You’ve tried everything!
You went on that diet and stuck to it like glue, careful not to make excuses for having just a teeny bit of dessert because you’ve been so good so far with your diet. You’ve followed a strict exercise program that left you gasping for breath and sweating like a madman.
But after several days, maybe weeks even, it just seems as though you’ve barely made progress. It can be discouraging and frustrating at times but like a good soldier going into war, fighting for the cause and soldiering on requires you to stay the course.
It might be difficult to overcome the battle of the bulge and at times may seem as though you’re fighting a losing battle.
People respond to various diet programs differently. What works for one may not necessarily work for you. Finding a new strategy that might work for you is always a good idea – anything to make you win that war.
Yoga just might be your answer. How does a no-strain, work at your own level exercise that could help you lose that weight sound to you? If you want to get over destructive eating patterns, change your lifestyle and don’t think of your body as the enemy, then Yoga is your best bet towards achieving your weight loss goals.
Yoga’s process of developing a mind-body connection changes our relationship with food making us more aware of what we eat and how it feels to be full. It increases one’s mindfulness and the way we relate to our bodies.
In effect, the process of losing weight becomes a spiritual experience and the tendency to maintain the weight loss is achieved over the long term because of the changes that happen not just in the physical state but in the mental and emotional aspects as well. The result is a total change in lifestyle, habits, attitudes and practices.
If you are a beginner, Yoga might seem too tame for you and feel as though it might be a walk in the park. You might wonder how this could probably help you lose weight. The poses may seem easy but I can assure you that some of them are not. You could be in for a surprise when you realize that you’ve broken into a heavy sweat while trying to maneuver that pose.
Here are some tips for you to think about if you decide to give Yoga a try. You’ll never know if it works until you get on it. Until then, convince yourself that nothing will stop you on your journey towards achieving a better version of yourself and start focusing on your mind, body and spirit.
1. Focus on how you are feeling when trying to maneuver that pose
Yoga is about trying to get in tune with your body. Experiencing the sensations of your movements helps you achieve this. Yoga never requires you to strain yourself. Each movement adapts just until that point where you are almost uncomfortable but at the same time still able to relax your muscles and just go with the flow.
Find your “edge”. It’s that place where you feel your body challenged while trying not to be overwhelmed by it all. It’s not the same for all people so wherever your edge is, embrace it with an open mind and accept.
2. Practice in a room without mirrors
Most regular yoga studios have mirrors all around the walls. I’ve learned that watching yourself do those poses sort of takes the focus away from what you really need to pay attention to. People doing yoga may be beautiful and entrancing to watch because of the graceful contortions and fluid movements that practitioners do.
Watching yourself in the mirror doing those poses makes you conscious of how you look doing it as you try hard to do the poses as gracefully as you can to keep up with the graceful movements of your yoga instructor.
“Do I look stupid?” “Does this look funny?” “My butt looks gross sticking out that way.” These are just some of the thoughts that might enter your wandering mind and take you off in the wrong direction.
Focus on what matters and listen to your body.
3. Pay attention to your breathing
When doing yoga, never forget to breathe consciously. It is the essence of yoga that connects us with the energy inside. Conscious inhaling and exhaling has a biological effect on the mental, emotional and physical aspects of our bodies. It not only oxygenates our blood system but it also lets us focus in the moment.
Oxygen increases blood circulation and speeds up your metabolism which helps you burn those calories and lose that weight. Why do you think oxygen bars have become popular?
Inhale and breathe deeply, retain your breath, and exhale. Being aware of how you are breathing activates that part of our brains that helps us to relax and elevate our consciousness. It is no different from a meditative state that calms our spirits.
4. Try not to eat before your yoga session
Yoga can be more effective if you practice in a fasted state. It would be ideal if you practice yoga early in the morning, on an empty stomach and before you start your busy day ahead. By doing this, your body pulls its energy from stored fat that burns more efficiently as you practice.
You don’t want to be twisting and bending with a full stomach as it could become very uncomfortable and nauseating.
If doing yoga in the morning is not possible for you, make sure you do it 3 to 4 hours after a heavy meal, 1 to 2 hours after a light meal, 45 minutes after drinking tea or juice or 15 minutes after drinking water.
5. Allow yourself to rest
The final pose of every yoga class is the corpse pose. The corpse pose or “Savasana” may be Yoga’s resting pose but most Yogis think that this is actually the most difficult pose. How could that be, you might ask, when all one has to do is to lie on your back while relaxing your body and mind?
You need to do Savasana for about 10 to 20 minutes. It is the pose of total relaxation. This is where you release all the tension and relax so you can take in all the benefits of the practice you just had.
Savasana is important because this is how you calm your nervous system and get your composure back. Complete and total surrender is what you aim for and it takes practice and patience to achieve this. The mind-body connection is challenged since the possibility of your mind wandering with thoughts and distractions could prove to be quite difficult.
There are several types of yoga practice that you can choose from. If your goal is to lose weight, you might want to consider Ashtanga, Vinyasa or Power Yoga. These are the most physical types of yoga practice that will help you lose weight, develop muscle tone and improve metabolism.
Whatever your goal may be, it could be worth adapting Yoga as a part of your daily routine for the numerous benefits you can enjoy.
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