Haven’t you tried innumerable ways to control your weight? From running around the park for uncountable minutes to lifting heavy weights at the gym only to get your muscles crumpled. Did anything work out? Did you lose weight? No?
Ever tried the ancient yoga “asanas” or poses for reducing weight? You should give it a try once before coming to a conclusion about your tryst with weight loss. Out of the traditional 84 poses of Yoga, we will highlight the top asanas of yoga which will eventually help you in reducing the extra fat that has accumulated around your belly.
What is Yoga?
Yoga is an ancient form of exercise that entails physical postures, concentration, and deep breathing. Yoga can help you build your body’s endurance, resilience, calmness, body flexibility, and overall well-being.
Yoga has become a commonly practiced form of exercise for weight loss and muscle flexibility all over the world. Its immense popularity has been officially recognized at the UN (United Nations) general assembly. 21st June is regarded as International Yoga Day by the member nations of the UN to promote a healthy lifestyle, peace, and harmony among nations around the world.
Yoga is thought to have been practiced since the beginning of civilization. Yoga is a science that dates back thousands of years, long before there were any religions or ideologies. In yogic mythology, Shiva is regarded as the first yogi or Adiyogi, and the first Guru, or Adi Guru, in the world.
The presence of Yoga in ancient India is indicated by seals and fossil remains discovered from the Indus-Saraswati Valley Civilization with Yogic motives and figures performing Yoga Asanas. Yoga is mentioned numerous times in ancient epics such as the Mahabharata and Ramayana, as well as in the Vedas and Upanishads.
Though Yoga was practiced prior to the Vedic period, Sage Maharshi Patanjali systematized and documented the then-existing practices of Yoga, as well as their meanings and specific aspects, in his Yoga Sutras.
Philosophy of Yoga
Yoga’s primary philosophy is simple and clear: mind, body, and soul are all one and cannot be distinguished. Similar to Buddhism, the yoga ideology believes that spiritual ignorance causes suffering and adheres us to the wheel of samsara (rebirth). In yoga, we can remove our ignorance through a variety of pathways and methodologies. Still, the practice of mental discernment, disassociation, spiritual knowledge, and self-awareness is a core belief of yoga.
Yoga is divided into six categories. Each branch has a distinct purpose and set of attributes.
Hatha Yoga- This branch is the physical and mental division that aims to prepare the mind and body for the journey ahead in life.
Raja Yoga- This branch entails meditation and rigid adherence to the eight limbs of yoga, which are a set of disciplinary stages.
Karma Yoga- This is a service-oriented path that aims to establish a future free of unhappiness and narcissism.
Bhakti Yoga- This is intended to establish a devotional path, which is a positive way to harness feelings and thoughts and inculcate acquiescence and tolerance.
Jnana Yoga- This branch of yoga is all about erudition, the academic path, and intellectual development through study.
Tantra Yoga- This is the path of traditions, commemoration, or relationship consummation.
Yoga’s ultimate goal is to achieve a state of pure awareness known as Moksha. Yoga is the practice of transcending the mind in order to discover one’s “true self”. Our true nature is this state of pure consciousness. All mental and spiritual constructs dissolve in this state of enlightenment. In essence, yogic philosophy is an essential component of deepening one’s yoga practice and achieving spirituality.
Chakras of Yogas
Tantric yogis recognized that we must first transform ourselves in order to live a different life, one that feels more stable, transcendent, and connected to others. Working with the chakras, the body’s seven energetic centers, is one of the most powerful ways to change one’s internal reality.
“Chakra” means “spinning wheel” in Sanskrit. The 7 chakras of the body, according to yogic belief, are a consolidation of energy, feelings, and the body. These wheels represent our consciousness, and how we experience reality is heavily influenced by them, including our emotional reactions, desires or intolerances, confidence or anxiety, and even the representation of physical ailments.
1. Root Chakra (Muladhara)
The root chakra, the first of the seven chakras, is located in the pelvic floor. It is our connection to the land and our taproot. It keeps us physically strong and safe, grounded in incarnated reality. It stores our primal desires for nourishment, sleep, sex, and life. It’s also where we hide our aversions and fears. Muladhara, moreover, contains our most potent hidden potential (Kundalini Shakti). Through yoga and meditation, we start breathing life into the sleeping strength that resides in our roots.
