Yoga has reinforced and grounded my own spiritual beliefs. – Christy Turlington
When we talk about losing weight we actually mean losing fat … in a sense. There's a simple arithmetic for weight loss – take in fewer calories and burn out more calories. Simple as it sounds, the method or process to be adopted may not be very simple and not quick either. Focus on reducing calorie intake by proper diet. Burn out calories by yoga practice and related exercises. Usually to burn calories you need to increase heart rate. It's also called cardio-vascular workout. The present Yoga that has been popularly practised is modified from ancient “Hatha yoga”. There are a few kinds of low impact physical exercises that have a therapeutic effect, which are called ‘Asanas’.
A good and a balanced diet are good for healthy well-being. Most of us tend to eat rich food and therefore gain weight easily, as we do not burn calories proportionately. Anyone who wishes to reduce body weight must go for lighter food but nutritious ones to sustain their body well. Organic food is also good for your health. An organic diet is also good for the environment.
Fasting Is a Part of Yoga
Giving rest to the digestive system is what is aimed by fasting in yoga and it also helps remove toxins in the body. As fasting is the abstinence from food, you must be careful in the way you adopt fasting. First of all you must judge the familiarity you have, to fast. Take into consideration of your lifestyle, health condition and age, if you are going to fast. Better start with a partial fasting if you are beginning. Once you are familiar, take the next step. Consult with your trainer if you have one. Fasting will reduce calories intake in the long run.
The yoga diet should compliment your practise of yoga too. Vegetarian diet has a lot of advantages and is preferred in a yoga diet. Statistically, too vegetarians are healthier than meat-eaters. Plants also in fact supply high quality proteins. For a proper diet, it is preferable to take fresh fruits, vegetables and their juices. Apart from these, foods like cereals, wholemeal bread, milk, butter, yoghurt, cheese, seeds, nuts, legumes, sprouted seeds, herbal teas and honey are healthier too.
There are different styles of yoga being practised. Although similar in nature, each has a particular emphasis. Apart from the more traditional Hatha and its variations, others include Vinyasa, Iyengar, Kundalini, Bikram or Hot Yoga, Viniyoga, Ashtanga and Power Yoga.
Yoga helps you to become stronger and flexible. It also reduces stress as well as improves physical and mental well-being. To lose weight, a more vigorous form of yoga is required that can give you a cardio-vascular workout and burn calories.
When you consider yoga exercises for weight loss, certain styles, like for example Iyengar yoga, will not give you a workout to burn calories. On the other hand, Vinyasa or Flow Yoga starts with vigorous Sun Salutations will be more suitable. A 90-minute session will be able to help you a great deal. There is no harm in adding a walk or a run or some simple aerobics into your routine. The goal is to burn the calories and simultaneously gain better health without too much strain. To start with, maybe a little research by you to find what style suits you may be necessary. Take into consideration your age, your physical status, your body-weight and also injuries suffered or health condition that you are presently in. Although online classes and good books are available, a teacher is preferable.
Usually the Hatha and Vinyasa Yoga are advised for beginners. If you are new starter with the basic level, next is to locate the class conveniently near you. The internet and newspapers will be a reliable source to find the right studio or gym.
Hatha Yoga is slow-paced with simple breathing techniques and meditation. There are slow-stretching exercises, basic poses and relaxation techniques. It aims to achieve a balance between body and mind. The Asanas (poses) and Pranayama (breathing method) help to release the potential in the physical and mental realm. This system was developed by the sage Yogi Svatmarama.
2. Vinyasa/Flow Yoga
Vinyasa is also called Flow Yoga is a general term which represents a more vigorous style of yoga. It is also called Vinyasa Flow. It is based on breath synchronisation and movement. A typical class will start with Sun Salutations in which movements are matched to the breath and warms up the body for more intense poses. Expect movement and not just stretching. It will also include chanting. Ashtanga and Power Yoga are actually derived from Vinyasa concept but are distinct by themselves.
3. Ashtanga & Power Yoga
Power Yoga is a Western description to the fitness-based yoga method of Vinyasa. The approach is based on Ashtanga style. The style is physically demanding as it flows from one pose to the next, constantly in the same order. People who are already fit will find it helpful. Ashtanga means eight limbs in Sanskrit. It has been interpreted from the ancient text Yoga Korunta belonging to Vamana Rishi.
The Iyengar form of yoga is a kind of Hatha yoga developed by B.K.S. Iyengar. There is great emphasis on physical alignment of the body in poses. The Iyengar style has very little flow but instead, poses are held long. Therefore it does not have the cardio-vascular intensity found in some other styles. This style allows even persons not physically fit to be able to do yoga.
This is one of the more spiritual types of yoga. It was introduced to the western public by Yogi Bhajan in 1969. Kundalini proceeds to release the energy at the base of the spine up to the crown of the head. The sequence may have rapid and repetitive movements in conjunction with breathing techniques. In Kundalini yoga, the Guru's guidance is important and the seven Chakras within have to be realised slowly with guidance.
6. Bikram or Hot Yoga
This method is also called Hot Yoga and it was developed by the yoga guru Bikram Choudury. The Bikram style has 26 poses and is performed in a room heated up to 95 -100° F temperature. This warms the body, induces profuse sweating and thus makes the body flexible.
This method is based on the Guru-Student model and personal adaptation. An experienced teacher works with a student individually. It is the method of the great yoga guru Krishnamacharya. His son T.V.R. Desikachar carries on the legacy. This method makes adaptation fit for the student by a very well trained and experienced teacher. Therefore even those with physical problems, injury, illness or age can be accommodated. The style focuses on alignment and breath.
Yoga and Pilates
Yoga and Pilates are also being combined to give a better experience. But it should be learnt under a teacher with experience in both. Both disciplines are deep and distinct by themselves. Pilates or Contrology, developed by Joseph Hubertus Pilates, is therapeutic exercise with different levels for practice and using special exercising apparatus invented by him. It has become very popular all over the world and it can complement with the yoga you practice. Yoga has a spiritual association historically and is obvious. Pilates is really a mind-body-spirit discipline that aims to enhance the life of a person. Due importance is given to breath in both yoga and Pilates.
Regular practice is the key to both Yoga & Pilates, to enhance well-being of a person. If you happen to have any injury, please consult a doctor as a precaution. Finally, it is your liking or preference that will lead you to set realistic goals. Yoga is even considered as an alternative medicine for well-being.