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5-Minute Yoga for Every Body: Yoga for Weight Loss

Deborah is a writer, healer, and teacher. She enjoys helping people work towards healthier lives.

You Can Do It!

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Begin With Your Breath

Yoga is more than just stretching and balancing. It is a way of life. Yoga embraces the whole person, to lead you on a path of well being; physically, mentally, and spiritually.

You do not need to embrace a specific religion to enjoy the benefits of yoga. The spirit of yoga welcomes all. What you do need is a desire to grow and a desire to love yourself beyond where you are today. Yoga is appropriate for all age and skill levels, and it's benefits are far reaching.

This series of articles is written for people who have not yet explored yoga, but would like to. It is also designed to help people who don't have time for a traditional yoga class.

This series covers some basic poses for beginners, and also the philosophy behind yoga. If you want to be more flexible, read on. If you want more balance, then continue. It only takes five minutes a day.

The most important part of a yoga practice is breathing. Becoming aware of the breath is the basis for all poses. Before you begin this or any yoga practice, take a few moments to quiet your mind and focus on your breath.

Breathe deeply and check in with your body. Listen to your breath. Notice how you feel, physically and emotionally. Allow yourself to notice and observe your body, your breath and your emotions.

Before you begin your practice, continue breathing deeply for a few more moments. Allow your mind to connect to your body. Now, you are in a place to begin.

Breathe In. Breathe Out.

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Philosophy of Yoga

When practicing yoga, learning poses typically comes before practicing philosophy. It is important to find out that you can do a pose. The struggle with self to overcome fear, hesitation and embarrassment will lead you on a path of growth and increased body awareness.

We all start at the beginning. Not knowing any yoga poses. Not understanding the seemingly complex thought system embraced by the enlightened gurus. At the beginning, we learn. We begin our yoga practice exactly where we are today. We don't worry about where we were yesterday, or where we want to be tomorrow. Today, we begin where we are. We breathe deeply and begin.

Start with a beginners mind. We begin as an empty vessel, waiting to be filled. We begin with nothing to bring, but ourselves and our desire to practice. Nothing else matters.

As we learn simple poses, our mind slowly overcomes the ego which tears us down at every opportunity. Our true self learns that we are strong, capable, and smart. As we work through each pose, our true self is lifted. There is no perfect pose in yoga. The perfection is found in the practice. The practice of breathing, connecting the mind, body and soul, and the practice of moving through the poses leads us to find perfection in each moment. We forget about being "perfect" and we meet ourselves exactly where we are.

The boost in confidence that follows creates a desire to improve our lives in other areas, and this juncture is where yoga philosophy comes in. The philosophy embraces breath, connection and life. It leads us to a higher place of acceptance and confidence, as we learn that where we are is exactly where we need to be.

Empty Mind

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5-Minute Yoga for Weight Loss

Yoga for Weight Loss Step-by-Step

Yoga for weight loss helps us get out of the fight or flight (sympathetic) nervous system and into the rest and digest (parasympathetic) nervous system. While fight or flight produces stress hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline, that cause your body to feel stressed, anxious and hold onto calories for emergency, the rest and digest state produces a state of calm. In the parasympathetic state, the body secretes saliva and enhances digestion, and allows the body to rest and relax.

If you'd like to learn more about the parasympathetic nervous system, check out this article from Science Direct, "Parasympathetic Nervous System."

1. Begin on Your Back: On a mat, on your bed, on the floor or on the ground outside, come carefully onto your back and begin to breathe deeply.

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2. Bring Knees to Your Chest: Carefully bring your knees toward your chest and begin rocking side to side. You can pull your knees in close to your chest, or you can move them away from your body. Do what feels comfortable for you. Rocking side to side on the back stimulates the Vagus nerve, which activates the parasympathetic nervous system.

3. Cross Right Ankle Over Left Knee: Bring both feet back to the mat. Cross the right ankle over the left knee and bring the left knee toward your chest, into Reclining Pigeon Pose. Bring your knee as close to your chest as feels comfortable and hold. After a few breaths, continue holding the pose and rock side to side. Notice where you feel sensation: perhaps the right hip, glute or hamstring.

4. Drop Left Knee Open: Return left foot to the mat. Keep your right ankle crossed over the left knee. Slowly drop the left knee open to the left side of your mat. The right foot is coming down with the left knee, toward the left side of your mat. Notice the stretch in your right hip, gluteus medius and piriformis. Hold for a few breaths, then slowly return the left knee to an upright position.

5. Extend Right Leg Overhead: Keeping the left foot on the mat, slowly extend the right leg overhead, stretching the hamstring, hip and calf. Hold for several breaths. Continue breathing deeply.

6. Bring the Right Foot Toward the Left Hip: Slowly slide the right foot under the bent left leg. Think of a buffalo-chicken-wing. The right foot slides under the left leg, and the right thigh drops open on the mat. Your right foot is coming toward your left hip. You can use the left hand to carefully bring the right foot toward your hip. Notice the stretch in the front of the right thigh, the quadricep, hip flexor and psoas. Breathe deeply and hold.

7. Right Knee Toward the Chest: Bring the right knee straight in toward your chest and extend your left leg onto the mat.

8. Cross Right Knee Across Your Body: Keeping the left leg straight, slowly bring the right knee across your body, toward the left side of the mat, into Reclining Spinal Twist. For more sensation, open the right arm out to the side, with your palm facing the ceiling or sky. Breathe deeply and notice the sensations in your body.

9. Return to Center and Repeat: Slowly unwind the twist and return to center, bringing both knees toward your chest. Rock side to side, breathing deeply, repeat the sequence on the left leg, with the right foot returning to the mat.


Yoga and Weight Loss

Yoga can help you lose weight. According to an article by Harvard Health, "Yoga For Weight Loss: Benefits Beyond Burning Calories," research shows that yoga helps manage stress, improve your mood and curb emotional eating. All of these factors help you lose weight.

In addition, yoga helps improve your muscle tone and flexibility, can help you increase muscle mass and burns calories.

According to the American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine, yoga is tied to weight loss and weight management for several reasons. It reduces back and joint pain, which allows you to enjoy many types of exercise. By improving your mood and reducing stress, those who practice yoga are less inclined to overeat. In addition, yoga helps with mindfulness, connecting you to how your body feels helps you stop eating when you feel full.

These are only a few of the positive factors that will help you lose weight with a simple yoga practice.

Simple Yoga Routine for Weight Loss

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About Me

I am a certified yoga instructor, massage therapist, and life coach. I want to help everyone achieve their best life, today. Using the tools I've learned in yoga, massage and life coaching, I want to help you improve your life from the inside out.

Yoga is an important component of a complete life, as it combines the essence of breath, movement and feeling. Practicing yoga daily will help with your peace of mind, as well as balance and flexibility.

As I get older, I realize that some things that I used to do are no longer comfortable, so I have adjusted my yoga practice to be realistic for every body type, regardless of age, size, fitness level or experience.

Join me on the journey, as we explore yoga and the benefits of breathing and feeling.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2022 Deborah Demander

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