2. Pelvic Chakra (Svadhisthana)
Our sacrum houses this chakra. It is our water source, the location of our reproductive system, and the source of our desires. When our senses move freely through this area, we can access our capability for healing and sensory pleasure. If this chakra remains unconscious to our thoughts, we may be ruled by our attachments.
3. Navel Chakra (Manipura)
The third of the seven chakras, the navel chakra, is affiliated with the digestive tract, the component of fire, and personal power and purpose. It is located at the navel. Consider Manipura to be your body’s energy powerhouse, as it contains a significant portion of our physical vitality. We are authorized by the energy of transformation when the mind moves freely in this center. If this area is blocked, we may encounter imbalances associated with hostile ambition, intensified ego, and the pursuit of power. Twisting poses are the most effective asana for purifying and curing the Manipura.
4. Heart Chakra (Anahata)
The heart chakra, located in the center of the chest, is said to be the most powerful chakra of all. It is also known as the “seat of the spirit” in the Himalayan Tantric culture. We can envision the heart, which is affiliated with the lungs and the component of air, as the conjugating place for the wide spectrum of our mortal emotional journey. The heart has the ability to propagate the highest qualities of a human being, which are compassion, love, kindness, and comprehensive faith in God. It can, however, transmit our innermost insecurities, frustration, solitude, and despair.
5. Throat Chakra (Vishuddhi)
The Vishuddhi chakra, the fifth of the seven chakras, is linked to the component of ether. It houses the endocrine system that controls metabolic activity, as well as the energizing home of speech and hearing. This chakra is about broadening our conversation to include the Divine on a spiritual level.
6. Third-Eye Chakra (Ajna)
The Ajna chakra, or “command center,” is located in the middle of the nervous system, between the eyebrows. It is the confluence of two important vibrant channels in the body, the Ida and Pingala Nadis. It is also the meeting point of the mind and body. It is physically linked to the pituitary gland, as well as growth and progress. When relaxed consciousness flows here, we have more intuition and a sense that we are far more than physical existence.
7. Crown Chakra (Sahasrara)
The crown chakra, the final of the seven chakras, connects us to everything that exists outside of our personal ego. It encompasses everything that exists outside of our linear intellect, as well as our individual needs, desires, and emotional responses. It is the entry point and the origin of enlightenment.
Types of Yogas
Whether you would like a more physically challenging class or a gentle, calming, meditative class, there are many different types of yoga to choose from to shape up your mind and body. Let’s find more below:
1. Vinyasa yoga
Vinyasa is a Sanskrit word that means “to place in a unique way,” in this case, yoga stances. Vinyasa yoga is often regarded as the most athletic and fit form of yoga. In the 1980s, Ashtanga yoga was modified into Vinyasa yoga. Several types of yoga, such as ashtanga, power yoga, and pranayama, can be classified as vinyasa flows.
2. Hatha yoga
Hatha is a Sanskrit phrase that relates to all of yoga’s physical stances. Hatha yoga simply refers to all other modes of yoga (Iyengar, Ashtanga, and others) that are based on physical practice in the West. There are, however, other divisions of yoga, such as kriya, karma, and raja yoga, that are distinct from the physical yoga practice. The most popular type of yoga is physical yoga, which comes in a variety of styles.
3. Iyengar yoga
B.K.S. Iyengar founded Iyengar yoga, which emphasizes alignment as well as comprehensive and clear movements. Students in an Iyengar class practice a variety of asanas while controlling their breathing.
4. Kundalini yoga
Kundalini yoga is both divine and physical in nature. This technique focuses on discharging kundalini energy, which is said to be locked or tangled in the lower spine.
5. Ashtanga yoga
In Sanskrit, Ashtanga means “Eight Limb Path.” People gather in Mysore, India, to practice this form of yoga at their own pace around each other; if you ever see Mysore-led ashtanga, you should know the series. Vinyasa yoga is a flowing style of yoga that combines breath and movement. Ashtanga yoga gave birth to it.
6. Bikram yoga
Bikram yoga is named after Bikram Choudhury and consists of a series of predetermined poses performed in a sauna-like environment with a temperature of about 105 degrees and relatively low humidity.
7. Yin yoga
Yin yoga is a slow-practiced yoga method that focuses on holding seated postures for longer periods of time. Yin yoga is also a meditative yoga practice that aids in the discovery of spiritual enlightenment.
8. Restorative yoga
Restorative yoga focuses on relaxing your mind and winding down after a long day. This style is primarily concerned with body relaxation. Restorative yoga also aids in the cleansing and liberation of the mind.
