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Yoga, Women, & Weight

    Summary: Why yoga is an excellent co-therapy for supporting a holistic weight loss program. Specific poses and natural weight-control tips are included.

    Different Than Diets

    If you think that self-deprivation and sweating on a treadmill is the only way to control your weight, or if you're fed-up with fad diets and pills, and the roller-coaster effect of losing and re-gaining pounds, it's time to look at the weight healing benefits of yoga. Although not traditionally used for weight-loss, the regular practice of yoga helps your body find its optimal weight through systemic conditioning. The emphasis is on health, not thinness. In yoga, feeling good immediately - from stretching, deep breathing, and relaxing -translates into looking good eventually. By taking a gradual, metabolic approach to weight normalization, yoga avoids the rebound effect and other dangers of crash weight-loss programs. Yoga is not an aerobic/cardiovascular workout, but it promotes heart and lung health and development, and is thoroughly compatible with all other athletic activities. Weight is more than an appearance issue for women. Life-threatening diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, and colon and breast cancer are all linked to excess fat in the system. Yoga is an excellent prevention and/or remedy for many such life-style-related illnesses.

    How Yoga Controls Weight

    The quintessential holistic self-care strategy, yoga works on several levels simultaneously to create one's ideal body shape and weight.

    PHYSICALLY, yoga

  • promotes muscle tone
  • stimulates the glands and balances hormones
  • increases oxygen intake - for burning calories
  • boosts circulation
  • increases metabolic efficiency - burns fat easier

    BEHAVIORALLY

  • Yoga reduces stress - a common trigger for overeating.
  • Relaxation becomes the preferred substitute for the "comfort" of compulsive consumption.
  • The sense of discipline in the name of health carries over to you food choices.

    PSYCHO-SPIRITUALLY

    Doing yoga poses is by nature an introspective pursuit, and meditation has always been a vital component of the practice. Developing self-reflection can reveal the underlying causes of food abuse and lack of exercise. Yoga is self-empowering. It teaches you to care for and celebrate your body, It builds self-acceptance, self-image, and self-esteem, through the satisfaction of personal improvement. Even if you take a yoga class just to lose weight, you may be pleasantly surprised to find that the practice has enhanced many other aspects of your life.

    Yoga Positions for Weight Management*

  • Seated spinal twist
  • Boat (belly crunch)
  • Locust (abdominal toner)
  • Lunge (massages internal organs)
  • Widespread Standing Forward Bend
  • Downward-Facing Dog (inversion for digestion)
  • Side Angle
  • Warrior
  • Tree (balance for overall muscle tone)

    Yoga Weight Loss Tips:

  • Take the long view. Go slowly. Stay in your comfort zone, but don't be lazy. Do your best everyday.
  • Start in a chair if preferred or necessary.
  • Always modify the poses to suit your aptitude.
  • Practice the passive "restorative" poses first: Corpse, baby, supported fish, suppine spinal twist, etc.
  • For support and reach, use pillows, bolsters, blocks and straps.
  • Don't go by numbers of pounds on the scale; go by how you feel and improve every day.
  • Practice healthy habit substitution: Sun Salutes instead of snacks!

    *Yoga Journal, Dec. 2000, Why Yoga Works When Diets Often Fail pg. 78.

    � Lonny J. Brown, Ph.D. is the author of Enlightenment in Our Time, Lonny Brown, Self-Actuated Healing, and Meditation - Beginners Questions & Answers, Self Help Guides. He is also a regular contributor to America Online's Alternative Medicine Forum (AOL keyword, AltMed), Holistic.com and many other progressive health Web sites. He teaches Mind/Body Healing, Stress Management, Yoga and Meditation at hospitals, schools, and businesses throughout the US., and offers holistic health counseling by email, phone, and in person in the Monadnock region of New Hampshire, USA. Dr. Brown's web site also features essays, tapes, books, and links to a variety of integrative health sources as well as Enlightenment web sites. ENLIGHTENMENT PROJECTS
    21 Jaquith Rd.
    Harrisville, NH 03450 USA
    www.holistic.com/lonny
    lonny@holistic.com
    lonnybrown@aol.com
    ph/fax (603) 827-3555