Yoga For Obesity
27 Sep 2021 HYN Himalayan Yoga Academy
Obesity means excessive body weight. This imposes unnecessary strain on the body`s various physiological systems, especially the heart, circulatory , respiratory and eliminative systems, and predisposes the person to the development of many serious metabolic diseases, including diabetes, hypertension, heart diseases and arthritis. In addition it leads to lowered vitality, mental dullness and depression.
The most common cause of obesity is overeating, pure and simple. The problem is not only too much food, but also that the wrong type of food is taken. A diet composed of excessive oil, spices, starches, sugars, and refined products leads to excess weight, while a diet based on natural grains, fruits, and vegetables leads one automatically towards correct body weight and optimal health.
Obesity typically occurs in two types ofo people. The first type is the competitive, passionate, acquisitive person who eats too much too quickly, using food as a channel to release pent-up mental energy, unfulfilled ambitions and desires. Here there is an excess of rajo guna, the activating principle in the personality. The second type is the household person who overeats out of boredom. Here there is an exceses of tamo guna, the principle of inertia. Where lethargy and dullness predominate. As people put on weight, they tend to become even less happy with themselves and their appearance, and thus eat still more. In general we can say that overeating is due to frustration, where unfulfilled creative energy becomes wrongly channeled into excessive desire for food.
All obese people suffer form glandular deficiency in that their endocrine gland cease to function correctly, leading to mental, emotional, and hormonal imbalance. A small number of obese people, however,suffer from a primary glandular disturbance or imbalance, usually of the thyroid, adrenal, or reproductive glands.
Treatment of obesity
Almost all people with obesity will return to a normal body weight and an inspired life if a daily program is followed and determination. The problem is that the obese individual needs inspiration and willpower. He or she needs to lift themselves out of a rut of habits and patterns based wrongly in food, and redirect their energies into more healthy, creative outlets. Yoga practice provides an excellent means for achieving this goal.
The tense rajasic overeater benefits especially from yoga nidra. He or she habitually sits to eat with a tense, preoccupied mind,takes an enormous meal wolshify without really relaxing, tasting and enjoying it at all. They should learn to relax for ten minutes in shavasana before each meal,dropping the mental preoccupations and relaxing the digestive and other bodily organs. In addition, an object of awareness while eating helps enormously. For example, one may follow a formula of filling the stomach one half with food, one quarter with water and one quarter empty, or one may fill the mind with the idea that with every piece of food placed into the mouth, one is feeding Agni, the diety of fire.”I am feeding Agni”. “This is the mouth of Agni”. This transforms eating into a form of medication and awareness, which automatically ensures a reduction in the amount of food consumed.
On the other hand the bored, tamasic overeater should be initiated into karma yoga, some mode of self-expression which will get him or her out of her kitchen, out of the house away from the constant temptation of food and into some more stimulating and useful activity. As other interests awaken, the obsession with food will fall away.
Holistic management of Obesity
- Asana: These are essential to remove blockages, liberate prana, revitalize the mind and activate the endocrine glands. Obese people should be encouraged to practice to their limit, but never to exhaustion. Let them practice with enjoyment, relaxation,and awareness, and their problems will fall away. It is not necessary to try to sweat off excess ppounds. This is not the way to lose weight. The obese person has poor stamina and willpower and will soon drop out of such a demanding and exhausting regime. Permanent loss of weight demands a total overhaul of the pranic energy structure of the body and mind.
Yogic Asanas For Obesity
- Chaturangadandasana – Plank pose
- Virabhadrasana – Warrior pose
- Trikonasana – Triangle pose
- Adho Mukha Svanasana – Downward Dog pose
- Sarvangasana – Shoulder stand
- Sethu Bandha Sarvangasana – Bridge pose
- Parivrtta Utkatasana – Twisted Chair pose
- Dhanurasana – Bow pose
- Surya Namaskara – Sun Salutation
Asanas build up vitality slowly but surely. They rebalance the nervous and endocrine pathways gradually and effortlessly. In Yoga the slimming and rebalancing processs occurs on an altogether different level from the gymnastics program aimed at sweating off a few kilograms, at best a temporary measure. Weight will surely reaccumulate quickly unless the psychic and pranic energies are rebalanced and glandular mechanisms readjusted. Best practices are pawanmuktasana and the shakti bandha series, followed bu Surya Namaskara. Major asanas, especially useful in balancing the endocrine glands and spinal nerves, can be adopted after some months of daily practices of these simple ones.
- Pranayama: Bhramari and nadi Sodhana are especially useful in awakening diminished vitality. Excessive pranayama, which stimulates appetite, should be avoided. Mild bhastrika helps speed up the metabolism and reduce fat.
- Shatkarma: Kunjal and neti should be practiced daily, and poorna shankhaprakshalana should be practiced once guidance in an ashram. Laghoo shankhaprakshalana should continue once or twice weekly. These practices will relieve a clogged up and devitalized digestive system, overtaxed bowels, depleted liver and pancreas. As a result, long forgetten mental and physical lightness, increased vital energy and clarity of mind are experienced.
- Relaxation: Yoga Nidra is essential each day. A negative sankalpa(resolve) should not be adopted , as this is suppressive and may lead to overeating on the rebound. A positive resolve, in a form such as”My vitality is increasing daily” or “My creative energy is being liberated from food more and more each day” is a powerful means of overhauling a faulty, uninspired lifestyle.
- Diet: Fasting is not recommended for obese people as it is extremely difficult to maintain a proper fasting programs, free from the inevitable rebound be made wholesome with simple food, regular meal times and no snacks in between. Sugar , sweets, oils, spices, milk and milk products, rich and refined foods which overtax the liver,digestion and heart, should be vastly reduced, in flavor of whole grains, fruits and green vegetables.
The community needs to be educated on the importance of eating for hunger and physical need rather than for taste. The fashionable belief that a fat baby is a healthy one should be discarded, as this penalizes the child, leading to a weight problem in adolescence and later life. A child who lives on a house where frustration and creative energy are wrongly channeled into overeating develops into overeating develops a similar samskara and carries it into later life.
Diversion of the creative impulse and energies into eating leads to physical , mental and emotional heaviness and dullness. People with creative genius are very active and seldom obese. They are usually consumed with their work, often forgetting to eat in the process. Daily practice of yoga under guidance goes a long way towards rectifying wrong eating habits and towards the proper expression of instincts and desires in creative, inspiring, healthy ways.