9. Prenatal yoga
Prenatal yoga is designed specifically for “mothers to be” and is appropriate for women in all trimesters of pregnancy. Because of the pelvic floor work, the focus is on respiration and connection with the growing baby. Many people believe that prenatal yoga is one of the best types of exercise for pregnant mothers. Prenatal yoga also assists women to prepare for labor and birth.
10. Anusara yoga
Anusara is a type of advanced hatha yoga that is similar to Vinyasa in that it emphasizes alignment, but with a focus on the mind, body, and heart connection. John Friend pioneered this style of yoga. He is also the creator of the Universal Doctrines of Alignment, a different system.
11. Jivamukti yoga
Sharon Ganon, along with David Life, formed Jivamukti in 1984. Jivamukti primarily consists of vinyasa-flow classes that are infused with Hindu divine teachings. Most Jivamukti devotees practice vegetarianism because this style emphasizes connection to the Earth as a living being at its core.
10 Top Yoga Poses for Weight Loss
For weight loss, do yoga as much as possible. At least 3 to 4 times a week, for at least 30 minutes, practice intense yoga poses. On the other days, take a more soothing, delicate class to round out your practice. Yoga classes such as Hatha and Yin are excellent choices to begin your weight loss journey.
If you’re a newbie, start with a 15-minute practice session and work your way up. This allows you to increase your resilience and flexibility while avoiding injuries. Give your body a rest once a week. For added cardio-vascular benefits, combine your yoga practice with activities like running, cycling, or weight training. Let’s take a look at some of the yoga poses you can try while trying to lose weight.
1. Bow Pose (dhanurasana)
Do you want to tone your stomach and back? Then the bow pose may be of assistance to you. This asana stretches your entire body while strengthening your core and abdomen muscles. The back, shoulders, abs, thighs, hips, and arms are all targeted.
Stay face down in the pose, knees bent, and hold the ankle with your hands while keeping your knees hip-width apart. While holding your ankle, lift your chest and thighs off the surface. Continue to breathe and maintain the posture for at least 25 seconds.
2. Plank Pose (phalakasana)
A plank is an excellent core-strengthening pose. It may appear simple, but the advantages are enormous. Planks work your forearms, back, hips, thighs, core muscles, and abdominals. To do a plank, start in a raised position and lift your body off the mat using the pressure of your hands, wrists, and elbows. Relax your neck by looking downward. Maintain the position for as long as possible.
3. Bridge Pose (setu bandha sarvangasana)
Lie flat on the floor on your back, fold your knees, and press down with your legs flat on the ground. Place your palms under your thighs, palms facing down, and move your torso up. Your neck and head should remain totally flat on the floor. This pose targets the thyroid, lower body, shoulder, spinal column, thighs, and back, improving digestion and muscle strength while also reducing hypertension and menopausal symptoms. It’s also effective for weight loss.
4. Downward Facing Dog Pose (Adho mukha svanasana)
If you want to slim down your body, the downward-facing dog pose is an excellent choice. Shoulders, glutes, hips, hamstrings, and back are all strengthened in this pose. It appears to be a resting pose, but you can feel the sting when you do it. Begin by putting your hands and knees at a distance of a few feet. Lift your knees off the ground and push your heels down to try and straighten your legs. Use your palm to press them down onto the floor. Hold the pose for 15 seconds.
5. Triangle Pose (trikonasana)
Triangle pose activates the lower abdominals, improves the thighs, enhances blood circulation, and relieves back pain. This pose can help you get started on your weight loss journey by burning the fat around your stomach and waist. Set your right foot forward and stand with your feet about 3 feet apart. Reach down, turn your left thigh slightly right, and stand with your feet about 3 feet apart. Stretch your left arm all the way to your feet or the ground, and then stretch your right arm to the ceiling. Hold the position for 20–25 seconds.
6. Chair Pose
The perks of chair pose are numerous, and it is the best leg exercise. Despite the fact that there are several different versions of chair pose, each one is beneficial to muscle growth. This pose focuses on the hips, torso, abdomen area, pelvic, inner and outer legs, and glutes, which are all lower body muscles. Begin by standing straight, making a namaste greeting with your palms, and raising your arms overhead. Bring your thighs parallel to the ground by bending your knees. To lose weight faster, stay in this position for 25 seconds.
