Yoga Therapy for Weight Loss

Dr. Smita Gautam

Consultant Homeopath & Yoga Therapist

Obesity is defined as an excess accumulation of fat due to positive energy balance, resulting from energy intake that exceeds the energy expenditure, it may have an adverse effect on health, leading to many health problems such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, sleep apnea, certain types of cancer and osteoarthritis.


People with BMI in the range between 25 and 30 are considered overweight while those with BMI above 30 are considered obese. Obesity is mainly due to intake of excessive food energy and sedentary life style. It can also be hereditary. However, in some cases it is caused by genes, endocrine disorders, some medication or psychiatric illness. Nowadays stress also plays a vital role in causing obesity. Psychological disturbances propel a person to seek comfort in food -such a person may consume excess food. Children suffering from such disturbances, tend to become obese.


One of the most challenging aspects of combating obesity is incorporating physical activity into the lifestyles of individuals who struggle with limited mobility as a result of their increased weight. In this circumstances yoga therapy can play a vital role in shedding excessive fat.


Why Yoga Therapy?

In yoga therapy, asanas are not practiced for the sake of burning extra calories, but to develop body awareness, to understand the language of body, the way it works, and what suits it best. Even though the aim of yoga is not just for weight loss, this is bound to happen as an outcome of our increased self-awareness. However, one must remember 3 D’s i.e. Discipline, Determination & Dedication in reducing weight naturally and allow his or her awareness to develop in a positive and constructive manner.


Asanas for losing weight quickly and easily

There are many yoga postures or asanas that can help with weight reduction. Suitably modified poses can be performed from a sitting or prone position as yoga is easily adaptable to fit a person with limited mobility. Pawanmuktasana, Ardha Matsyendrasana, Gomukasana, Vajrasana, Paschimottanasana, Trikonasana, Pada Hastasana, Yoga Mudrasana, etc. are few to name. In fact, most yogic postures will help to bring the body to perfect shape and to reduce unwanted fat around the body.


Surya Namaskara or the Sun Salutation postures is one of the most favorite ways of burning calories if done briskly. It is a series of 12 postures performed in sequence. It is a sure way to make the body flexible and reduce weight.


Many people may not be obese, but still suffer from fat around the belly. This can be reduced by doing asanas like Mayurasana. If one finds Mayurasana difficult to perform, then do Hansasana. Both postures help to put pressure against the abdomen and relieve belly fat.


Pranayama to stimulate the metabolism

The pranayama practices stimulate the metabolism which helps to burn excessive fat in the body. These include: Bhastrika, Kapalbhati and Suryabheda, which are performed along with balancing practices like Nadi Shodhan and Ujjayi. Sheetali and Sheetkari are relaxing, cooling practices which influence different hypothalamic centers having control over thirst and the feeling of satisfaction with healthy quantities and qualities of food.


Mindful Eating

If the source of obesity is an eating disorder like binging or overeating, yoga’s therapeutic approach may be used to manage harmful food behaviors. As food plays major role in reducing obesity, yoga recommends satvik diet regularly. The ideal yoga diet is a vegetarian one, composed of pure, simple, natural and easily digestible foods that promote health and overall well-being. Raw vegetable, fruits and sprouts should be main meals. Refined and processed food, fast food and non-vegetarian diet should be avoided or reduced as they help in weight gain.


One must understand that fast results are generally prone to relapse. Hence, one should not aim at shortcuts but maintain yoga as part the life style under trained eyes, positive results are bound to astonish.