Weight loss is the new rage throughout the world. Eat less, gym more; health food, dieting, aerobics, yoga, dance, pilates and what not just to cut down those extra kilos? Why guys? Why do you have to do so much when some breathing techniques can help you slim down? Unbelievable, isn’t it? It was unbelievable for me too when I had read the article. But then I thought there’s no harm in trying so why not give it a try? And trust me girls, it works. Unlike gymming and hard core workouts that give you muscle cramps and body pains, these breathing exercises are easy ad painless techniques to lose weight easily.
But when there is a rave about so many weight loss workouts and expensive exercise equipments how can a simple and inexpensive breathing help us lose weight? The reasons below will convince you of the fact behind weight loss associated with breathing exercises in yoga.
- Deep breathing promotes weight loss as deep inhalation fills your lungs with fresh oxygen that gets transferred to all body cells. This increases oxidation and helps in burning fat cells.
- With deep breathing in yoga, oxygen intake in blood increases and the rate at which carbon-dioxide leaves the body slows down, thus giving us more energy to workout.
- Breathing exercises in yoga boosts metabolism. The thyroid gland is responsible for regulating metabolic rate. Deep breathing in yoga triggers release of hormones from thyroid gland that stimulate metabolism and thereby indirectly leads to weight loss.
- There are some specific yogic breathing techniques that massages your abdomen and helps burn fat faster around the mid-region.
Yoga breathing exercises for weight loss
Let us start with certain breathing techniques combined with yoga poses that will accelerate weight loss.
Pranayam refers to deep breathing techniques. There is a set of breathing exercises that will effectively help lose weight.
Also known as the Breath of fire technique, this breathing exercise made popular by yog guru Baba Ramdev is a very helpful weight loss exercise. Let us learn how to do it.
i. Sit cross-legged on your yoga mat.
ii. Your body should be straight, an elongated spine, neck and chin up.
iii. Close your eyes and place hands on your knees in a comfortable position.
iv. Your abdomen muscles should be completely relaxed, don’t strain them.
v. Breathe in deeply and exhale the air out of your nose as if a sniff. When you sniff out the air, you’ll feel your abdomen pulling inwards.
vi. If you are a starter, practice this breathing exercise upto 30-50 times. Slowly increase the pace and continue upto 5-10 minutes at a stretch.
Don’t do this exercise when having periods or if you are suffering from high blood pressure or any other heart disease.
2. Bhastrika Pranayama:
This pranayama is meant to provide enough amount of fresh oxygen to your body.
i. Sit comfortably on a yoga mat. Your legs should be crossed, one over the other in a padmasana.
ii. Place hands on your knees with palms facing upwards, the tip of your thumb and ring finger pressing one against the other.
iii. Take normal breaths and relax.
iv. Now breathe in deeply with all your strength so that your lung is filled with oxygen.
v. Then breathe out forcefully though the nose such that a hissing sound is made.
vi. Repeat this for 5-10 times.
If you are suffering from any heart disease, consult your doc before practicing this exercise.
3. Anulom Vilom Pranayama:
This breathing technique is also known as alternate nostril breathing. Lets learn this breathing technique.
i. Sit with cross-legged on a mat and relax.
ii. Close your eyes and keep all your muscles relaxed.
iii. Now press the right nostril with the thumb of your right hand and breathe in through the left nostril.
iv. Count until 5 to retain the breath.
v. Then close your left nostril with the ring finger of your right hand and leave the right nostril to let the air exhale through the right nostril.
vi. Now again inhale through your right nostril while still keeping the left nostril pressed.
vii. Retain the breath until 5 counts and release air through left nostril.
viii. This way you complete one round of this pranayama.
ix. Repeat some 10-15 rounds more.
This exercise should be done in fresh air before having your breakfast. However if you are pregnant or having periods, do not do this exercise.
4. Bhramari Pranayama:
i. Sit on a mat cross-legged in a padmasana.
ii. Straighten your spine and relax.
iii. Now with your thumb, close both your ears.
iv. Use the middle finger of both hands to press lightly on your closed eyes.
v. With the index finger, press your temples lightly.
vi. Place the ring fingers and little fingers on the bridge of your nose.
vii. Now breathe in deeply through nose and exhale slowly through nose while making a humming sound and chanting OM in your mind.
viii. Do this exercise for 11-21 times.
5. Surya Namaskar (Sun Salutation):
There are twelve steps in Surya Namaskar. Each of these poses is accompanied with sequenced breathing which if done with concentration and accuracy promotes weight loss toning up your entire body.
6. Seated Spinal twist:
Also known as Ardha Matsyendrasana, spinal twists works on your abdomen and back.
i. Sit on the yoga mat with your legs extended before you. Breathe and relax.
ii. Bend your right knee and bring the heels as much close to your buttocks as possible.
iii. Now fold your left knee and cross it over your right knee. Your left foot ankle should be just by the side of your right knee.
iv. Take your left arm and place it behind you with the palm on the floor.
v. Your right arm should be touching the toes of your left foot.
vi. Now that you have positioned yourself, take in a deep breath and elongate your spine.
vii. Twist your torso to your left and look over your left shoulder. As you twist exhale.
viii. Inhale and straighten your spine; exhale and twist.
ix. Stay for 5 breaths and release the twist.
x. Now twist to the other side too.
These poses of yoga for breathing and weight loss will undoubtedly give you long term benefits!