Weight gain does not happen overnight and can be due to the various factors that lead to weight gain. Faulty dietary habits & sedentary lifestyle is one aspect, what one needs to identify is that weight gain stems from inefficient functioning of various bodily functions.
Breathing exercises and yoga asanas help in increasing & enhancing metabolic and heart rates. The body needs to be healed from within, by cleansing the inner mechanism, strengthening the core and building stamina & increasing flexibility.
Yoga poses to aim for,
Bow Pose (Dhanurasana)
Regular practice of this pose helps in losing weight and strengthening the abdominal core. It is an excellent belly massage, and fights constipation and accelerates digestion. This is a complete body stretch. To perform: Lie on your stomach. Bend knees and hold the ankles. Pull your hands and push with your legs, knees together, till the trunk forms an arch with only the stomach on the ground. Look up. After releasing the posture lie for a while in Shavasan.
Cobra Pose (Bhujangasana)
In this pose, the weight of your body is on the navel area & massages the digestive organ. This pose strengthens the muscles of the back, abdomen and the entire upper body. To practice: Lie prone on the floor. Stretch your legs back, tops of the feet on the floor. Spread your hands on the floor under your shoulders. Hug the elbows back into your body. Press the tops of the feet and thighs and the pubis firmly into the floor. On an inhalation, begin to straighten the arms to lift the chest off the floor, going only to the height at which you can maintain a connection through your pubis to your legs. Press the tailbone toward the pubis and lift the pubis toward the navel. Narrow the hip points. Firm but don’t harden the buttocks. Firm the shoulder blades against the back, puffing the side ribs forward. Lift through the top of the sternum but avoid pushing the front ribs forward, which only hardens the lower back. Distribute the backbend evenly throughout the entire spine. Hold the pose anywhere from 15 to 30 seconds, breathing easily. Release back to the floor with an exhalation.
Boat Pose (Naukasana):
Try holding the position for 10 seconds to begin with and increase the bar with every passing day. You will feel your stomach muscles going for a toss but trust me, this will kill that stubborn belly fat. Lie down straight on the abdomen with forehead resting on the floor. Keep your feet together and arms extended forward with palms on the floor. While inhaling, raise your arms, head, neck, shoulders, trunk and legs simultaneously as high as possible. Keep your elbows and knees straight. Balance the entire weight of your body on the navel. Maintain this posture if possible for 30 sec. While exhaling, bring down your legs, hands and forehead to the ground. Then relax in Makarasana.
Fish Pose (Matsyasana)
This asana involves twisting and pulling to help in burning the extra fat that gets deposited in the most prominent places like the tummy and thighs. To practice this asana, lie flat on your back, either on a mat or on a carpeted floor. Keep your knees straight and keep your feet together with toes pointed to the ceiling. Slide your hands under your thighs and buttocks. This motion should cause your chest to bow upward slightly. Bend the elbows and push them into the floor; use the bend of the elbows and arms to raise the chest higher, keeping the chest arched upward. When the chest is arched as high as possible, drop your head and rest the very top of your head on the floor. Your chin should point to the ceiling. While in this posture, breathe deeply and really enjoy the chest expansion. Hold this position for as long as is comfortable.
This intense twist (one side at a time) helps in toning the sides, the upper body, as well as the abdominal muscles. To begin with, sit extending both the legs together in front, hands by the side, palms resting on the ground. Fingers should remain together pointing forward. Fold the right leg at knee. Slowly set the right heel at the perineum. Now folding the left leg, bringing it from above the right knee, place it by its side on the ground. The knee of the left leg should remain towards sky. Now bring the right hand on the left side of the left knee. The left knee should remain at the left side of the right armpit. Now straighten the right hand and hold the toe or ankle of the left leg. Twisting the body to the left side, look backwards, place the left hand bringing it from the back on the right thigh. Gaze should be towards back. While returning to the original position first release the hand from the thigh and turn head forward. Now bring the back to normal position after loosening the right hand. Bring the left leg in original position. Now bring the right leg also original position. Repeat it similarly from the other side by folding the left leg first.
