The 3-step yoga routine that will help you get rid of belly fat

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Expanding waistlines and protruding bellies are a common sight these days. This was something that afflicted people in their middle age but these days it is common to see youngsters also with more than large girth. The first and foremost cause of obesity or protruding bellies is consuming more food than we need or use up in our daily activity. Added to it is a new-age culture of eating fast food, processed food and food heavy with fat and sugar. This causes fat to accumulate not only around the belly but in the whole body system.

Fatty tissues are deposited around organs like the heart, liver, kidney and muscles, thus resulting in lower energy and vitality in the person. The accumulated fat prevents insulin from converting accumulated fat into energy, thus making the person prone to diabetes, heart and BP, combined with the outward manifestation of an obese body which is a damper on the feel good factor for the person.

Yoga is a holistic practice which impacts all the vital organs, cardiac, respiratory and endocrine systems of the body, all of which impact your mental and emotional states too. Here I have detailed a simple and smooth way of getting into a yoga regime with some asanas, which will get you into good shape physically, mentally and experience equipoise emotionally. You may practise these along with other asanas or expertise regime.

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If you start suddenly with vigorous and challenging practice, you may not sustain it or get discouraged by its demands. Therefore, start with the body limbering up practice. This will begin to activate your muscles, joints and impact blood circulation in the whole body. It just limbers you up to get into more vigorous asanas.

Here are some of the asanas, which will surely get you into shapely body and fighting fit energy levels. These are practices which directly impact the stomach muscles and help reduce and tighten them up.

1. Pada chakrasana (Leg rotation): Lie down on your back. Relax the whole body. Internalise awareness. Rotate your right leg making a full circle in the clockwise direction initially for 3 rounds slowly, building it up to 5 and finally 10 rounds. Repeat in an anti-clockwise direction. Do the same with the left leg. After some days of practice with a single leg, rotate with both legs together. See that your knee is straight throughout. The movement must be from the hip joint downwards, hence the hips remain flat on the floor throughout. Do not start with both legs together immediately. Practise with single legs for a week or two, then slowly start doing the leg rotation with both legs together.

It is excellent for obesity, tightening stomach muscles and toning up abdominal and spinal muscles.

Cautionary Note: People with BP, heart or any stomach problem must seek expert guidance. Leg rotation with both legs must be done after sufficient stamina is gained with practice with single legs. Leg rotation with both legs is a strenuous practice. Initially, you must rest between each round. And after 3 or 5 rounds, see that you relax and get your breathing back to normal.

2. Padasanchalan (Cycling ): Continue to lie down on your back. Relax body. Keep your palms next to the body, facing upward. Relax your shoulders. Try not to use the shoulders and arms to support the movement of your legs.

With exhalation, bend your right knee and bring your thighs close to your chest. Then as you inhale, in a continuous movement like cycling, straighten your leg at 90 degrees to the body. Then with the knee straight. bring the leg close to the floor. Then again bring the thigh against the chest and continue this cycling movement. Begin with three rounds, then five and finally build it up to 10 rounds. Repeat with the left leg and finally with both legs together after sufficient practice.

Cautionary advice: BP patients must take care while doing this practice. So also those with severe lower back problems. It’s a strenuous practice especially when you do both legs together. Hence, see that you relax and get your breathing back to normal between each round. Slowly but surely, you will build up stamina to do the rounds without stopping.

BP and heart, lower back problems must first be resolved with asana and pranayama practice. It is an excellent practice for toning up stomach muscles, getting rid of fat in the hip and stomach area.

3. Surya Namaskar: This is a holistic asana which tones up the whole body. Just as the sun provides vital energy for life on earth, so also the Surya Namaskar awakens and energises the whole body, mind system. It helps break the vicious cycle of indolence which creeps in with gradual increase in weight gain. There are many videos showing the 12 asanas which comprise half a round of Surya Namaskar.

Initially, one can start with doing just a few of the asanas, then as the body frees up and becomes stronger, a person is easily able to do the full practice. It must be followed up with relaxation practice like Shavasana or Yog Nidra.

It is a sure shot solution for knocking off excess weight in the whole body. Yoga students report that this combination of Surya Namaskar followed up with relaxation practice sees them through the day with energy and equipoise, which is an unbeatable combination.

Cautionary advice: Those who have BP, heart or back problems must seek expert guidance and approach it slowly. Or better still one must practise asanas and pranayama which help correct these problems and then start without any fear with the Surya Namaskar practice. It is not prohibited for them. In fact, if learnt in the proper way, it will definitely be helpful for BP, heart and back problems.

Sustained yoga practice makes you aware of the healing capacities of your own body. It awakens a positive attitude and helps convert dietary indulgences into eating for health and fitness. A combination of yoga with a healthy diet will get into a fine fettle of fitness and health.

Kamini Bobde is a Kundalini practitioner who follows the Swami Satyananda Saraswati tradition of yoga. She is the author of Kundalini Yoga for All: Unlock the Power of Your Body and Brain. Published by Penguin

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