You have swayed your hips from side to side in a belly dance class, thrust your pelvis in and out during Zumba and jumped up and down countless times in step aerobics. Is the scale still not budging?
We have a suggestion – enroll in a yoga course. Yes, you read that right. But isn’t yoga too slow (and boring!) for weight watchers? It is true that doing asanas to soft instrumental music will not make you burn 500 calories an hour like spinning. It will, however, boost your metabolism and therefore give your body the ability to burn fat faster, perhaps even more than that spinning class.
Metabolism is the process by which your body converts food into energy. Yoga’s breathing techniques improve one’s oxygen intake and warm up the body. This increases the speed of metabolism. The ancient exercise form also stimulates and strengthens our endocrine organs, revving up the metabolic rate further. Moreover, the poses are designed to melt fat deposits by stretching, compressing and twisting the body.
So grab a mat and start off with these simple asanas:
1. Plow Pose
Also known as Halasana
This position increases circulation in the thyroid, adrenal and pituitary glands, leading to a release of feel-good endorphins and hormones which balance the metabolic system. It also gives a good stretch to your glutes and lowers back.
How to Lie on your back and lift your legs straight up towards the ceiling. Keep your arms on the sides of your body with your palms down. Press onto your hands and lift your legs over your head. Try to touch the floor behind your head. Hold for a few seconds and repeat.
2. Shoulder Stand
Also known as Salamba Sarvangasana
The “queen of all asanas” will turn your world upside down and get your stubborn fat cells moving. During this pose, blood rushes to your upper body, delivering a good dose of oxygen to your heart and brain as well as nourishing the thyroid gland which regulates the body’s metabolism. Yoga makes it easier to lose weight with thyroid.
How to Lie on your back with your arms alongside your body. Lift your legs up till they are at 90 degrees, toes pointing at the ceiling. Hold the position for as many seconds as possible.
3. Twisted Chair
Also known as Parivrtta Utkatasana
Bending your body in unusual ways wakes up your internal organs and aids in digestion. A good digestive system is the backbone of good metabolism.
How to Stand with your feet together. Bend your knees and lower your hips as if you were sitting in a chair far behind you. Bring your palms together in front of your chest. Rotate your spine and bring your right elbow to your left knee. Hold for 30 seconds and switch sides.
4. Crescent Lunge Pose
Also known as Anjaneyasana
This asana speeds up metabolism by increasing the heart rate. It’s also good for strengthening the legs and opening up the pelvic area, making it most beneficial for those who sit long hours at work.
How to Stand on the mat. Step back with one leg and keep the heel lifted with weight on the ball of the foot. Position the other leg far ahead so that when you bend your knee, it stays over the foot not extending past it. Balancing on the ball of the foot at the back, lower your body down and then lift your arms up towards the sky. Look straight ahead or up if your neck feels comfortable. Stay in the posture for 15-30 seconds, then relax and change legs.
5. Bridge Pose
Also known as Setu Bandha Sarvangasana
The thyroid glands get a massage during this pose and release hormones that kickstart one’s metabolism.
How to Lie on your back with your knees bent and position your feet flat on the floor hip-width apart. Slide the arms alongside the body and lightly touch your heels with your fingertips. Press your feet into the floor, inhales and lift your hips upward. Keep your arms underneath you and try to clasp your hands together. Hold this pose for 45 to 60 seconds and slowly lie flat again. Repeat a few more times.
6. Skull shining breathing
Also known as Kapalbhati Pranayam
Finish your yoga routine with five minutes of Baba Ramdev’s favourite breathing exercise. This technique can stimulate the functioning the endocrine organs which impact the metabolic rate.
How to Sit on the floor with folded legs. Keep the spine straight, close your eyes and place your palms on your knees. Now take a deep breath and exhale through your nose while pulling your stomach in towards your spine. Loosen your stomach muscles while breathing in and contract them again while exhaling. Continue at an easy pace.
Apart from these poses, you can also try these expert-backed poses to increase your metabolism!