Breathing for Weight Loss

Ok, I can see you scratching your head as you read the title, going, “Huh, breathing leading to weight loss? Pull the other one, it has bells on.” No joke, ladies, the right breathing techniques can help to lose weight, and what’s more, keep it off.

Want to know what Vidya Balan, Kareena Kapoor, Aishwarya Rai Bacchhan, Katrina Kaif, and Priyanka Chopra have in common? Well, apart from being super hot celebrities, of course.

They all do yoga, and they’re not the only ones. Many professional athletes are said to be doing it in an effort to improve their games.

Where do I learn how to do Yoga?

It is ironic that there are more Yoga teachers in the US than in India, but you need not let that be a stumbling block on your way to achieving that perfect figure for your wedding. Thanks to magic of the internet and Youtube, you don’t necessarily have to live near a yoga teacher in order to actually practice Yoga.

Yoga might not be the best option exercise wise if you want to lose weight quickly and mainly through exercising, but yoga can help you on your way to a slimmer and more toned body.  A 75 kg person will burn 150 calories in an hour of doing regular yoga, compared to 311 calories for an hour of walking at 3 miles per hour (or about 2.5 km per hour.) The reason why yoga is effective and so popular is that it increases mindfulness -- the ability to observe what is happening internally in a non-reactive fashion.

What is Pranayama?

If yoga increases mindfulness, then Pranayama (set of breathing techniques under Yoga) is the best way to gain the spiritual connection with your body so that you can co-exist in harmony. There are 7 basic pranayamas or breathing you must do before you start your yoga, enumerated below:

1.  Bhastrika Pranayama

2.  Kapala bhati Pranayama

3.  Bahiya Pranayama OR Agni Saar (if you cannot or should not do Bahiya)

4.  Anulom Vilom Pranayama

5.  Bhramari Pranayama

6.  Udhgeeth Pranayama

7.  Pranav Pranayama

First, download any pranayama guide from the Internet and watch a few videos on Youtube until you are familiar with all the pranayamas and can practice them from memory.

How does pranayama help me to lose weight?

According to their suitability for you, you can skip two or three. But do not skip the Bhastrika pranayama, Kapala bhati pranayama, and the Anulom Vilom pranayama. These three are the keys to reducing weight. Practicing these three breathing exercises for 1 hour each day will result in the loss of as much as 12 kilos in a month.

But don’t think of pranayama as a short term measure to help you lose weight and look toned for your wedding photos. Rather, think of it as a way of life. It will help you to introspect, thus helping you gain self knowledge and lead a calmer, healthier life.

Plus, those breathing techniques can come in handy for when the bloom is off the rose and you have your first household dispute with your hubby (or your mother-in-law, for that matter) !


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