Yoga is often thought of as a series of isolated postures, designed for bodily improvement. Yet the word ‘Yoga’ itself means union or fusion. Yoga is a spiritual practice whose effects are both internal and external. It symbolizes the perfect balance between body and mind. Among the myriad health benefits of Yoga, the most documented is its effect on weight loss. Yoga for weight loss is a mantra advertised by fitness trainers and now international organisations like the UN in the form of International Yoga Day. Indeed, yoga offers a stress free and timeless method for losing weight sans the expensive diet plans, surgery or inhibited lifestyle.
Weight loss is often talked about with reference to belly fat, hips or the overall torso. Yet the very concept of weight loss encapsulates the whole body as a unit. For instance, weight loss also leads to cosmetic enhancements through the loss of facial fat among others. Whatever the quantum or region of weight loss, Yoga leads to a holistic weight loss program with enduring benefits with specific postures or ‘asanas’ targeted for specific areas of the body. Got a double chin or some facial fat to lose, go for simhasana. If there is the stubborn belly fat that needs trimming, the fabled suryanamaskar in the morning is your perfect ally. The range and diversity of Yoga postures is unparalleled. Yet, as with every good thing, Yoga too has its fair share of ‘dos’ and ‘don’ts’.
Even though there is no prescribed diet plan for yoga, a balanced diet is vital to the success of the practice of yoga. The practice of yoga is best in the morning hours and in general during the day. Its no coincidence that the International Yoga Day is celebrated on June 21st, the date of the summer solstice in the northern hemisphere. There are also specific postures or asanas that should be avoided in case of preexisting physical conditions like carpal tunnel syndrome, spinal implants etc.
Yoga offers a host of health benefits that do not conform just to cosmetic value. It is a wholesome way of life that promotes a harmony with one’s inner self. Its westernized counterparts might offer a faster and more pragmatic path to weight loss and other benefits. Yet, the organic nature of yoga coupled with its deliberate pace introduces the practitioner to a natural and therapeutic lifestyle. It also introduces values of patience, humility and cooperation which are priceless while undergoing a weight loss regime. The shortcuts of diet pills and weight training might produce instant results. But yoga goes much beyond the realms of a physical regimen; it is a breaking of inhibitions and a journey to a happier and healthier life.