Obesity has become one of the biggest concerns of the present century with millions of people get affected all over the world. According to a report by CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) nearly 93.3 million adults along with 13.7 million children in the U.S. were clinically obese in 2015-2016. As a result, people are frantically searching for options to reduce weight and get in shape. Though advancements in modern science have introduced different pills and techniques to remove body fat but, not all of them are safe and plenty of them induce various side-effects. So, what is the safest way to get rid of excess body weight you may ask? Well, why not opt for a more holistic approach that is not only safe but, allows you to embrace a lifestyle that is healthy, rejuvenating and also spiritually enhancing. Of course, it is yoga. This ancient art of body-mind practice which originated nearly 5000 years ago in the sacred land of India, offers a complete set of practices and disciplines that will lead you towards a more fulfilling and healthy life.
Yoga is more than the asanas or poses that you may think of. It is a complete approach that guides you towards a life of happiness, satisfaction and enlightenment. And, diet is one of the most important constituents that will assist you towards this path in life. With a holistic approach, you prepare your body with all the good things that nature offers and feel good from within. Unlike, a temporary solution to your problem, yoga brings a permanent solution to not only shed those extra kilos but rebalance your mind and body in perfect synchronization.
Be Ready for a Different Lifestyle
The first and foremost thing that you need to tell yourself is that “Get ready for the change.” Losing weight is not something which cannot be accomplished within a day or two. It may take months even years to reach the stage that you are aiming for. Also, adopting a yogic lifestyle may seem cool, but it requires a lot of discipline, sacrifice, motivation, and willpower. So, you need to prepare yourself for that change and focus on what you what you want to achieve. However, it is always advised to take the entire process slowly and steadily and do not rush at things. Take it easy, relax and more importantly, believe in yourself. This will be the foundation for a new beginning so keep it strong and never stumble.
Restrain from Binge and Emotional Eating
Binge eating, as well as emotional eating, happens to be one of the biggest causes of obesity or weight gain. It gradually develops as a habit and clings to you in no time. At first, you remain unaware of it, and once you find out that you are putting on weight, it’s already too late. Also, you may tend to eat more and binge on fast foods when you are upset or depressed. So, you need to keep a check on that by staying relaxed and being conscious. Yoga is an excellent way to relax your mind and let go off negative emotions and thoughts. It also reduces the stress causing hormone, cortisol in the body and lowers the blood pressure.
Hatha yoga, for example, is a very effective form of yoga that makes use of various yoga asanas to promote spiritual and physical wellness. The simple breathing exercises associated with Hatha yoga releases the tensions that accumulate in the body. As a result, the mind is relaxed to a great extent and abstains from any negative thoughts. Similarly, meditation also helps you to relax and remain calm even in difficult situations. With daily practice of meditation, you develop creativity, happiness as well as gain peace of mind and clarity. Practicing yoga and meditation on a regular basis will allow you to put a curb on bad eating habits and develop a healthy lifestyle that will pave the way towards a healthy self.
Burn those Calories with Intensive Yoga Sessions
Though yoga is vast and not just confined to physical benefits but, there happens to be a physical aspect attached to it which can be put to good use for losing weight. There are several forms of intensive yoga poses that can help you burn those calories and speed up the weight loss process. Here’s a look at some of those forms:
- Bikram Yoga
Do not confuse this with hot yoga. It is actually 1½ hours of continuous yoga practice that will take you through twenty-six different poses sequentially. Some of the poses are quite challenging and will no doubt make your heart rate go up. The class will be heated to some extent nothing like what happens in hot yoga. The idea is to promote weight through the intensive yoga poses at fast-paced movements.
- Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga
Ashtanga Yoga or Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga is quite popular among athletes as it requires a certain level of endurance to perform the poses effectively. However, that doesn’t mean ordinary folks cannot perform Ashtanga Yoga. Sri Krishna Pattabhi Jois an Indian teacher from Mysore is the name behind the popularity of this form of yoga. Ashtanga poses vary in their difficulty levels and concentrate on internal locks (bandhas), focus (drishti), breath, endurance and stressing strength. A few weeks of practice and you will experience greater flexibility, muscle tone and even to a certain extent, weight loss.
- Forrest Yoga
Sounds new right! Well, this yoga form was devised by a person named Ana Forrest keeping in mind the modern day ailments that people usually suffer from like rounded shoulders, lower back pain, etc. The sequences are intense with deep breathing and long holds resulting in the burning of those extra calories in the body.
