“Yoga means addition – addition of energy, strength and beauty to body, mind and soul.”
What are Yoga Asanas or Yoga Poses?
A Yoga Asana or yoga pose is a body posture that is performed to benefit both body and mind. The concept of Yoga is not something new in our culture, our ancestors are performing it for ages. And now more people start to realize its importance and start doing it. Studies have found that yoga asanas can help one in weight loss, get more flexibility, shoot up the health of the heart and digestion and many more.
A 2016 study suggested that people who develop mindfulness through a yoga practice may be better able to resist unhealthy foods and comfort eating. They may also become more in tune with their body so that they notice when they’re full.
Yoga is thought to be especially beneficial for people who are struggling to lose weight in other ways as well.
A study from 2017 reported that mindfulness training has positive short-term benefits regarding impulsive or binge eating and physical activity. There was no significant effect on weight loss directly, but it’s thought that weight loss is associated with longer periods of mindfulness training. Further studies are needed to expand on these findings.
Since you’re advised not to practice yoga on a full stomach, you are likely to make healthy eating choices before doing yoga. After a yoga session, you may be more likely to crave fresh, unprocessed foods. You may also learn to chew each bite more thoroughly and eat more slowly, which can lead to less consumption.
Benefits of Yoga Asanas
Practicing yoga asanas or poses helps control an individual’s mind, body, and soul. It brings together physical and mental disciplines to achieve a peaceful body and mind; it helps manage stress and anxiety and keeps you relaxed. Yoga also helps in increasing flexibility, muscle strength and body tone. It improves respiration, energy and vitality. Practicing asanas might seem like just stretching, but it can do much more for your body from the way you feel, look and move.
Below, we have compiled a comprehensive list of yoga asanas or poses that will help keep your mind and body healthy and fit.
9 Benefits of Yoga
- Yoga improves strength, balance and flexibility.
Slow movements and deep breathing increase blood flow and warm up muscles, while holding a pose can build strength.
Try it: Tree Pose
Balance on one foot, while holding the other foot to your calf or above the knee (but never on the knee) at a right angle. Try to focus on one spot in front of you, while you balance for one minute.
- Yoga helps with back pain relief.
Yoga is as good as basic stretching for easing pain and improving mobility in people with lower back pain. The American College of Physicians recommends yoga as a first-line treatment for chronic low back pain.
Try it: Cat-Cow Pose
Get on all fours, placing your palms underneath your shoulders and your knees underneath your hips. First, inhale, as you let your stomach drop down toward the floor. Then, exhale, as you draw your navel toward your spine, arching your spine like a cat stretching.
- Yoga can ease arthritis symptoms.
Gentle yoga has been shown to ease some of the discomfort of tender, swollen joints for people with arthritis, according to a Johns Hopkins review of 11 recent studies.
- Yoga benefits heart health.
Regular yoga practice may reduce levels of stress and body-wide inflammation, contributing to healthier hearts. Several of the factors contributing to heart disease, including high blood pressure and excess weight, can also be addressed through yoga.
Try it: Downward Dog Pose
Get on all fours, then tuck your toes under and bring your sitting bones up, so that you make a triangle shape. Keep a slight bend in your knees, while lengthening your spine and tailbone.
- Yoga relaxes you, to help you sleep better.
Research shows that a consistent bedtime yoga routine can help you get in the right mindset and prepare your body to fall asleep and stay asleep.
Try It: Legs-Up-the-Wall Pose
Sit with your left side against a wall, then gently turn right and lift your legs up to rest against the wall, keeping your back on the floor and your sitting bones close to the wall. You can remain in this position for 5 to 15 minutes.
- Yoga can mean more energy and brighter moods.
You may feel increased mental and physical energy, a boost in alertness and enthusiasm, and fewer negative feelings after getting into a routine of practicing yoga.
- Yoga helps you manage stress.
According to the National Institutes of Health, scientific evidence shows that yoga supports stress management, mental health, mindfulness, healthy eating, weight loss and quality sleep.
Try It: Corpse Pose (Shavasana)
Lie down with your limbs gently stretched out, away from the body, with your palms facing up. Try to clear your mind while breathing deeply. You can hold this pose for 5 to 15 minutes.
- Yoga connects you with a supportive community.
Participating in yoga classes can ease loneliness and provide an environment for group healing and support. Even during one-on-one sessions loneliness is reduced as one is acknowledged as a unique individual, being listened to and participating in the creation of a personalized yoga plan.
- Yoga promotes better self-care.
Scientific Research on Yoga Benefits
The U.S. military, the National Institutes of Health and other large organizations are listening to — and incorporating — scientific validation of yoga’s value in health care.
Numerous studies show yoga’s benefits in arthritis, osteopenia, balance issues, oncology, women’s health, chronic pain and other specialties.
