Many people assume that since yoga is a passive fitness activity it may not give us the desired weight loss results. However, that is not true. Though yoga doesn’t involve vigorous, HIIT-like movements or fast-paced aerobic activities, it can still help your body burn fat fast.
Pooja Duggal, founder of HealthHunt says, “The subject of weight loss with yoga is often looked at with uncertainty because it doesn’t exactly seem so laborious or physically intensive.” And yoga works not just on our bodies but also on our mind. “It helps promote flexibility in your body, boost concentration and more importantly release stress,” she adds.
If you are planning to lose weight, there is nothing more effective than yoga. “The evidence of its effectiveness is in yogis who have been lean and healthy for centuries. In fact, the weight loss yoga trends like hot yoga and hath yoga are all based on the traditional form of yoga,” says Dr Pratap Chauhan, director Jiva Ayurveda. Apart from regular practice of yoga, one must also follow mitahara (measured eating), which is not the same as dieting. “To follow mitahara, one must eat as a form of devotion to the temple that is our body,” he adds.
So, what are the best asanas for weight loss that one must practice every day and how to get the poses right?
According to Manoj Kutteri, wellness director, Atmantan, “Suryanamaskar, or the sun salutation, is the best yoga asana for weight loss. It is usually practiced as a warm up exercise as it works on every body part,” he says. Here are a few poses that benefit weight loss, according to Kutteri.
Suryanamaskar (Sun salutation): Here’s how to get it right. Start with the prayer pose, move to raised arms post, hand to foot pose, then the equestrian pose, then the stick pose, slowly move to saluting with eight points post, then cobra pose, follow it up with mountain pose, back to equestrian post, hand to foot pose, raised arms and back to where you started at the prayer pose. “This is a great way to speed up metabolism, activate digestion and strengthen abdominal muscle,” says Kutteri. Apart from these, it also promotes good sleep and keeps anxiety at bay.
Naukasan (Boat Pose): Lie down on your back bring the legs together, hands on the thighs or next to the thighs on the floor. Once in position, inhale and raise your head, arms in a straight line off the floor at 30 degree angle, toes pointing upward. “This asana engages the core, increases efficiency of abdominal muscles and helps reduce belly fat,” says Kutteri.
Paschimottanasan (head to toe): Sit with legs stretched out and together, inhale and raise the arms alongside your ears, exhale and pull the navel in, stretch the spine forward from the hips. Attempt to hold the toes with hands, bending the elbow outward or downward. “This pose helps elongate the spine and give it a good stretch,” he adds.
Dandasana (plank post): This pose has been translated into many fitness routines, but it won’t be wrong to say that it originated in the centuries old yoga practice. Lie down on the abdomen, bring the elbows under the shoulders, get in the pushup position and place your forearms on the ground. Inhale and lift your body off the floor, with toes and hand support. Squeeze the glutes, tighten your abdominal muscles. Hold the post for 5-7 normal breathes. “This pose is an excellent way to engage and strengthen the core, help burn fat and calories from the abdomen,” says Kutteri.