Extended Side Angle Pose (Utthita Parsvakonasana)
- Stand in Tadasana. On an exhalation, step or lightly jump your feet 3.5 to 4 feet apart. Raise your arms parallel to the floor and reach them actively out to the sides, shoulder blades wide, palms down. Turn your left foot in slightly to the right and your right foot out to the right 90 degrees. Align the right heel with the left heel. Firm your thighs and turn your right thigh outward, so that the center of the kneecap is in line with the center of the right ankle. Roll the left hip slightly forward, toward the right, but rotate your upper torso back to the left.
- Anchor the left (back) heel to the floor by lifting the inner left groin deep into the pelvis. Then exhale and bend your right knee over the right ankle, so that the shin is perpendicular to the floor. As you bend the knee aim the inner knee toward the little-toe side of the foot. If possible, bring the right thigh parallel to the floor.
- Firm your shoulder blades against the back ribs. Extend your left arm straight up toward the ceiling, then turn the left palm to face toward your head and with an inhalation reach the arm over the back of your left ear, palm facing the floor. Stretch from your left heel through your left fingertips, lengthening the entire left side of your body. Turn your head to look at the left arm. Release your right shoulder away from the ear. Try to create as much length along the right side of your torso as you do along the left.
- As you continue to ground your left heel to the floor, exhale and lay the right side of your torso down onto (or bring it as close as possible to) the top of the right thigh. Press your right fingertips (or palm) on the floor just outside of your right foot. Actively push the right knee back against the inner arm; counter this by burrowing your tail bone into the back of your pelvis, toward the pubis. The inside of your right thigh should be parallel with the long edge of your sticky mat.
- Stay for 30 seconds to 1 minute. Inhale to come up. Push both heels strongly into the floor and reach the left arm forcefully toward the ceiling to lighten the upward movement. Reverse the feet and repeat for the same length of time to the left. Then come up and return to Tadasana.
Vishnu’s Couch Pose (Anantasana)
Lie on your side on your yoga mat. Start with your bottom heel (keep your foot flexed) and then continue along the line of your leg. Line up your hip with your heel and then prop yourself up on your bottom elbow with your head in your hand. Gently corset your ribs together so that the upper back stays along the edge of the mat. Adjust the angle of your bottom elbow to be in line with the mat. You can keep your top foot and hand on the ground in front of you for balance. Look over your shoulder to make sure everything is straight and ready to go. Once your body is in a long straight line, bend your top knee and place the sole of that foot in front of your bottom thigh. Adjust your foot so that the toes and knee cap point toward your flexed base foot. Bring the edge of your bent knee foot flush with your inner thigh. Place your top hand to the inside of the top thigh and gently press back to open your hips and encourage external rotation. There is a tendency to pitch the low back and puff the ribs. Counteract this by zippering your tailbone toward your flexed foot and drawing your front ribs in as if you just tightened a corset around your ribcage. Keep the action of your tailbone and ribcage as you hook your top leg big toe with your top hand. Before you extend your top leg reaffirm the flex of the base foot and the engagement of the base leg. This leg will be your anchor to prevent you from falling. Slowly extend your top leg toward a straight position keeping the top shoulder in the socket. Externally rotate the top leg taking the heel forward and toes back. Here’s where the dance begins; don’t panic is your body wobbles, this is normal. Just keep the intention of the anchored base leg, long tailbone and corseted ribcage. Relax your gaze and head on your hand. Try to go for a solid 8 breaths or longer if you’re feeling inspired. Switch sides.
This pose tones and firms the abdominal muscles. Focus on both the sides of the body while you stretch. This asana works on melting your love handles and improves blood circulation and digestion.
Garland Pose (Malasana)
Stand with the feet about mat’s width apart. Bend the knees, coming into a squat. Keep the feet as close to parallel as possible. Take the upper arms inside your knees and bend the elbows. Bring the palms together into anjali mudra (prayer position). Try to bring the hands to your heart center with the forearms parallel to the floor to open the knees slightly. Keep the spine straight and shoulders relaxed. Stay here for five breaths, then straighten the legs to come out. This posture counters the effects of sitting all day and accumulating fat in the lower part of the body. It stretches the thighs, groin, and hip muscles.
Regular practice of these poses will help you build a toned slim body.