Yoga is often thought of as that exercise that would induce flexibility, calm and balance in the body. Yoga can be thought of as an exercise as well as a practice that helps build a lifestyle.
But this is not all that Yoga can help you with.
Apart from mindfulness and helping with various relaxation techniques, Yoga has shown tremendous effects in gradual weight loss and the ease to maintain that weight set point.
Also, another perspective to this whole process can be that as Yoga extends huge help when it comes to reducing stress, in an indirect way weight is maintained. It is a well-researched finding that chronic and prolonged stress can lead to weight gain through various mechanisms. The simplest example is how some people tend t engage in “binging” when encountered with a stressor. With Yoga, the mechanism is halted at the first stage itself by making the person handle the situation with lesser strain.
So you may not always need those hard-core weights or muscle exercises like pilates to lose that weight. Yoga can do it for you too!
So here are a few exercises which should approximately take about 20 minutes of your morning providing you with a great start to the day, both mentally and physically!
1. High Lunge Twist
This is one of the simpler exercises to start with. Stand hip-width apart and step your right foot forward. Now bend the knee while keeping the left leg straight. Make sure that your back also remains straight.
Rest your left hand on the ground while reaching your right hand toward the ceiling dipping your right shoulder downward. Basically your right hand is raised above your left shoulder. Hold breathe for 10 counts. Return to the first position slowly.
Repeat the exercise one more time.
2. Goddess Pose
Start by standing hip-width apart and feet pointing outwards. Bend your knees as if doing squats and keep your glutes squeezed. Make sure to keep your back straight. Move as if rocking in a chair for a few moments.
Rest for a few seconds before performing the whole sequence again. This asana enhances muscle strength significantly.
3. Downward Dog To The Plank Pose (Phalakasana)
These two asanas are probably the most heard of and performed poses of Yoga. Hence, being a combination of two highly effective poses, this one increases the strength of various body muscles and helps in losing stomach fat.
Start with getting on all fours such that your body should form a rectangle with the floor. While exhaling after taking a deep breath, raise your butt towards the ceiling and straighten out your legs. Your heels should be pushed back into such that now your body forms a triangle.
Inhale again and while pushing into your arms, straighten out in an extended plank position. Remember to keep your arms and legs straightened out. Hold at each point for about five seconds and get back on all fours. Repeat 8-10 times.
4. Bridge Pose
This asanas awfully similar to bridge raises. All you got to do is integrate breathing exercises within the exercise. That is when being in the raised position, breathe deeply for a minute before getting back to the starting position.
Repeat the exercise three times.
5. Chaturanga Dandasana
For this one, you would need to start with a low push-up-like position. Planked on your arms with your legs straight, shift your body weight onto your palms and move forward such that your palms now rest below your chest. Make sure that your elbows are bent onto your side and not outwards.
Bend even further below such that your chest is only a few centimeters above the floor. Count till ten and come back to the starting position. Repeat three times.
6. Downward Dog Split/Half CrowLift
Start on all fours again and straighten your back. Hike your butt upwards and raise one of your legs behind you. Raise it as high as possible for you. Hold for a few seconds and bring it back to the floor. Now bend the knee of that leg and shift your weight onto your palms to be looking like being in the push-up position.
Now bring your right leg toward your right elbow by bending the knee as much as possible. Come back to the original position and repeat five times.
Repeat the same with the other leg.
7. Paschimottanasana Or The Seated Forward Bend
This pose stimulates the solar plexus muscles and efficiently stretches the whole body. Start by sitting in the ground with legs out front. Inhaling, stretch your arms ahead of you, keeping them straight.
Slowly bend down and try to touch your toes. Once grabbed, pull them backward and stress your hamstrings. Stay in the position till you count till 60 or 90.
Repeat 8-10 times.
One of the best ways to calm your body after a long and strenuous session of asanas. Start by sitting on your knees and your buttocks almost touching the floor. Sit straight and place your hands on your knees. Slowly stretch your arms upwards and bend, push your body ahead such that your palms and forehead touch the floor.
Stay in this position for some time and breathe normally. Come back to the original position.
Repeat 2-3 times.
A Few Words
Rolf Gates once said that “Yoga is not a work-out, it is a work-in. And this is the point of spiritual practice; to make us teachable; to open up our hearts and focus our awareness so that we can know what we already know and be who we already are.” And it could not be more aptly put into words.
Yoga is almost a type of exercise that is receptive in nature. It gives a holistic experience in terms of body and mind relaxation and re-energizing.
So let us follow the words of Tiffany Cruikshank who very rightly said “If we practice yoga long enough, the practice changes to suit our needs. It’s important to acknowledge that the practice isn’t meant to be one practice for everybody. The beautiful thing about yoga is that there are so many different approaches. As we go through our life cycles, hopefully, we are able to find a practice that suits us. And if you practice yoga long enough, that will change many times. What exactly that looks like is going to be different for each person.” to look for motivation and ready ourselves to embark on a beautiful journey.