Tag Archives: yoga

Will Yoga Help Weight Loss?

The answer to the question in the title of this article, ‘Will Yoga Help Weight Loss?’, is a resounding ‘Yes’. Yoga will help weight loss and has been proven to do so. Yoga will work on both your body and mind to provide a new and leaner you.

Yoga is well known for it’s abilities to create a wonderful state of relaxation in the practitioner which has been proven to lower blood pressure and many other physical ailments. It is also a great way to remove that excess weight that has been plaguing you for months or years.

The reason that Yoga is such an effective way to lose weight is that it burns calories at a much faster rate. It increases one’s metabolism, thus speeding up the rate at which calories burn.

There are many forms of yoga. Some practices, like power yoga, is a much more active form which will burn calories much faster than other yoga practices like ashtanga yoga. Power yoga though is NOT for the faint hearted. Like all forms of exercise you should check with your family doctor before setting off to engage in a new fitness regime.

It is becoming more and more recognized that overeating is related to our emotional state and our minds. Thus, a quieter mind, brought about through yoga practice will make it less likely that you will reach for that cream cake every time you get the urge.

This is not to say that you have to diet on celery and lettuce leaves. The idea of weight loss through yoga is to become relaxed about this area of your life that it causing you problems. That way you are in a better state to deal with it.

It is said that ‘what we resist, persists’.  So, stilling the mind through yoga will certainly give you a more positive outlook on life and lead to a calmer mind and body.

Now, on to the physical aspects of yoga for weight loss –

It is not difficult to see that yoga exercise will burn those stubborn calories that you have been trying to rid yourself of. Have you watched some of the asanas or poses? Any physical activity at all will help you lose weight but the turning and twisting of yoga helps to break up the stores of fat and rid them through the body’s natural processes.

Don’t let the gentler forms of yoga fool you either. It looks very serene to watch those that have been practicing it for years. It almost looks as though there isn’t much going on. Believe me, you will be surprised at how much perspiration is generated by these simple poses. When I first started off on a half hour yoga regime of simple poses, I was absolutely surprised at how much of a workout I had actually achieved at the end of it.

Things do get easier as you progress and the feeling that yoga gives at the end of a workout is second to none. You WILL get a feeling of achievement and relaxation that you may have never felt before.

Keep at the yoga regime and the calories will surely burn off like you wouldn’t imagine.

Top Six Benefits of Pilates Exercises

Pilates is the exercise of choice for dancers, gymnasts, and a host of famous Hollywood celebrities, and now it finds itself firmly entrenched in the mainstream.  So… why is Pilates so hot?

Pilates incredible popularity can be traced to the fact that it provides its faithful practitioners with benefits that you simply can’t get through the traditional aerobics/strength training format.

1. Gives You Long, Lean Muscles

If want a long, lean look without bulky muscles, but with all the strength. Would you like to build strength and endurance without getting the muscle man look? If so, Pilates may be just what you have been searching for.
There’s a reason that Pilates is the exercise of choice for gymnasts and professional dancers. Pilates does not rely on frequent repetition, and thus no overgrown muscles. Pilates focuses on the whole body, not just on sections of muscles.

2. Increases the Strength of Stabilizer Muscles

There are many benefits that one can achieve through a proper use of the Pilates program. One of the most significant points of the Pilates program is it’s ability to increase the strength of stabilizer muscles that may not commonly be worked out in a standard exercise program.

Also, since Pilates stresses the use of graceful and fluid movements, it can be a great way to get a better sense of the kinesthetics of your body. The sense of body that you can achieve through Pilates is quite significant, and many find that they are better able to balance themselves regardless of the position that they are in.

3. A Mind-Body Workout That Strengthens Your Whole Body

Another one of the benefits of Pilates is that it engages the mind and enhances body awareness. Like yoga, tai chi, and Asian martial arts, Pilates is not just a workout for your body. Joseph H. Pilates studied yoga, martial arts, and other ancient mind-body activities and included a strong philosophical foundation into the practice of Pilates.

Pilates not only helps tone your body, but your mind and spirit as well. The smooth, precise and flowing movements of Pilates are designed to make you more mindful of your body.

Breath movement is also emphasized to put you in touch with how breath moves through your body. Pilates has been demonstrated to reduce stress, anxiety, and helps lift depression. The mind-body connection is fundamental to the study and practice of Pilates.

4. Pilates Strengthens Your Core like No Other Exercise

Another one of the benefits of Pilates is the increased amount of strength that one can achieve in the ‘core’ of the body. The term core refers to the muscles in and around the area of the abdominal muscles and the back.

Proper breath control is also stressed in Pilates, adding to the numerous list of benefits that one can attain through regular use of the exercise program.

5. Prevents You from Future Injuries

Pilates strengthens your body and helps prevent future injuries. Pilates helps to condition the whole body, not just certain muscles. This helps balance the muscle and strength of the body. Since no set of muscles is ever over or under trained, there is less risk for injury. The body becomes more fluid and supple, protecting against injury.

6. Helps You Become Efficient With Your Body

Last, but not the least, one of the benefits of Pilates is that it teaches you how to become efficient with your body. Very few exercises can help your body become more efficient in its movement.

Why is efficiency so important? Being efficient means that your body moves in a way that is smoother, safer, and less prone to injury. By practicing Pilates on a regular basis, you can train your body more to move in a much safer and more efficient manner.