Types of Yoga Asanas or Yoga Poses and their benefits
The benefits of doing yoga are immense. Every single yoga pose has its own benefits and can-do wonders for your health to help you look and feel good.
It brings together physical and mental disciplines to achieve a peaceful body and mind; it helps manage stress and anxiety and keeps you relaxed. Yoga also helps in increasing flexibility, muscle strength and body tone. It improves respiration, energy and vitality.
The practice of yoga supports physical, mental, and spiritual development that allows you to create the best version of yourself.
Yoga may also be an effective tool to help you lose weight, especially the more active forms of yoga. And you may find that the awareness gained through a gentle, relaxing yoga practice helps you to lose weight as well.
Many experts agree that yoga works in different ways to bring about a healthy weight.
Yoga and mindfulness
The mental and spiritual aspects of yoga focus on developing mindfulness. This increases your awareness on many levels.
It can make you more conscious of how different foods affect your mind, body, and spirit.
Yoga and better sleep
Practicing yoga can help improve the quality of your sleep. You may find that you’re able to fall asleep more easily and sleep more deeply when you have a consistent yoga practice. Ideally, you should sleep between 6 and 9 hours each night.
Quality sleep is often associated with weight loss. A 2018 study found that people who had restricted sleep 5 times per week lost less fat than the group that followed their normal sleeping patterns. Both groups were limiting the number of calories they consumed, suggesting that sleep loss has an adverse effect on body composition, including fat loss.
Yoga nidra is a form of guided relaxation that may help you to sleep more deeply and increase mindfulness. You can also set intentions during yoga nidra, which may help you develop weight loss goals.
A small 2018 study found that healthcare workers who did yoga nidra for 8 weeks increased their levels of mindfulness. This mindfulness included acting with awareness and not judging inner experiences.
Their levels of sleepiness weren’t significantly different at the follow-up. However, this score improved the longer people did the practice. Larger, more in-depth studies are needed to expand on these findings.
Yoga and calorie burning
While yoga isn’t traditionally considered an aerobic exercise, there are certain types of yoga that are more physical than others.
Active, intense styles of yoga help you burn the most calories. This may help prevent weight gain. Ashtanga, vinyasa, and power yoga are examples of more physical types of yoga.
Vinyasa and power yoga are usually offered at hot yoga studios. These types of yoga keep you moving almost constantly, which helps you to burn calories.
Practicing yoga may also help you develop muscle tone and improve your metabolism.
While restorative yoga isn’t an especially physical type of yoga, it still may help in weight loss. One study found that restorative yoga was effective in helping overweight women to lose weight, including abdominal fat.
These findings are especially promising for people whose body weight may make more vigorous forms of yoga difficult.
Yoga may be Trusted Source a promising way to help with behavioral change, weight loss, and maintenance by burning calories, heightening mindfulness, and reducing stress. These factors may help you reduce food intake and become aware of the effects of overeating.
More in-depth studies are needed to expand on these findings.
How often should you do yoga to lose weight?
Practice yoga as often as possible in order to lose weight. You can do a more active, intense practice at least 3 to 5 times per week for at least 1 hour.
On the other days, balance out your practice with a more relaxing, gentle class. Hatha, yin, and restorative yoga classes are great options.
If you’re a beginner, start slowly — start with a 20-minute practice and build up from there. This allows you to build strength and flexibility and prevent injuries. Allow yourself 1 full day of rest each week.
Combine your yoga practice with activities such as walking, cycling, or swimming for added cardiovascular benefits.
As part of your routine, avoid weighing yourself directly after a yoga class, especially hot yoga, since you may lose water weight during the class. Instead, weigh yourself at the same time each day.
Poses to do at home
Here are a few yoga poses you can do at home if you don’t have time for a full session.
Do at least ten Sun Salutations. You can increase intensity by holding some of the positions for longer periods or by speeding up the pace.
Practicing several couple yoga poses has many visible benefits for your relationship. Couple Yoga strengthens your relations with your partner.
- Yoga is practiced for ages to bring peace, meet your inner self, and connect with your body. It helps to relax your mind and increase your self-confidence.
- Yoga has helped many people to meet themselves. It brings confidence, motivation, and focus to your body.
- Practicing different yoga postures helps you to bring balance within your body. It has many physical and mental benefits people are getting since early times.
- Traditionally, yoga is practiced alone. People preferred to practice their yoga sessions in peace, being all alone for better concentration and focus.
- There are many yoga sessions which help people to feel themselves and connect through their body. Many people enjoy practicing yoga and love the confidence they acquire after years of practicing.
- In recent times, people feel more encouraged and enthusiastic towards yoga while having a partner with them, known as Couple Yoga. Whether it be a friend, a family member, an acquaintance, or your soulmate.
- Practicing yoga postures together tends to build a new bond with them. Many people have stated that their relations have become stronger than before after doing yoga together.
By Amritesh Pathak