(Last Updated on : 09-04-2013)
Essential amount of fat that is necessary for maintenance of life and reproductive functions that often exceeds its limit due to various reasons. The percentage of fat for women is greater than that for men, due to the demands of childbearing and other hormonal functions. Necessary fat is 2-5% in men, and 10-13% in women. Storage fat usually consists of fat accumulation in adipose tissue, part of which protects internal organs in the chest and abdomen. However, when an individual begins to gain weight due to overeating, lack of exercise, thyroid, anemia and others, he/she may suffer from Obesity if not checked immediately. Yoga offers safe procedures to reduce fat in any part of the body.
The most dangerous fat lies around the organs, deep within the belly. The fat in the abdominal area functions very differently than fat accumulated elsewhere in the body. It has a greater blood supply as well as more receptors for cortisol, a stress hormone. Cortisol levels rise and fall throughout the day, but when the person is under constant stress, the amount of the hormone produced remains elevated. With high stress and, consequently, high cortisol levels, more fat is deposited in the abdominal area, because there are more cortisol receptors.
Lower metabolic rate and the deficiency of thyroid activity are some of the causes for excess fat; however these are considered as the symptoms resulting from a cause. Sedentary life style coupled with over eating is the basic reason for fat accumulation and overweight. The fat belly is not only unattractive; it can be downright dangerous for the health. Extra fat around abdomen increases the risk of high blood pressure and heart diseases. This may lead to a situation where one has to even confront the isolation risk from the society, which further aggravates the serious condition even mentally. Reducing fat levels requires a natural approach that can come from healthy lifestyle and regular exercises. One has to maintain healthy nutrition and control dietary habits.
Some of the Yoga asanas that can reduce weight are as follows -
Nadi shodhana, or the sweet breath, is simple form of alternate nostril breathing, effective in reducing weight. Nadi means channel and refers to the energy pathways through which 'prana' flows. 'Shodhana' means cleansing, thus Nadi Shodhana means channel cleaning. This asana calms the mind, soothes anxiety and stress, balances left and right hemispheres, thus promotes clear thinking.
Pavan-Muktasana should be practiced regularly to keep the digestive tract healthy. This asana removes gas from the abdomen and reduces abdominal fat; also increases the flexibility of the knees and hips.
Bhujangasana is one of the most effective asanas to reduce body fat. This asana tones the entire body and helps in keeping the dorsal spine elastic and strong. Backache due to overstrain can be thus relieved through this asana. It helps considerably in reducing
Dhanurasana or the 'bow pose' greatly reduces abdominal fat. The compressing of the spinal column, pressing the nerves with the scapulae minimises blood circulation while in the asana. But when the pose is released a greater supply of blood is provided to those very regions, thus increasing spinal flexibility and definitely raising the vitality.
For keeping the body healthy and fat free, yoga has been playing a vital role since ages. Yoga is considered as a three-way approach for body, mind and soul. Stress is one of the reasons for fat accumulation as well and yoga controls this sphere too. Yoga can be performed in many ways like in the form of asanas, pranayamas and mudras, suryabhedna and anuloma viloma are especially the pranayamas to keep body fat free. Not all the pranayamas are recommended for everyone until and unless the practitioners are totally healthy. At last but not the least, one should adopt positive approach towards life. Positive thinking and natural living are the particular ways to life a healthy and joyous life. These exercises can also help postmenopausal women to get rid of that intra-abdominal fat and in the process reduce their risk for some chronic illnesses.
Yoga has the power to create a state of mental and physical well being that may also be put to good use for taking off excess weight. Yoga promotes a healthy and balanced life style and when combined with a calorie-burning program, it may show exceptional results. Practicing yoga will also increase the metabolism, increasing the calorie burning process, but one should not see it as an immediate results method. By following the norms imposed by yoga one can gain a holistic, long-term solution to balance the life style and keep off any excessive weight. In addition to loosing weight, the individual will also experience an increased ability to concentrate and gain higher resistance to stress factors.
Yoga reduces thyroid and in turn also eliminate excess body fat. The thyroid regulates metabolism, a component of the endocrine system and it is responsible for the chemical processes in the body that transform food into energy. The different kinds of back bends, combined with forward bends, are used to stimulate metabolism. Yogic Poses that affect the neck area, where the thyroid gland is situated, are especially useful is the weight problem is caused by a hormonal imbalance. These poses can be those of the camel, rabbit, plow, bridge and shoulder stand. Shifting quickly between a series of poses can accelerate the process. For people who are significantly overweight some of the bends may prove to be a difficult task to complete. They should gradually try and first master the basic postures until they are confident enough to go to more complex exercises. Using standing poses, such as the Virasana, one can strengthen muscles as well. A higher endurance and increased caloric output will also effect from practicing the standing poses.
A proper diet is very important that should be followed to support the holistic weight loss system. The individual should consume food rich in fiber, vegetables, whole grains and less high fat and processed food items. Food should be consumed in smaller portions with more proteins and slightly less processed carbohydrates. One should drink maximum water as it helps in digestion, completeness and fat burning that flush out toxins from the body. In Yogic lifestyle, the results may not be spectacular and immediate, but this is one of the best long-term weight loss methods that have been practiced since ages. In addition to weight one should also benefit from an increased protection against adverse factors and an overall feeling of well being and inner peace.
- The Yoga asanas prescribed above should be strictly performed under the supervision of an experienced Yoga teacher.