Benefits of Pilates for Older Adults

The benefits of pilates have been particularly noted in older adults. Older adults are more likely to suffer from symptoms of arthritis, including stiff and painful joints. Pilates practice has also been lauded for its ability to help prevent injury.

Even adults undergoing serious rehabilitation therapy can use Pilates to increase their range of motion and overall muscle strength. But is Pilates safe for all adults? Who should avoid participating in a Pilates program, and who is more likely to benefit from the program?

Consult your medical professional if you have any doubts about starting a pilates program. If you are suffering from severe degeneration or physical pain, you should take extra care before beginning a pilates program.

You should never feel pain while practicing pilates. If you do, you know that there is something wrong. Don’t be afraid to pull back if you feel overwhelmed.

Pilates was designed to progress naturally from one movement to another. If you feel stopped at one movement, don’t give up. Start at the beginning and work your way back to the areas you found most challenging.

Other Benefits of Pilates
Tone and build long, lean muscles without bulk.
Reduce stress, relieve tension, and boost energy through deep stretching.
Restore postural alignment.
Create a stronger, more flexible spine.
Increase the range of motion in your joints.
Improve circulation.
Heighten neuromuscular coordination.
Offer relief from back pain and joint stress.
Correct over-training of muscle groups which can lead to stress and injury.
Enhance mobility, agility and stamina.
Compliment sports training and develop functional fitness for daily life activity.
Improve the way your body looks and feels.

Yoga for Weight Loss: What You Need to Know to Succeed (part 2)

Welcome back folks.

Okay, let’s cut right to the chase for how Yoga for weight loss works.
We’ve gone over the sun salutations and if you are anything like me, you probably tried them out and are sold on Yoga “the stretching”  exercise actually burning calories.

Now let’s target the trouble spots.

Poses for Trouble Spots when Using Yoga for Weight Loss:

1. Abdominal Region: The Forward Bending Pose, the Bow Pose, the Peacock Pose, the Spinal Twist and the Triangle Pose.

2. The Arms: Definitely the Peacock Pose! the Wheel Pose, the Crow Pose, the Side Plank Pose and the 4-Limb Staff Pose.

3. The Thighs: The Bow Pose, The Shoulder-Stand, the Hero Pose, the Triangle and Wheel Poses.

4. Love Handles: The Spinal Twist, the Triangle Pose, (with practice) the Side Crow Poses, (for ease) The Side Plank Pose.

I realize the spots above are the ones most of us seem to target when trying to lose weight, so I have made sure to go over them first.

I’m under the impression that if you had searched in google or done some research on Yoga for weight loss, you must have gotten some degree of information on the poses above, or signed up for a class, bought a Yoga DVD,  something to learn some more about it, which is why I did not go over each pose in detail. But trust me, they are indeed very easy. I will emphasize though, performing the Sun Salutations (upwards of 24 rounds) should be your main focus in using Yoga for a weight loss regimen, even before the other poses.

This too will help: One pose that some Yogis and Yoginis state to be a versatile enough pose for the whole body will be the Shoulder-Stand. It is best practiced with its counter poses, in fact, since these poses have effects on the meta-physical and spiritual aspects of our lives, it will be safe to say never execute a yoga pose without counter posing it. You may throw some things out of normalcy.

Here’s a brief overview on the Shoulder-Stand as a yoga pose for weight loss:
Spread a thick blanket on the floor and place your yoga mat on it. Lie on the back. Slowly raise the legs. Lift the trunk, hips and legs to a vertical position. Rest the elbows firmly on the floor and support the back with both hands.  Raise the legs till they become vertical. Press the chin against the chest. This is the chin lock. While performing this pose, the back of the neck, the posterior part of the head and the shoulders should touch the floor. Breathe in counts of 5-5-5 (inhalation, retention and exhalation). Don’t allow the body to shake. It’s counter poses are the bridge and fish poses which will target your forearms/thighs and chest/neck respectively.

As I promised; here is the Breath of Fire breathing exercise that you can add to your yoga practice to speed up the burning of calories. (Doesn’t the name alone tell you something??)

Breath of Fire Exercise (aka Kapalabathi or Bellows Breath)

-Take a few breaths and see that the diaphragm is moving properly.  Now with the eyes closed (as they should be when performing all breathing exercises) make a sudden contraction of the abdomen with a backward push. This leads to a sudden yet firm expulsion of stagnant air from the lungs.

-Now follow this with a sudden relaxation (which naturally makes the new air rush in) now perform the exercise in this manner: passive inhalation and active expulsions at a rate of sudden abdominal push per second one after the other. A round should have 15-20 expulsions. Do not exceed 3 rounds

-You may gradually increase to 120 expulsions per round and then perform only 2 rounds. (As soon as you are doing 50 expulsions per round, do not exceed 2 rounds!) Between each round take a pause for about 30 seconds of normal breathing.

Now, there you have it, the information needed to get you started on the use of Yoga for weight loss: The poses for the trouble spots, the bellows breath, the shoulder-stand and the almighty Sun Salutations.

Remember, for the same reasons Hippocrates-the father of Medicine stated: “Let your foods be your medicine and your medicine your foods”,  you’ve got to include a proper diet when seeking to lose weight with yoga. Keep in mind this is an all too important limb of this exercise so, there’s no way around it friends. (But I’m sure you know that already).

So strike a pose, and see for yourself how Yoga for weight loss can be an effective and safe choice.