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Obesity is generally identified as the phenomenon when someone has body fat much above what is the healthy average in a population of the same age, weight, and race. Obesity increases the risk of high blood pressure, and the higher chance of osteoporosis; in turn, increases the chances of a stroke or heart attack. It can start a vicious circle where one may continue choosing unhealthy habits that again feed into Obesity. Obesity is also correlated to mental illness and depression. Though if Obesity is the cause of mental illness or vice-versa is up for debate. Obesity is also found to be of two parts - metabolically healthy and metabolically unhealthy. The latter puts the person more at health risk. A lot of men and women across western nations suffer from Obesity beyond age 50. In fact, this has only increased due to the covid pandemic.
Why do some consider Yoga the best?
Ever heard 'Yoga is perfect for weight loss', but didn't understand why?, then keep reading. An increasing weight, diabetes, reduction of a belly wobble or the pounds piling on while getting older; yoga really is a place to start.
The first step on our weight loss journey is the hardest. Mostly, the thought of a gym or hearing the words 'healthy diet' evokes images of boring salads. But Yoga is a perfect way to look inwards, get in touch with our emotions and introduce less intense cardio to keep you moving. The synchronized pattern of exercises is generally combined with breathing and mind exercises. This overall balance is absent in exercises such as HIIT, Pilates training, etc. People with Obesity which is known to be associated with low confidence and depression seem to feel more relaxed and energetic with balanced yogic exercises. Research have seen a significant reduction in lipid profiles in the body when Yoga is followed consistently.
Ayurveda - The Sister Science to Yoga
What is Ayurveda?
Ayurveda is an ancient system of medicine, developed in India, that has been around for over 5000 years. In Sanskrit, the word means 'knowledge/science', hence why it is usually referred to as the 'sister science to Yoga'. Ayurveda believes that the five elements- ether, air, fire, water, and earth- are the building blocks of all life. Based on a holistic approach, its learnings help in digestion, to understand individual body composition, and how to live a more sattvic (pure) life. The concept of Ayurveda was established empirically and has been in practice even in the modern age. It differs from modern science in terms of its holistic approach.
The Relationship between Weight Loss and Ayurveda
Since Ayurveda is a lifestyle approach, it emphasizes a holistically sustainable way to reduce excess fat; focusing on mindfulness by helping understand the body type, its reactions to certain foods. Furthermore, it takes into account nutrition, stress management, and natural remedies. Doshas are key components of understanding your condition.
Doshas and Weight Loss
What are doshas? The five mentioned elements manifest within all humans through the doshas. Doshas help realize that it's all a balancing act. Doshas refer to the three main characteristics of every human body. These characteristics help us understand how our diet and lifestyle affect us. Recent studies have tried to provide explanations for the empirical classification of Ayurveda through gut microbes.
Ayurveda establishes that it isn't just physical activity that helps us reduce our body weight. It is also our diet and lifestyle. This is why some can tolerate spicy foods better, some people dislike humid weather and others always feel lethargic. Let's look at the 3 main different doshas talked about in Ayurveda. Each of us has qualities of at least 2 doshas, but 1 is always more prominent. Want to find out what your prominent Dosha is? Take the quiz NOW.
VATA | Characteristics
Frame: Thin, Weight Average: Tends to graze and snack, Physical activity: Very active, doesn't tend to sweat, Food for balancing: Warm, sweet, sour, salty. [Find a list of Vata balancing foods HERE]
PITTA | Characteristics
Frame: Average, Weight gain: Doesn't gain/lose weight too easily, Appetite: Can be excessive, Physical activity: Average, moderate sweat, Food for balancing: Cold, sweet, bitter, astringent. [Find a list of Pitta balancing foods HERE]
KAPHA | Characteristics
Frame: Heavy set, Weight gain: Difficulty losing weight, Appetite: Likes three regular meals a day, Physical activity: Lethargic, sweat easily, Food for balancing: Dry/warm food, pungent, bitter, astringent. [Find a list of Kapha balancing foods HERE]
An excess of Kapha tends to have a correlation with being overweight. On the flip side, being overweight causes Kapha to be imbalanced. Remember, our doshas can interchange depending on our diet, season, and activity. In order to balance our Kapha, we can eat Kapha balancing foods, for example, spinach, peppers, wild rice, and broccoli. When we choose these dry, pungent, bitter, and astringent foods, the Kapha dominance subsides.
The Chakras and Weight Loss
For a long time, the focus had been– on what happens externally that affects our weight. The food we consume and the exercise we do to reduce our BMI; tend to be our only considerations. But, what is happening deep down to our core? This is when discussing potential energy blocks within our chakras starts to get interesting.
What are Chakras?
The word 'chakra' translates from Sanskrit as 'wheel of light'. The idea of these wheels of light within us might be easier to think of as different areas of energy throughout the body. Our chakras run from our 'root chakra', located at the base of the spine; all the way up to our 'crown chakra', located at the crown of the head. If we have an energy block in our root chakra, we may feel self-conscious, insecure, greedy, or lack focus. Unblocking our chakras can lead to a more efficient digestive system and much more.
Again, it is pertinent to remind that Ayurvedic system was derived empirically via research, experimentation and trial & error. It was the time when modern science was not developed and hence the true understanding of why this works is still unanswered.
'The Endocrine System'
It is a mechanism of hormone-producing glands that act as chemical messengers the release of which allows all the organs to function in synchronization. A healthy endocrine system then becomes key to avoiding diabetes, thyroid, and Obese. In our Oseterics App, you can find my workouts tailored for Obesity where we have designed the exercise specifically to target chakras which can help alleviate the condition of Obesity.
Yoga Poses to Target Chakras
Roll out the yoga mat and get practicing these poses!
Root Chakra | Warrior 2
Gland: Adrenal. Responsible for releasing the stress hormone, Cortisol. When the stress hormone increases, our body holds on to weight. Yoga pose: Warrior 2. This pose increases self-confidence and allows one to feel grounded.
Sacral Chakra | Seated Goddess Squat
Gland: Reproductive. The imbalance of reproductive hormones can lead to weight fluctuations. Yoga pose: Goddess Squat. Works on reducing tension from hips.
Solar Plexus Chakra | Kapalbhati Pranayama
Gland: Pancreas. Imbalance can lead to diabetes or pancreatitis. Yoga pose: Kapalbhati. Stimulates and massages core muscles.
Heart Chakra | Heart Opening Stretch
Gland: Thymus. Located just behind the breastbone. Yoga pose: Heart Opening Stretch. This is a deep heart opener, specifically targeting this chakra.
Throat Chakra | Seated Camel
Gland: Thyroid. When it is underactive, leads to weight gain. Yoga pose: Seated Camel. Moving through these poses, lengthens and stretches the neck.
Third Eye Chakra | Cow Face Pose
Gland: Pituitary. When out of balance, this can lead to anxiety. Yoga pose: Cow Face Pose. The space created in the upper back and chest through this pose radiates up to the third eye.
Crown Chakra | Supported Downward Facing Dog
Gland: Pineal. Important for sleep and melatonin production. Yoga pose: Supported Downward Facing Dog. Moving the flow of blood to those areas and stabilizing hormonal fluctuations.
Hopefully, this article has given a lot of things to consider and points to reflect on. Check out our specially curated yoga classes on our platform, helping to age better.