Column: Yogi Ashwani

Fighting Fat with the Power of Yoga

In this article I will talk about a few more asanas which are good for toning your abdominal area, thigh and calf muscles. Before we start always remember to breathe in ujjai and synchronise your movements with it. It is important to understand the reason for fat collection in the body from the yogic point of view. There are two very important purifications in Ashtang yoga in general, and the Sanatan Kriya in particular, non-collection and purity of thought. As the body is an inherent part of the universe, so it is also governed by the laws of nature, one of which is non-collection

If we look around in nature, wherever there is collection, an imbalance is going to develop—be it emotional (congested emotions) or physical (obesity). Thus excess weight in the physical body is a result of depression and symptoms like that of a bad stomach, insomnia, self pity, and suicidal tendency which ultimately result in heaviness in the body. Dieting and asanas in isolation do not help much. One must ensure they do not indulge in excesses. Don’t stop enjoying all the pleasures. Eat, drink and have fun but don’t hoard or collect anything. This is true in case of everything whether it is material or just our emotions. It is a fact that if you will keep more than what you need then it will cause congestion, which will then manifest in your physical body too in the form of a disease or obesity. 

We will understand this concept better with the help of simple experiment—inhale, and keep inhaling, try not to exhale at all. Can you hold on to the extra breath? No. Even though the breath is a very crucial aspect of life you cannot hold onto more breath than what is required by your body. So take only as much as you need.

Now we will move on to some more asanas for the abdominal muscles. 

Parvat Asana: Keep your feet apart and put your palms flat on the ground keeping your midriff raised forming a pyramidal shape. Again the knees should not be bent and there should be no unwanted curve in the back. This asana strengthens the muscles and nerves in the arms and legs and also tightens your abdominal muscles.

Ashtanga Namaskar Asana: Put your palms flat on the ground. Then bending your elbows slowly bring your body close to the ground keeping it raised and parallel to the surface doing a single push up. This asana strengthens the arm and leg muscles and gives a stretch to the stomach too.

Bhujang Asana: Resting your body on the ground, hands at the sides of shoulders, palms flat on the ground with elbows close to your body, raise the torso looking up. This asana not only tones the spinal nerves but also improves digestion, thereby stopping fat accumulation. 

In addition to these asans including fenugreek in your diet helps remove the fat. The beneficial enzymes in fenugreek aid in the digestion of fat, carbohydrates, sugar and proteins. The most nutritive way to eat fenugreek is to have it in the form of sprouts. The water in which seeds are soaked can also be consumed. Young leaves can be added to sandwiches and salads too.

—The writer Yogi Ashwini Ji is the head of Dhyan Foundation, Delhi.
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September 2008

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