7. Warrior I Pose (virabhadrasana)
Warrior I is an upper-body workout. The arms, shoulders, and legs are all strengthened in this pose. It helps to energize and stabilize the whole body. To do this pose, stand up straight and extend your legs 3 to 4 feet apart without flexing your knees, keeping your back straight. Bend your legs and turn your upper body so that you are facing sideways. Raise your hand in the shape of a wing. Hold this position for 15 seconds.
8. Boat pose
This posture should be performed with your body in the shape of a boat, as the title suggests. Although the pose is simple, it requires balance to maintain. Sit on the floor, straighten your thighs, raise your legs as high as you can, and then extend your hands to form a V shape. Hold the position for 10–20 seconds.
9. Standing forward bend pose (uttanasana)
In this posture, you stand with your feet hip-width apart from one another. Lean down, place your palms on the ground, don’t fold your knees, and make sure your forehead is in contact with your knees. This pose extends your hamstrings and abdominal muscles while also aiding digestion. It also aids in the improvement of your personal health.
10. Upward-Facing Dog Pose
To do this pose, lie down on your belly and extend your hands forward, palms down, and underneath your shoulders. Relax your glutes, lift your hips and knees, and push your feet and palms into the mat as you lift your body skyward. Gaze forward, shoulders away from ears, glutes relaxed, knee and hip lifted, and feet and palms pressed into the floor.It is excellent for stretching and regular weight balance.
Benefits of Yogas
Yoga has always been beneficial for the human body and soul. The benefits of yoga other than weight loss can be highlighted below
- Yoga helps you become more flexible.
- Yoga is beneficial for stress relief.
- Yoga is good for your mental health.
- Yoga has the potential to reduce inflammation.
- Yoga will almost certainly improve your strength.
- Yoga has been shown to help with anxiety.
- Yoga has the potential to improve one’s quality of life.
- Yoga has been shown to improve immunity.
- Yoga may help with cardiovascular health.
- Yoga may help you sleep better.
- Yoga has been shown to boost self-esteem.
- Yoga has the potential to improve bone density.
- Yoga can help you improve your posture and awareness of your body.
- Yoga can help your brain function better.
Yoga is a time-honored tradition that has evolved over the centuries.
As the primary goals of modern yoga, poses are designed to promote peace, contentment, and physical energy. Fitness was not as important in ancient yoga. Instead, it was aimed at increasing mental focus and spiritual energy.
To lose weight, you can choose from a variety of yoga styles. The individual’s expectations and level of physical nimbleness will determine the style chosen. Aside from weight loss, yoga can be a lifesaver for a variety of illnesses.
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1. Can we practise Yoga daily?
Yes, you can. In fact it is advised to practise yoga for minimum 30 minutes daily for a healthy lifestyle.
2. What is the root word for yoga?
The word ‘Yoga’ comes from the Sanskrit root word ‘Yuj,’ which means ‘to join or unite.’
3. Are yoga classes safe?
Yes. Yoga classes are usually considered to be safe. However, before making a decision, attend 1 or 2 trial sessions. It is appropriate to inquire about the teacher’s teaching experience.
4. Do I need special equipment for yoga practice?
Nope. All you’ll need is a non-slip yoga mat lengthy enough to stretch out fully on one’s back.
5. Do I need to be on a vegetarian diet to benefit from yoga?
No. Even if you do not follow a vegetarian diet, yoga can be beneficial. For the most comprehensive yoga experience, a vegetarian diet is recommended. Vegetarian yogic foods are said to calm the mind and sharpen the intellect. These foods contain a lot of energy and are easy to digest.
6. What is pranayama?
Yogic breathing is the practice of pranayama or controlled breathing. Pranayama energizes the body, calms emotions, and improves mental and intellectual clarity. All breathing exercises should be done while seated, with the spinal column, neck, and head in a horizontal line.
7. How is meditation practiced?
Meditation is a tried-and-true method of letting go of one’s thoughts. Though there are many different ways to meditate, all of them have one thing in common: relaxation and the ability to focus on a specific subject for a set amount of time. The mind is gently but firmly returned to the focus area when it wanders. The practitioner gradually gains the ability to overcome the rational mind and enter meditation.
8. Are there any other helpful guidelines for yoga practice?
Yes, there are some additional guidelines:
- Wear light, loose-fitting garments.
- Choose a nice and calm location.
- Remove contacts, wristwatches, and jewelry, tie up long hair, and preferably practice barefoot.
- Before you begin asanas, do some warm-up.
- Begin at a level that is appropriate for you. Don’t force yourself into awkward positions. Take things at your own pace.