Good News For People Trying To Lose Weight!  
by: Dipali Godbole for Vasanthi Bhat (vasanthi@vasanthayoga.com)

The onset of a new year sees a surge in gym memberships. Come January, the number of people running, jogging, and walking increases ten fold as they try to stick to their resolution of knocking off the extra pounds gained during the holiday season.

People resort to exhausting walks, strenuous exercises, and dieting to get back into shape. But following the norm blindly does not always help in weight loss. For example, if you go to the gym after work, and are too tired, you tend to skip the warm up routine, and start exercising vigorously. Vigorous exercise is harmful, as you will end up straining yourself unnecessarily. Similarly, by using incorrect exercising technique you will sprain your ankle or hurt your knees, and damage your body. As a result you will get frustrated and quit exercising altogether.

Vasanthi has helped many people lose weight without straining or causing any body harm. Her gentle and easygoing style not only benefits the body but also encourages students to be regular with their yoga practice, which is the key to losing weight. I was a visitor to one of her yoga session for seniors, and was amazed to see all of them so fit and flexible.

How to control and maintain weight?

Vasanthi explains, “Irregular or lack of exercise, bad eating habits along with stress causes weight problems. According to a study conducted by the Stanford Research Center, exercising regularly is very important to maintain weight. Even if it is only for a few minutes it is necessary to exercise daily.” Her students who are regular with their yoga practice for at least 15-20 minutes have been able to control their weight.

Bad eating habits cause obesity. It is important to control your diet and eat healthy. Avoid eating oily and fatty food, and food that has a high sodium content. Though salt is essential for a normal diet, too much salt also leads to obesity, among other things. When the salt intake is too high, you feel like drinking more water, and the body retains this water to balance the increased salt level. For example, when you eat potato chips, or any food that contains a lot of salt, it makes you thirsty and you crave water. Water retention in the body leads to increase in weight. Stress also causes constipation, which is one of the major factors that contribute to weight gain. You feel naturally hungry once the body eliminates all the waste. This stimulates the digestive glands in your body and the food gets better digested and assimilated. Thus the cycle goes on. But, if you have constipation then the cycle is broken.

Routines mentioned below are good for relieving stress, constipation, and muscle toning. Yoga postures along with deep breathing are not only beneficial to all the parts of the body but also help in weight loss. Vasanthi says, “There are four ways in which you can relieve constipation which in turn will also help you lose weight – By deep breathing, forward (and backward) bending, yoga postures, and eating nutritious food.”

Yoga postures help tone and balance the entire body. It is important to focus and be conscious of the particular body part being treated to enhance the healing power of the energy or prana. While dieting helps in short-term weight loss; long-term weight loss comes with balancing the mind, body and spirit.