Yoga not only helps you lose weight but also makes the body more flexible. It is also an excellent workout for building lean muscle if practiced correctly on a regular basis. Yoga also helps regulate breathing process, which is beneficial for the respiratory system. It is claimed that yoga can help prevent and treat many health problems, including blood pressure, diabetes, arthritis while enhancing memory and cognitive function.
Perhaps, the popularity of pranayama and meditation is rising as more and more people discover its benefits. Apart from aiding weight loss, these practicing pranayama or breathing exercise and meditation techniques will provide relaxation for body and mind. It can help boost your metabolism, reduce stress, anxiety, and depression. The good thing about yoga when it comes to losing weight is that it has the power to fix what expensive exercise equipment can’t. Here are some of the most effective pranayamas and meditation techniques that can help with weight management.
-> Sit in any comfortable pose.
-> Straighten your back and close your eyes.
-> Place your palms on your knees facing up (Prapthi Mudra).
-> Inhale normally and focus on exhaling with a short, rhythmic and forceful breath.
-> Use your stomach to forcefully expel all the air from the diaphragm and lungs by compressing it.
-> Inhalation happens automatically in between the out breaths.
Duration: You may begin by practicing this breathing technique for 2 minutes a day and gradually increase it with time.
According to Grand Master Akshar, an internationally acclaimed Yoga Master, Lifestyle Coach & Spiritual Guru, Kapalbhathi is best done on an empty stomach before breakfast in the mornings. It can also be done 2 hours after your last meal.
-> Avoid if you have high blood pressure.
-> Practice this pranayama in Dheemi gathi (slow pace) if you have hernia or a back injury.
-> Avoid in case of heart ailments.
-> Do not practice this during your menstrual cycles, and when you are pregnant.
-> Avoid if you recently underwent stomach surgery.
Tratak is a Sanskrit word which means ‘to gaze’. The Disha/direction to face is East and a beginner can practice this for a minimum of 5 minutes a day.
Equipment needed to practice:
-> A comfortable mat to sit on.
-> A white 3 ft X 3 ft board with a visible black dot in the middle.
-> Attach the board on a wall so when you sit in a meditative posture, the black dot is located at eye-level.
-> The distance from your mat to the board must be exactly equal to your height when you stand. For example, if you are 6 feet tall, your mat must be placed 6 feet away from the board.
-> Ensure that your neck is not strained while you try to look at the dot
-> Sit in any comfortable posture. It is best, however, to sit in Sukhasana, Ardha Padmasana or Padmasana.
-> Elongate your spine and place your palms on your knees facing up
-> Join your index and thumb finger and hold Gyan Mudra.
-> Draw your gaze to the black dot and direct all of your attention to it.
-> While you gaze at the black dot, pay attention to your breathing.
-> The time you take to inhale and exhale should be in a ratio of 6:6, i.e., if you inhale in six counts, you need to exhale in six counts.
-> Observe how your lungs expand as you inhale and contract as you exhale.
-> Try not to blink as much as possible
->If you catch your thoughts wandering, bring them back to focus on the dot and your respiration.
-> After your practice, close your eyes and release the strain from your eyes if there is any.
To boost your weight loss journey, you can also add a few yoga asanas like Santolanasana (Plank Pose), Vasisthasana (Side Plank Pose), Chaturanga Dandasana (Four-Limbed Staff Pose) and Chakrasana (Wheel Pose) to your workout routine. Practicing this effective combination of Yoga asanas, pranayama and meditation techniques will help you with a more long-term weight loss plan.