By Mamta Singh
Confused by the latest research statistics and new-fangled jargon? Try these time-tested techniques that are effective and safe
Weight loss has become the core of most gym-centric health regimes, rather than the focus on keeping fit. Caught between confusing jargon like Body-Mass Index (BMI), conflicting new researches, and the like, the lay person finds it almost demotivating to lose weight. Here are a few alternatives that check overweight and obesity conditions afflicting over 75 per cent of Indian women and 58 per cent of men (Source: CNN-IBN News Report Nov 26, 2006 – Indians rank high on obesity index), due to genetics, lifestyle and diet irregularities.
Yoga asanas: Yoga offers holistic well-being to the mind, body, and spirit. Giving you a healthy body weight is only one amongst its many benefits. Some asanas that will help you lose weight by addressing your digestive disorders, and functioning of the endocrine and nervous systems, are:
a. Lie on a mat on an even floor.
b. Stand erect in the mountain pose or Tadasana keeping your legs together.
c. Take a long step backward with your right foot, your left foot remaining in its original position pointing forward.
d. Spread out your arms in a T, arms being parallel to the floor.
e. Bend at your hips towards your left leg keeping your spine long and back straight while bending.
f. Lower your left hand to the shin and right hand to the ceiling/sky.
g. Ensure that you are not bending at your waist, only hinging at the hip. The slanting alignment is vital in this posture.
h. Tuck in your tummy to support your spine.
i. Turn your head to gaze at the fingertips of the right hand.
j. Hold this position for 5-10 seconds or till the time you are comfortable.
k. Release this mudra by bringing your right hand down, lowering your head and collecting your right leg back to original position.
l. Utthita Trikonasana can be done thrice by repeating steps b-k.
a. Lie on the mat on an even floor.
b. Lie on your stomach facing down.
c. Now extend both your hands fully to the back and grab your feet at the ankles.
d. Gradually lift your torso and legs together off the floor to resemble a taut bow.
e. Hold this position for five seconds.
f. Release this position slowly by letting go off the ankles first and then lowering your legs followed by the torso.
g. You may execute the Dhanurasana thrice by repeating steps b-f.
a. Lie down on your back on a mat.
b. Keep your palms facing down alongside your body.
c. Breathe normally.
d. Bring your legs together and feet next to each other. The legs and feet must be relaxed.
e. Raise both your legs together slowly keeping them straight and inhaling and exhaling deeply and slowly. Do this until the legs are perpendicular to the floor.
f. Support your waist by holding it with both hands.
g. Exhaling, raise your spine and push the legs backward over your head.
h. Ensure that the waist, back, legs and toes are linearly aligned.
i. Stay in the position for 10 seconds to a maximum of five minutes breathing slow and deep. Raise your time from 10 seconds gradually every month.
j. In this position, the chin is tucked into the jugular effectively giving a ‘jalandhar bandh’.
k. Slowly inhale and exhale bringing the legs slowly near the top of the head supporting the waist.
l. Continue to lower the legs removing hands from the waist back to the floor palms down.
m. Inhale and place the waist on the floor.
n. Exhale and place the legs back on the floor.
a. Begin by standing in the mountain pose (straight back, legs together, chest out)
b. Keep your legs about three feet apart.
c. Keep your back straight, tailbone down and the pelvis lifted.
d. Turn your right foot 90 degrees out, and your left foot approximately 45 degrees inward. The arch of the left foot should be aligned with the heel of the right foot.
e. Now, gradually move your torso over your right leg.
f. Keep the left leg strong as you move the right leg into a 90-degree angle, knee over the ankle.
g. Hold this pose for 10-20 seconds.
h. Release the mudra by straightening the right leg, centering the torso, and bring the arms down.
i. Repeat steps a-h for the left side.
Asanas like Ardha-Matsyendrasana and Surya Pranayama, will aid in weight loss.
Pranayama is a system of controlled breathing. Each one of us has a breathing pattern, which we evolve over the years, and is quite different from the pattern with which we naturally started out. During infancy, breathing has a natural rhythm. As we grow, this may become imbalanced due to the various situations and emotions we experience without our being aware of it. Pranayama is about bringing the balance back through practising controlled breathing. One of the most powerful techniques to counter weight gain and promote weight loss is the kapalbhati pranayama. It has numerous benefits besides aiding weight loss.
• Benefits: Purifies blood, improves the tone of all abdominal organs (liver, spleen, kidney, stomach, intestines, urinary bladder and uterus. Also cures migraines.
• Method: Sit on a mat on an even floor in any asana comfortable to you. Keep the spine straight and body firm. Perform dominant inhalation through nostrils which results in contraction of abdominal muscles and proper aeration to blood circulation.
In other words, exhalation or expulsion should be forceful and inhalation silent and peaceful. This may be done for 10-15 minutes every day. Silent and short, during abdominal contraction force is applied to the manipura, swadhisthan and muladhar chakra.
Our thoughts are the single most creative and powerful tools that control our bodily functions. They can be altered by our own will to reprogramme the way our internal organs function. Positive affirmations are effective towards changing negative self-fulfilling prophecies into positive ones by repeating to ourselves audibly the change we wish to see in ourselves. Such thoughts repeated intentionally and correctly often enough create a powerful shift in your reality. Barbara Hoberman Levine, author of Your Body Believes Every Word You Say mentions that one needs to be careful and have only positive statements in one’s affirmations, not negative ones. Here is a list of positive affirmations that can help you lose weight. Repeat these 50 to 100 times a day for three to four months.
• I eat like a thin person
• I am willing to change
• I have the power to change my life
• I effortlessly stay on track
• I am feeling thinner today
• I choose to eat healthy foods
• I eat only what I need
• I look lighter today
• I love food that makes me thin
• Losing weight is effortless
• I enjoy being healthy
• My body is getting stronger, slimmer, and healthier every day
Other equally effective alternative approaches for weight loss are naturopathy, nutrition, reflexology, aromatherapy, homeopathy, ayurveda, aqua aerobics and aerobics.
Mamta is a certified fitness instructor, personal trainer and sports nutritionist from IFA, Florida USA. She is also an NCFE-certified Holistic Health Therapist through SAC U.K. and writes for popular fitness sites. She also has her own blog on holistic health for women
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