Losing or gaining weight should always be considered as part of a bigger picture: Yoga can be very transformative on many different levels and many people experience changes in the physical body first.
The most obvious benefit of Yoga for people that start practicing is easing tight muscles and reducing the stiffness that is the result of daily tensions, stress, or simply by not being used enough.
Besides the activation of the muscles, Yoga also helps mobilize the joints and strengthen the ligaments which, again, contributes to improved flexibility and better posture.
Yoga classes that focus on asana practice help tone and strengthen the muscles, thus shaping the whole body. As muscles get heavier as they get stronger, this means that Yoga many not automatically lead to weight loss even though your shape may change dramatically.
When you practice Yoga regularly and eat healthily, you will soon experience a toning of the whole body. A challenging asana practice also moves the prana, the life force, within the body, and you will feel yourself heat up as your breathing rate and heart rate increase. This can help rebalance the flow of your energies and regulate your feelings of hunger and appetite.
If weight loss is a primary motivation for starting Yoga, you should go for more challenging Vinyasa-style classes that focus on a strong physical practice.
By linking movement and breath within the poses, heat is created in the body which enhances the circulation and potentially leads to a higher calorie burn. It is said, that by practicing properly and not cheating, you can burn off between 300 and 400 calories during a vinyasa flow class and up to 600 calories by doing Hot Yoga like Bikram Yoga.
No matter what style you go for, I highly recommend starting with beginner’s classes and committing to regular practice.
Besides some challenging all-round multi-effect poses like plank pose, the warrior poses etc. Sarvangasana, the shoulder stand, is often is called the queen of the Yoga asanas. It is said Sarvangasana can be held up to 30 minutes, having many benefits including soothing every function of the body.
Besides strengthening the heart and respiratory system, soothing the nervous system and slowing down the aging process, shoulder stands help balance the hormones by activating regulating the thyroid and hypothalamus glands. This is very beneficial for weight loss.
A regular shoulder stand practice leads to more vitality, confidence, and more inner peace.
They also reduce constipation because being upside down in shoulder stand leads increases the gravitational pull on the abdominal organs, reducing constipation and regulating digestion. Important factors for reaching and maintaining a healthy weight.
If you’re looking for a good yoga mat, I’ve shared the ones I use and why I use it at “My Favorite Yoga Mats“.
Let me lead you through shoulder stand.
Lie on your back with your hands by your sides. Be aware of and make sure that your spine is straight, and your gaze is turned upwards to the ceiling. Keep your head straight; don’t turn your neck while practicing shoulder stand.
1st Step – Inhale and, as you then exhale, bend your knees towards your forehead. Walk your shoulders closer together and make sure that there is no stress in your neck. Then lift your legs, buttocks and back so that you come up high on your shoulders. Support your lower back with the hands, fingertips pointing upward.
Walk your shoulders and elbows even closer toward each other and straighten your legs and spine by pressing the elbows down to the floor and hands into the back.If this is not possible, rest your knees on your forehead and work at lengthening your back. Wherever you are, your weight should be supported on your shoulders and upper arms; your head and your neck should be quite relaxed.
2nd Step – Keeping your legs firm, lift your heels high and bring the big toes together, straight over your nose, heels are apart. Point your feet, flexing your toes like you are wearing high heels.Remember to keep your neck relaxed. Try to remain calm and then consider bringing your sternum towards your chin. Take a few deep breaths here for as long as you feel comfortable.
To come out of the pose, first lower your knees down to your forehead. Bring your hands to the floor, palms facing down so that you can use them as brakes. Slowly, with control, and without lifting the head, roll down and bring your spine back down to the mat.Lower your back down vertebra by vertebra until your whole back has reached the floor. Then, and with control, lower your legs to the floor and relax for a moment.
A regular shoulder stand practice leads to more vitality, confidence, and more inner peace. But there are some exceptions to the rules: In terms of safety, there are a few people that should not practice shoulder stand; people with high blood pressure, with neck or back issues like slipped discs, or eye problems like a detached retina or glaucoma.
There are also different opinions regarding practicing inversions for woman during their monthly periods. Personally, I don’t choose not to practice full inversions during the first two days of my period and go for more restorative variations instead e.g. in shoulder stand, place a block under the sacrum to elevate the hips above the heart for Vipartita Karani, candle pose, or simply elevate your legs against a wall and then lie with your butt close to the wall.
Yoga for Beginners Guide
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