Yoga regimens can be customized according to the weight, age and overall health of a person. Practicing yoga not only shows immediate weight-loss but can also improve your overall health and help maintain your ideal weight in the long-run. It is obvious that you cannot couple an unhealthy diet with yoga and hope for the best results. Weight loss with yoga will be effective only with permanent lifestyle and dietary changes.
Weight gain does not occur just as a result of ingesting extra calories and not exercising enough. There are a variety of underlying causes for which weight gain could be a symptom. Yoga treats these underlying causes of weight gain and there are specific asanas or poses that target each cause of weight gain. There are some areas of the body that Yoga acts on to help reduce weight.
The thyroid gland secretes two important hormones that regulate the rate of metabolism in the body – triiodothyronine (Ta) and thyroxine (T4). The improper secretion of these hormones can cause Hyperthyroidism and Hypothyroidism. The latter condition causes abnormal weight gain and also makes it difficult to lose weight. Hypothyroidism is caused due to the underproduction of T4 and T3 hormones and is classified as primary, secondary and tertiary depending on which organ dysfunction has caused the under-secretion of the thyroid hormones. There are various yoga asanas that can cure any cause of hypothyroidism and in turn help reduce weight. Sarvangasana (shoulder stand) and Matsyasana (fish pose) are some of the best poses to treat this condition.
The liver acts as the detoxification and cleansing center of the body. It purifies blood and processes both bad and good fats. It provides the body with energy as it stores glucose and it also secretes a co-enzyme known as Qio. A healthy liver breaks down fats easily, removes toxins and provides the body with energy to function properly. Backbends are recommended to improve liver function. Bhujangasana or cobra pose, Dhanurasana or bow- pose and Chakrasana or wheel pose are some of the best yoga poses for the liver.
Most of the yoga poses recommended for weight loss require the muscles of the body to be exercised. These poses lengthen and shorten the muscles repeatedly, making active muscle tissues burn more fat as fuel. They also help you build muscle tissue, which not only strengthens the body but also ensures that the basal metabolism rate is increased. Arm balancing postures like Bakasana (crane pose), Tolasana (scale pose), Pincha Mayurasana (feathered peacock), etc. not only engage the arms muscles but also muscles in the arms, shoulders, legs and abdomen.
Any form of exercise induces weight loss by increasing the
heart rate and then maintaining it at such high levels. Recent studies have shown that this is very harmful and can stress the nervous system and lead to adrenal fatigue. A much better way to ensure weight loss is by increasing the heart rate to a certain level for a very short time and then letting it drop. Yoga exercises like Surya Namaskar or sun salutation increases and decreases the heart rate in short bursts, which ensures that optimum heart rate is reached without tiring out the body unlike jogging or other aerobic exercises.
When the pH level in the body is very low (acidic), the body is triggered to store fat so that it can be used like a buffer. Visceral fat is the type of fat that is stored in the blood vessels and organs and its level can increase in the body due to low pH levels and this is extremely harmful as it can obstruct blood flow by narrowing the blood vessels. The healthy pH level is 7.35. People battling with weight issues have acidic systems. Asanas like Paschimottanasana (forward seated bend) and Janushirasana (head to knee forward bend pose) help increase alkalinity.
Parasympathetic and Sympathetic Nervous System
One of the leading causes of obesity is stress. Due to the stresses of modern-day life, the nervous system is put under a lot of pressure. The sedentary lifestyle and bad food habits also increase the stress on the nervous system. This leads to a chain reaction that leads to weight gain. To encourage a healthy lifestyle and weight loss, body and mind need to be soothed and you need to find the correct balance between the parasympathetic and sympathetic nervous systems. Yoga postures like Savasana or corpse pose and Viparita Karani (posture where the legs are placed on a wall) are recommended to reduce stress levels.