Many people seem to think that yoga is just something that people do to try and relax, and while it does work for that, there are so many more benefits.
In fact, yoga may not really feel all that relaxing while you are doing it. It is physical exercise, and just like any other physical exercise you must exert yourself to get the best out of it.
Some people use yoga as a means of:
- Building up their flexibility;
- Building some muscle mass; and/or
- Helping to improve their posture.
And, it is also a very popular way to try and lose some weight. Because it can done at home with minimal equipment, people feel at ease with this as a weight loss solution.
There are a few ways yoga can help you with your weight, but I should say that it is not actually a cure-all solution. You will need to diet at the same time.
But that is okay because there is also plenty of diet options out there that are useful. For example, you might want to give the keto diet a try. Check out this article from Complete Home Spa about how helpful this diet can be.
Regardless of which diet you go for, there are several yoga breathing exercises which will work towards weight loss. Here are five of the best ones.
1. Anulom Vilom
Do not worry too much about all of these (potentially) hard to pronounce names, you do not need to know how to say them, just how to do them.
- To do this, sit on the floor with your back completely straight and your legs crossed. You will find this is a common sitting position among these exercises.
- Close your eyes and completely relax all of your muscles.
- Close your right nostril by pressing your right thumb against it and then inhale through your left nostril.
- Hold this breath for about five seconds.
- Now release your right nostril and, with your ring finger of the same hand, press your left nostril closed.
- Exhale the breath you have been holding out through your right nostril and then inhale through that nostril.
- Hold this breath now for five seconds before pressing your right nostril again.
- Exhale through your left nostril.
- Repeat this process for about fifteen minutes.
The reason why this is so helpful for weight loss is to do with a relaxed mind and relaxed muscles. It helps to control your digestive muscles allowing for your metabolism to increase and it will also balance the hormones that contribute to weight gain.
Much like the above exercise, this one will help you lose weight by controlling your metabolism and regulating your hormone secretion.
It also opens up all the airways in your face and will free up any blockages, which helps your mind relax.
Stress can actually be a big reason why you’re failing to lose weight and so this would be a great exercise to include in your yoga routine.
- Once again, sit cross-legged on the ground with your shoulders stretched out and your spine nice and straight.
- Open your palms over your face and hold your ears closed with your thumbs.
- Rest your index fingers on your forehead and your middle fingers on your closed eyes.
- Inhale and exhale through your nose, while making a light humming noise.
- Do this for a few breaths and then rest your hands on your knees for another few breaths.
- Repeat this whole process for about fifteen minutes too.
Kapalbhati Pranayama, its full name, is a great way to help flush out the unwanted toxins that contribute to excessive weight gain.
- Sit in that familiar position with your legs crossed and your spine and neck stretched as straight as possible.
- Rest the palms of your hands on your knees and close your eyes.
- The way in which you breathe is what is going to do the work here.
- It is the inhalation through your nose that will help filter the air that is entering your body and keep those harmful toxins at bay.
- So inhale as slowly as possible and then exhale with some amount of force.
- You do not have to do it to the point of discomfort, just make an effort with your exhalation.
- Do this several times.
- You can repeat this style of breathing over and over for about twenty minutes.
If you start to feel light-headed then take a break and try not to go too overboard with your exhaling once you start again.
This is another one of the Pranayama exercises and it has similar results to the one above.
It is a great method of flushing toxins from your body. It also helps with burning fat quickly by increasing your metabolic function.
- Sit with your legs crossed with your back straight, but this time, rest your hands on your knees with your palms facing the sky.
- Touch your thumbs to your thumbs to your middle fingers.
- For this one you are going to breath a little bit differently than the Kapalbhati method.
- You are going to give equal strength to both your inhalation and your exhalation, but you are going to do it for a shorter period of time.
- Repeat your breaths for just about ten minutes.
- Inhale with all of your strength and then exhale forcefully.
- It may be helpful to make a deliberate hissing sound while your exhaling.
- It may sound silly but it ensures that you are putting as much force into your exhalation as is necessary.
5. Surya Namaskar
This one is completely different to all of the other positions outlined above because it combines actual physical exercise with your breathing.
It is always good for weight loss to include some stuff that will help strengthen your abdominal and chest muscles, which can have an impact on your digestive system.
There are many different poses in this one that are commonly referred to as sun salutations, and it is suggested to perform a combination of several different ones in one routine.
- Start with mountain pose.
- For this one, you start standing up as straight as possible with your hands by your sides.
- Inhale deeply as you lift your arms up to the side and then continue up towards the ceiling, keeping your arms straight the whole time and finishing with your thumbs touching together.
- Follow your arms with your gaze.
- Move onto the plank pose.
- With your palms flat on your mat and your legs stretched out behind you, back straight and shoulders over your wrists.
- Hold this pose and then a few slow, deep breaths.
- Now a cobra pose.
- Anchor your pelvis and the tops of your feet to the floor, palms flat too.
- Then inhale as your raise your torso and lean your head back.
- Repeat this a few times.
- There are many more sun salutation poses you can try for this too.
It is important to remember, healthy weight loss will not happen overnight. If you take these exercises up, make sure that you are ready and willing to commit to them.
Also, be sure that your form is correct and that you have mastered each of the exercises. Most importantly, be patient. You will see the results if you keep working at it.