Along with Yoga Practice Adopt a Yogic Diet
Only focusing on yoga asanas will not help the cause of weight loss. It is important to focus on the diet and pair it along with the asanas to achieve fulfilling results. A yoga diet or an Ayurvedic diet is based on wellness systems that go back thousands of years into the Vedic era of ancient India. Ayurveda states that you must according to your dosha or constitutional type. There are three types of dosha which are Vata, Pitta, and Kapha. So, it is always recommended to visit an Ayurvedic doctor and learn what your dosha is. There are quite a few principles that you need to follow while you are on a yogic diet. Please refer them below:
- Incorporate 6 tastes or rashas
Your every meal should consist of foods which should have the following tastes: salty, sweet, bitter, sour, astringent and pungent. The meals should begin with sweet tasting foods; then you should consume salty and sour foods, then you should finish your meal with foods tasting pungent, astringent and bitter.
- Eat with concentration
While taking a meal avoid talking and other distractions. Appreciate the meal you are eating.
- Eat slowly
Savor the food taste by eating slowly.
- Eat when the Food is Hot
Don’t eat food that is cold.
- Eat in proper quantity
When you are eating, ensure that you are eating the right quantity to avoid fullness and overeating.
- Eat after a proper interval of time
After determining your dosha type, create meals that will nourish your body as well as balance the energy. Given below are foods to eat and avoid according to different doshas:
Food to Eat: Vegetables like beets or asparagus, grains including rice or quinoa, eggs, dairy products, fish, beef, peanuts, cooked cherries and apples, white wine or beer, sesame oil, pecans, coriander leaves, and ghee.
Foods to Avoid: Watermelon, raw apples, dried or raw vegetables, chickpeas, corn, barley, turkey, lamb, chocolate and red wine.
Foods to Eat: Carrots or celery, prunes or applesauce, polenta, granola, cottage cheese, buttermilk, turkey, shrimp, lima beans and dry white or red wine.
Foods to Avoid: Figs or grapefruit, oats, cucumber, kidney beans, pancakes, pasta, ketchup, fish, duck, chocolate and hard alcohol.
Foods to Eat: Cauliflower, broccoli, watermelon, raw apples, black beans, pasta, dry cereal, unsalted butter, egg whites, chicken white meat, almonds, coconut, beer and dry white wine.
Foods to Avoid: Avocado, apricots, raw leeks, onion, soy sauce, bread from yeast, dark chicken, salted butter, beef, chocolate and red wine.
Boost Your Metabolism
The stubborn fat rolls and excess weight are often an indication that your metabolism needs a boost. Apart from making your diet nutritious and wholesome with yogic recommendations, it is also important to include certain extra elements and follow certain rules to boost the belly fire. So, here a look at how you can do that:
- Kick Start Your Day with a Lemon
Warm lemon water is the first thing that you should have in the morning. This will assist in stimulating the gastrointestinal tract as well as improve digestion.
- Keep the Digestive Fire Burning
For good metabolism, it is important to have a good digestive power. Therefore, according to Ayurveda, it is a good idea to have slices of ginger soaked in lemon juice with small amounts of rock salt fifteen minutes prior to your meals. This will keep the digestive enzymes stimulated and help in proper digestion.
- Make Herbal Tea a Regular Part of the Diet
Herbal tea made from coriander leaves, bay leaves, tulsi, and mint leaves along with some honey come with a plethora of benefits. Apart from increasing your body’s metabolism, it will also help you with the weight loss process.
- Nurture the Lymphatic System
According to Ayurveda, sipping on small amounts of hot water all along the day instead of cold water is a good way to detoxify and loosen the lymphatic system especially during the cold season.
- Say Yes to Spices and Herbs
Even though regular asanas and nourishing diets will lead you towards a healthy lifestyle but inclusion of certain spices and herbs will further aid in metabolism and less amount of fat storage in the body. Consume a glass of milk every day mixed with Ashwagandha powder for boosting metabolism, stamina and tackling insomnia. Haldi or Turmeric is also well-known for its anti-inflammatory properties as well as fat burning properties. If you really want to foster your body’s metabolism, then make it a point to include black pepper in your diet on a daily basis. From eggs to juices to your meals, add a pinch of black pepper, and you are on the right path to give your body just what it requires.
- Enjoy Your Food and Avoid all Sorts of Distractions
Yes, you read that right. While having your meal, chose a place that is calm and relaxing and devoid of any distractions. It is not considered healthy to eat food while checking your phone or watching TV. This results in energy waste that also affects the metabolism of the body. So, whenever you are ready to have your meal, sit down at a quiet place and just concentrate on the food. Also, chew your food well and avoid drinking water in between.
Yes, it is true that losing weight is no child’s play but, if you adopt a yogic lifestyle and stick to an Ayurveda diet and follow it religiously, the effects will show up sooner or later. So, stop trying so hard on modern techniques and adopt an ancient approach that will leave you feeling younger, healthier and a better self.
Author Bio: Bipin Baloni is a passionate Yogi, Yoga Teacher and a Traveller in India. He provides Yoga Teacher Training Nepal. He loves writing and reading books related to yoga, health, nature and the Himalayas.