All poses courtesy of Health Ambition.
No need to gear up and pound the ground outside in the harsh weather, yoga will tend to every physical need an exercise can offer. Not only is it great for flexibility, circulation and decreasing muscle tension, it’s also one of the most beneficial activities for your psyche. It can be romantic doing yoga in the evenings in front of the fire place before bed time, with some music playing in the background. If you’re more of a morning person, lay out your matt and watch the wintery sky peaking through your window as you’re getting fit as a fiddle.
Why try it?
Yoga targets a variety of muscle groups, and is done in conjunction with timed breaths that go along with poses in order to activate your internal organs. The basic weight loss rule as preached by modern medicine is true when it comes to yoga for overweight people as well: you want to raise your base metabolic rate to help burn the calories introduced into your body via food. Yoga also builds muscle, which is one of the requirements for fat burning. Your body uses muscle mass to burn through excess calories in problem areas such as the hips, thighs, buttocks and tummy. With time, you gain an impeccable frame and body tone that will help set of the fat-burning mechanism even when you’re seated or when you’re not exercising.
All these fat burning yoga poses target specific regions of the body and muscles, so pick one and stick with it for a couple of weeks to a month. You should ideally do these exercises three times a week, and go through them in repetitions of about five each to get the maximum effect.
Don’t forget to warm up!
The very, very important warm-up. Don’t ever try any yoga poses without thoroughly warming up. Ideally, you could go for a fast 10-minute walk – if it’s raining walk up and down the stairs a few times – and then gently stretch the body out with the best warm up sequence ever invented – the Sun Salutations (Surya Namaskar). Click on the image below to enlarge – or watch the 5-minute video “How to Practice Sun Salutation-step by step, pose by pose guide”.
First pose: Cobra
This simple pose targets the back and digestive organs, helping activate the psychic energy located in these regions, and making the digestive process work more efficiently. This is because most people who’ve gained weight find that it takes time for them to digest food, leaving them feeling lethargic and with low energy.
How to do it:
- Lie on your stomach, stretching your spine and upper body, place your hands next to your shoulders, and breathe easily. Bring your stomach muscles in, while taking care not to lift your upper thighs off the floor.
- Raise your torso and upper body off the floor, and extend through your spine. Hold this pose for about three breaths, all the while listening to your body.
- Bring your head up and look straight ahead, and feel the shoulder muscles working that burn.
- Bring your torso down, and place your forehead on your mat.
- Bend your hands at the elbows, and then lift your torso again without using your hands to support yourself. You’ll feel the muscles of your lower back engaging. Hoist yourself up as far as you can come, and then bring your upper body down. Repeat this about four times.
- The breath sequence should be: Breathe in as you come up, and breathe out as you go down.
- On the fourth repetition, hold your torso up, and then lengthen your whole back. Be careful not to compress your spine as you may end up injuring it.
- When you’re done, lie on the floor and then come up to child pose, stretching and relaxing your body intuitively.
This pose should take you about seven minutes to do, and a bit longer if you’re a beginner.
Second pose: Humble Warrior
This pose is great for building leg strength and balance, as well as toning your shoulders and giving you the muscle tone needed to boost your metabolism. At the same time, this pose targets the fat located around your hips, legs and tummy, trimming down these three areas that are considered problem spots for people looking to burn fat.
How to do it:
- Start by positioning yourself into downward dog pose. Stretch out through the spine and back, and then raise your right leg up while breathing in.
- Step it in front of you as you breathe out, bringing it to rest in-between your hands.
- Find your center of gravity by making sure that your feet are firmly positioned on the ground.
- Turn your left foot slightly to the left, and then come up in an upright stance, with your right foot still being bent at the knee.
- Reach both your hands up, and clasp them above your head.
- Bring them down, take them behind you, and them clasp them together.
- Raise your chest while keeping your tailbone down, and pelvis forward. Look up, and then dive down into your right leg.
- Reach as far down as you’re able to without straining or hurting yourself.
- Take a couple of breaths here, and lunge down further.
- Bring your shoulders back, and don’t let them droop down into both sides of the head.
- When ready, come back up and unclasp your hands. Reach up into the sky, and breathe deeply.
- Breathe in, taking your body back into downward facing dog.
- Repeat the sequence above with the other leg.
Third pose: Bow Pose
This back exercise is great for improving digestion, improving concentration and awareness, stimulating the pancreas (which might help you avoid diabetes brought about by weight gain), and strengthens your back muscles.
- Lie face down on a mat, and bring your hands down next to both sides of the body, ensuring that your palms are facing down.
- Bend your knees, and hold your ankles with your hands.Lift your heels up and off the floor, which in turn will lift your chest off the floor.
- Ensure that your shoulders are down and away from the ears in order to relax your inner shoulder muscles.
- While in this position, your body weight should rest on your stomach and not hips. Hold this pose for about 30 seconds, and then let go, slowly bringing your legs down.
- Curl into the child pose, and relax your back muscles by stretching your spine.
- Stay in child pose for as long as you’d like, bringing your body back into equilibrium.
Interested in getting holistic therapy qualifications? At the School of Natural Health Sciences we offer an online Yoga course along with over 50 other holistic therapy courses. Become a holistic practitioner and receive an internationally recognised diploma all from the comfort of your own home. Enrol today and take advantage of our Special Offers. Namaste. 🙂