weight loss
To understand the importance of yoga and its relationship with human
body, I got in touch with a well renowned yoga practitioner as well as
fitness expert, Seema Sondhi. On being asked how yoga helps in losing
weight, she proposed to start from the very basics of the practice.
According to her, before we target weight loss, it is important to
understand the various factors that contribute in weight gain. Apart
from faulty dietary habits, one should identify that weight gain also
stems from inefficient functioning of various bodily functions. Yoga has
some of the most basic breathing practices at its base which aims at
cleansing, balancing and rejuvenating our inner organs and their
functions. Various breathing exercises and basic asanas help in increasing metabolic and heart rates. Once you are healed from within, the focus then shifts towards the outer body.
"I can't really pin-point any specific set of asanas for weight
loss. Almost all of them aim at cleansing your inner mechanism,
strengthening your core and stamina, increasing flexibility, and upping
your metabolic rate," says Seema.
She explains how yoga aims at making you fit by increasing flexibility.
It involves twisting the body, forward and backward bends, inversions
and other poses that help in opening up the otherwise rusted muscles and
thereby facilitate weight loss.
Here are few simple yoga asanas to help you get started:
One of the basic, most well-known and widely practiced asanas, surya namaskar
literally translates to sun salutation. It comprises a series of twelve
different yoga poses that focus on various parts of body. What makes surya namaskar
great for the entire body is the fact that it involves twelve different
poses encompassed in one - for example, basic prayer pose, forward bend
and the bhujangasana (cobra pose).
According to various experts surya namaskar is a great way to
keep your body active as it helps in exercising all possible areas of
your body. It helps in strengthening your skeletal system including
ligaments and also aids in easing stress and anxiety.
The warrior pose or Veerabhadrasana
It involves going into the mountain pose, followed by stretching one of
your legs back and with the other leg going into a lunge like position
with your knee at a ninety degree positioning and your hands stretched
right above your head. You can take this further to the veerabhadrasana II
or warrior pose 2 wherein you bring your hands in front of the chest
and straighten your stretched leg, pointing it outwards while your other
leg is still at ninety degrees and your both arms are stretched out
The warrior poses work on your legs, thighs, back and arms. It helps in improving blood circulation.
Triangular pose or Trikonasana
Start with a wide legged stance; turn your right foot out. Now stretch
your arms out, wide open pushing the right side of your waistline over
your right leg and slowly go down, facing downwards with a flat back.
Keep your right palm on the ground (you can choose to keep it in front
of your right foot or behind it) or on a block with your left arm
stretched upwards. Repeat the other side.
This asana works on the sides of your body, arms and thighs.
Upward plank or Purvottanasana
This may seem a bit difficult to crack towards the start but the results that this asana yield
will leave you much gratified. This works extensively on your back,
shoulders, arms, spine, wrists and fortifies muscles. It is also great
for the respiratory system. It is great for the core strength of the
body as it works on your legs, inner thigh muscles as wells as hips.
Sit with your legs stretched in front of you. Put your hands behind your
hips pointing towards your feet. Now, point your feet, prepare your
body to rise up. Raise your body from the tailbone and try pulling your
head back as well. It is the exact opposite of the position which you
get in just before preparing for a conventional push up.
My personal favourites
Though I don't practice yoga on a regular basis but there are a few
poses that I do include in my daily workout routine. These are great for
strengthening, stretching and flexing your muscles. These are
challenging, grueling and will give you a sensational feeling once you
The boat pose:
You lie down on your back and as the name suggests go in to a V shaped
position resembling a boat. Try holding the position for 10 secondsto
begin with and increase the bar with every passing day. You will feel
your stomach muscles going for a toss but trust me, this will kill that
stubborn belly fat.
The bridge pose:
Lie down on your back with your hands stretched sideways now fold your
knees, spread them out and raise your body up from your pelvis area.
Take support from your hands and hold the position. This works wonders
on your hips, thighs, stomach as well as back.
Physical exercise has always been held important for the overall
well-being as well as to keep health related troubles at bay but it
should always be kept in mind that any form of physical activity will
remain futile and unproductive if not teamed with proper diet.
Seema therefore recommends a satvic or yogic diet,
which involves relying only on fresh and organic produce. Keeping a
check on spices and processed food consumption is extremely crucial. One
should include home-cooked food, fresh fruits and vegetables in one's
daily diet. Also, a person should monitor the amount of food consumed in
one sitting. Portion controlled eating is encouraged, keeping a strict
check on binge-eating.
( 5 Easy Yoga Poses For Common Health Problems )