“How can I lose weight?” A ubiquitous question in recent years among young men and women around the world. In India alone, over 135 million people are obese. A few years back, even I was also one among them. As a beginner, I did not know how to begin but I was pretty sure that I wanted to go about in the healthiest way possible.
Yoga has been an indispensable part of my life for the last several years now. I cannot emphasize enough on how it has changed my life for good and helped me shed off over 20 kilograms.
It was in the year 2014 when I reached a low phase in my life, both personally and professionally. Little did I know that both were so interconnected. I had put on so much weight (thanks to my desktop job) that I felt my body was not functioning to its full potential. Neither was I able to concentrate on my work nor did I have the will to do it.
This was when I got introduced to Yoga by a colleague of mine, who was indeed an inspiration. I just wanted to be that guy that gives out positively despite his hectic work schedule and, most importantly, being extremely productive. This is one of the reasons why I decided to write this article. I am going to share my experiences with you so that this can help and guide you in your weight loss journey.
Before we start, I would like to put up a small disclaimer here. I will not delve deep into the technicalities of Yoga. Such information is readily available on the internet. My prime motive here is to highlight the main points and to make it as simple as possible.
Understanding Yoga for Beginners
To start with, let us have a quick understanding of what Yoga is. Yoga in Sanskrit means ‘Union’, connoting to the union of body, mind, spirit and environment.
Yoga has been in practice for thousands of years and was originated in India. The main ideology behind Yoga is to nurture harmony in and around us. This philosophy has been passed on from generations.
I would like to define Yoga as a combination of breathing techniques, body exercises, meditation and diet control. I have read many articles on Yoga over the past several years and trust me, as a beginner, this information will be enough for you to start.
How to lose weight with Yoga
Practising Yoga helps develop toned muscles and improve metabolism. Studies have shown that Yoga helps improve heart health and reduce several risk factors for heart disease. From my experience, Yoga has helped relieve lower back pain and also reduce inflammation in the body.
Here are some of the steps we can take to reach our weight loss goal:
Breathing is an essential aspect of Yoga. Perhaps one may wonder what breath has to do with weight loss. Performing regular Pranayama (deep breathing exercises) increases the lung capacity and also has a calming effect on your mental state, thereby relaxing your body. We don’t realize, but most of us are not breathing the right way as we take shorter breaths most of the time. Each deep breathing will help intake a good amount of oxygen for our cells to absorb and in turn rejuvenate our body.
2. Yoga exercises
Yoga exercises are the fundamental aspect of weight loss, and Surya Namaskar (or sun salutation) is one of the basic Yoga practices. It has 12 postures. Performing Surya Namaskar daily has given me amazing results. It has also helped me lose weight and excess fat, especially around the belly area. It is always advisable to take guidance from experienced Yoga instructors for performing Yoga exercises, rather than experimenting with them.
Mediation is the process of calming one’s mind and body. All one needs to do is to be in a relaxed posture, be it sitting or lying down, close your eyes, and concentrate on your breathing. In the beginning, one may not be able to even focus for a minute. But with continuous practice and effort, one can gain control of their minds.
4. Diet control
Diet control forms another major part of Yoga and weight loss. Without having control over what one eats, it is harder for us to obtain results. So a balanced diet must form part of our routine. Staying hydrated and having the right mix of carbohydrates and proteins is the best way to go about it. An important tip here would be to limit overconsumption of carbohydrates and increase the intake of vegetables. For a proper diet, it is imperative not to overeat and also to stay away from cigarettes and alcohol or any substance that hinders your natural detoxication process.
Importance of Yoga and the feel good factor
I have tried all forms of exercises but Yoga has been the most effective. The beauty of Yoga is that one does not need complicated equipment and to even have any concerns on accessibility. All one needs is a floor in a well ventilated and clean space. Yoga can therefore be done in the comfort of your homes and is budget-friendly as you won’t have to spend extra money on a gym membership.
The importance of Yoga in modern life is paramount. It improves our concentration, creativity, sharpens our memory, and also eliminates stress.
Yoga cannot be compared to a high-intensity cardio workout, but when done in high to moderate speed, the effect can be made more or less the same.
So when can one start this fabulous lifestyle changing journey? Well, the right time is now.
Start practicing the above steps daily and I can guarantee you that within a month’s time you will see amazing results. The continued practice of Yoga will lead you to a sense of peace and well-being. Hope you will experience the feel good factor sooner than later.
Yoga can also be practiced from a younger age and even during pregnancy. My wife practiced Prenatal Yoga during her pregnancy period and it has significantly helped her experience natural childbirth.
I hope you enjoyed reading this simple article. Please let me know your thoughts in the comment section below.
Thank you, and I wish you all best for your Yoga journey and a peaceful and happy life ahead.