Yoga, which is associated with unifying the mind, spirit and body, offers umpteen health benefits. Done regularly, it can improve cardiovascular health, control diabetes, reduce depression and improve intuition.
But there’s more to yoga than toning the muscles, relaxing the mind and increasing energy. Yoga can also help in weight loss as the right yoga moves can improve metabolism. Being overweight or underweight denotes that there is an imbalance in your system. Yoga works on stabilising these imbalances.
Try these six yoga asanas to burn calories and improve metabolism:
- The Jatara Parivartasana, a core twist of sorts, is a yoga pose recommended for those who spend long hours at the desk.
Do it: Lie down with both legs stretched and hands apart on the side. Inhale and bend both knees to bring your feet closer to the body and to each other. Slowly let the left foot come off the ground and start twisting both knee joints towards the right side. While you are twisting, the head must move to the opposite side. Return to the starting position and repeat the pose on the opposite side.
- Ardha Matsyendrasana is a sitting half spinal twist opens up the chest, increases oxygen supply to the lungs and makes the spine supple. It also works as yoga for metabolism.
Do it: Sit with the legs stretched out straight in front of you, keeping feet together and the spine erect. Bend the left leg and place the heel beside the right hip. Take the right leg over the left knee.Place the left hand on the right knee and the right hand behind you. Twist the waist, shoulders and neck in this sequence to the right and look over the right shoulder. Keep the spine erect. Breathing out, release the hand behind you first, then release the waist, chest and neck. Repeat on the other side.
Do it: Place hands face down on either side of your hips in a seating position. Draw navel in towards your spine. Keeping the thighs hugged together, draw knees into the chest by engaging core. Move the muscles that move the bones. Lengthen from tailbone to the top of the head, drawing shoulders back to the elongate neck. Grasp thighs below the knee crease, keeping elbows drawn in towards the side body. Expand chest without lifting ribs. Play with floating arms in line with knees, elbows and fingers extended. Extend your lower legs in line with thighs, maintaining toe point. Arms can stay floating, or grasp your shins/calves/feet.
- Salabhasana, or the locust pose, helps exercise the spine and improves balance and strength.
Do it: Lie down on the floor on your belly and place your chin on the floor. Place toes on the floor and touch knees to the ground. Put hands below the hips in a way that your palms rest on the ground. While inhaling lift the head, upper body, thighs and legs off the floor. Raise the leg as high as possible, hold your breath and remain in this position resting your body on your belly. You can also place blankets below your thighs if you are not able to maintain balance.
- Better known as Bellows breath, this breathing exercise increases prana or life force in your being. It helps energise the body, clarify the mind and can fire your metabolism.
Do it: Relax your shoulders and take a few deep full breaths from your abdomen. Start exhaling forcefully through your nose, followed by forceful, deep inhalations at the rate of one second per cycle. Breath entirely from your diaphragm, keeping your head, neck, shoulders, and chest relatively still while your belly moves in and out. Start with a round of 10 Bhastrika breaths, then breathe naturally and notice the sensations in your body.
- Try the Surya Namaskar, a sequence of 12 yoga poses that flow into each other with rhythmic breathing, to boost your metabolism and . Each pose of this series has a specific benefit on the body. Apart from the metabolism, the sequence can boost cardiovascular health, improve blood circulation and digestion, tone arms, strengthen the spine and improve flexibility. Learn how to do the perfect Surya Namaskar here.
Try yoga for metabolism! Other poses that can improve metabolism include Dhanurasana, Sarvangasana, Halasana, Uddiyana Bandha and Nauli.