“One can be said to be in a perfect state of health when one is physically fit, mentally calm and emotionally steady,” says Sri Sri Ravi Shankar. Yoga goes beyond just physical fitness; it improves your mental health also.
If you are passionate about yoga, you might have noticed some benefits, your health improving for the better, you might have noticed that you fall sick less often and you might come across a lot of people who preach to you about the benefits of yoga. Yoga can play an important role in treating weaknesses and other health conditions like sleeplessness and obesity. Yoga affects the internal organs, mind and brain functions and other complex factors.
Benefits of Yoga include:
- Improved respiration
- All round fitness
- Improves immunity
- Improves nutrition
- Cardio and circulatory health
- Weight reduction
- Improved flexibility
Apart from these physical benefits, there are numerous mental benefits such as how it can help a person relieve stress.
A lot of stress can completely disorient a person, and also have devastating effects on the body.
How can yoga help in managing weight?
Our hectic lifestyle and workload puts us under a lot of stress, and a lot of fat gets accumulated in the body. There is a high risk of diseases and ill health. Losing weight and staying in shape will build your self- esteem and control stress.
Yoga aids in weight loss in the following ways:
- Activates the Thyroid gland:
This is an important hormone secreting gland that controls metabolism. Active metabolism aids in weight loss and burning body fat at a faster rate.
- Maintaining the pH of the body:
A pH that is too acidic tends to store fat in the body to protect itself from the acids, leading to the deposition in the organs and blood vessels. Yoga can help in maintaining a balanced pH.
- Liver Functions:
Liver is one of the most important internal organs. It plays a vital role in detoxifying the body by flushing out harmful substances. Yogasanas help in enhancing the liver functions.
- Improves the strength of muscles:
The yoga poses that require the body to stretch and compress the muscles result in active weight loss by way of using up the body fat.
What can yoga do for you?
People might have tried different things including weight loss pills, gels, creams and oils. They may seem effective at first, but in the long run, they impact the body. Some yoga poses help tone various parts of the body, and limbs and stimulates the metabolism thereby aiding in weight loss.
These are some of the poses which will help you get toned legs and a flat tummy.
Mountain Yoga Pose (Tadasana)
Stand with your feet together and arms to the sides, at shoulder level. Inhale and sweep your arms up to the sky, with your biceps aligning with your ears. As you exhale, bring your arms back to the center of the heart. Your breathing should be smooth and even. Feel the spine elongating as you take each breath, and hold for a minute. Keep your eyes closed.
This pose strengthens the core and the thighs.
Warrior Yoga Pose (Virabhadrasana)
This is one of the best poses that target the arms, thighs and the back muscles, at the same time.
For people with back or shoulder problems and is used to increase overall body balance and stamina. Stand straight with your legs apart. Bring your hands up, above the head and move them above your head. As you do so, turn your torso to the right. Stretch the abdominal muscles as much as you can. This will tighten your muscles and give strength to your body. Repeat up to 3 times on both sides.
Another variation of this is standing with your legs placed away. Move your right foot to the right side and bend your right knee, keeping your arms parallel to the ground. Stay in this position for 30 seconds to 1 minute. Repeat the same exercise on both sides.
Bridge Pose (Paripurna Navasana)
This is a power packed tummy fat burning exercise. It cuts out fat from the tummy by toning and strengthening abdominal muscles along with spine. It is also an effective exercise for neck.
Lie down on your back with the support of feet and hands by your side. Exhale and lift your body from the ground and try to remain in that position for up to a minute. Feel the stretching of muscles and tension in your abdominal region. If you like to try something challenging, you can try to lift your leg in the air, continuing to remain in the same position. Slowly exhale and return to the starting position.
Wide arm Cobra Pose (Bhujangasana)
Lie on the mat, facedown. Place your palm to the side, elbows bent. On inhalation, reach to a pose like the crown of a cobra, pressing your fingertips to the floor. Hold for 10 breaths in that position and then exhale. It stretches the rib muscles, which allow you to expand the rib cage, thus increasing your breathing capacity.
Take several slow and deep breaths lower yourself down with control. Turn to your side and relax with your arms beside you.
This pose serves effective in driving away all the stress you feel from the lower back pain. This movement helps target the muscles of the back, hips, abdomen, chest muscles and the lungs.
Place your hands and knees on the floor. Tuck your knees under the hips and wrists under shoulder level. Inhale deeply. As you exhale pull yourself up with your belly moving towards the spine, compressing your core muscles and tightening the lower abdomen. Repeat this for at least 10 reps.
Modified Side Plank
Lie on one side with your knees on the floor, bent to 90 degrees. Using your elbows, lift your hips up, balancing on your stacked knees. Your abs must be tight the whole time. Keep your head in line with your spine and don’t raise the head beyond the level. Perform the same activity on the other side, while holding on to your breath for 15 to 20 seconds.
This pose targets the core and the shoulder muscles.
Standing Big toe pose:
This has a number of benefits in terms of the stretch it gives, to the hips and hamstring muscles and the calf muscles. Stand straight keeping your feet in the mountain pose. Supporting the whole body on the left leg, raise the right leg in the air and hold on to your right toe with the thumb.
If this is fairly easy, try to move the torso forward over your extended leg. Hold on to the position for at least five breaths.
The Bridge Pose (Setu Bhandasana)
Lie down on your back with your hands stretched sideways, fold your knees and raise the body from the pelvis area. Inhaling, lift the lower back, middle and upper back off the floor and roll in your shoulders. Feel the air fill up your rib cage.
This works in the hips, stomach area and the abdomen. It opens up the lungs and reduces the thyroid problems. It also improves digestion.
This is very similar to the push- ups. Begin in push ups position, with arms straight and hands below the shoulders, and body in line with the floor from head to heels. Exhale and lower the chest towards the floor, holding abs tight. Hold in that position for a few seconds.
This exercise particularly puts more focus on building firm shoulders, arms and back.
Triangular pose (Trikonasana)
Start with your feet wide apart. Stretch your arms out, while pushing the waistline onto one side, and slowly go down. Keep your right palm on the ground, or on a block with the left arm stretched upwards. Repeat the same on the other side.
This exercise focuses on the body sides, thighs and arms. It benefits the nervous system, increases the flexibility of the spine and at the same time strengthens the side muscles.
Yoga can actually get you a lot more benefits than mere the ones mentioned above. This is the reason why so many celebrities are getting associated with yoga as well. Starting from a long and happy life, it could help you find the actual meaning of life. Do it the way you love to.
She loves coffee and believes there is nothing more fulfilling than a piping hot cup of filter kaapi. She is learning to know her way around the kitchen. She believes in minimalistic life and is a writer by choice. In her free time, she loves to travel and trek.
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