I once had a woman student whose life was closing down because of obesity and arthritis as she could not be mobile or active. She began her yoga classes sitting on a sofa and just about doing the limbering up and some simple movements. Within three months she was off the sofa and doing some more yoga on the mat and within six months, she had nicely lost weight around her chin, neck, arms, waist and legs. Her arthritis and knee pain also disappeared. She was back to normal active life and started attending her singing classes for which she could now sit down.
She is an example of how yoga works systematically on your BMI to get you into good shape using only your body to achieve this. Yoga works against gravity at many levels. Its aim is to lift you to higher planes beyond the realms of our solar system. Thus, keeping you light in every way is programmed into the practice. A dedicated practice of yoga with some good diet helps get rid of belly fat. Besides the aesthetics, belly fat can give you back problems, diabetes, BP and affect the heart.
Below are suggestions for a daily regime of asanas but along with this, it is advisable to do full body cleansing at least once a month till you have got rid of your extra fat. This yogic method of body cleansing is called Shankprakshalan.
We will start with sitting asanas, then lying on your back, finally standing up asanas, ending with Suryanamaskar followed by shavasna and lastly pranayama.
1. Chakkichalasana (Mill grinding action): This asana imitates the motions of grinding traditional atta chakki that used to be there in all homes. Sit with your legs stretched out in front of you. Relax the whole body. Interlock fingers, keep your legs apart from each other, almost as if, there is the grinding stone between them. Then, keep your elbow straight and arms in line with your shoulders in front of you. Take a deep breath and move back as much as possible without losing balance.
Then moving to the right with the arms straight, bend forward so that your arms pass over the right leg toes, then move it over the left leg toes, then again back to starting position. Continue this circular movement without a break as if churning the imaginary chakki between your legs. This makes one round. Do five rounds in a clockwise direction and five rounds in an anti-clockwise direction.
Awareness must be on the breathing rhythm and effect of the movement on the hip and abdomen areas. Good for toning excess fat in the hip and stomach area.
2. Naukachalasana (Boat rowing): Continue sitting in the same pose with legs stretched out before you and arms in a position as if holding oars of a boat.
Inhale deep and as you exhale, bend forward from the waist with arms stretched in front like the action of rowing a boat. Then as you inhale, lean back as far as possible, pulling the arms back, completing one cycle of moving the imaginary oars from back to front. This is one round. Do five rounds in one direction and five rounds in the opposite direction starting with going back first and then bending forward.
Awareness must be on the breathing and feel the impact on the pelvis and abdomen. It is helpful in relieving constipation problems.
3. Gatyatmakmeruvakrasna (Dynamic spine-twisting ): Continue to sit relaxed with legs stretched out in front of you but separated as far apart as is comfortably possible. Your arms are stretched out at the side in line with the shoulders.
Take a deep breath and as you exhale, twist your body at the waist, so that your right hand reaches out or touches the left big toe, the left arm is stretched out behind you and you are looking at the back of the finger tips of your left hand. Thus your whole body is aligned in one straight line. This ensures a full body twist. Then inhale, come back to the center. As you exhale, twist to the other side, with your left hand reaching out for the right big toe and the right arm stretched back and head twisted back, looking at the finger tips of the right arm. This completes one round. Do five rounds.
Asanas lying down on your back
1. Padutthanasana (Leg-raising pose): Lie down on your back, with legs about a foot apart, hands by the side of the body, and relax your whole body.
Inhale deep, then as you exhale, without taking support of your palms or arms, lift your right leg up slowly as much as possible keeping the knee straight. Initially, you may not be able to bring the leg up to 90 degrees to the body but with practice this will be the final position you have to get it to. Hold at 90 degrees as long as possible and then as you inhale slowly, bring down the leg. Do the same with the left leg and then with both legs together.
Be mindful about letting the stomach muscles do all the work and not taking support of hands or arms in lifting the legs says Kamini Bobde (Express photo)
Be mindful about letting the stomach muscles do all the work and not taking support of hands or arms in lifting the legs. It tones up the stomach muscle and regulates the digestive system. Those with back problems must first do the practices for lower back.
Those with back problems must first do the practices for lower back, says Kamini Bobde (Express photo)
2. Padachakrasana (Leg rotation): This asana was popularized by Ramdev Baba for weight reduction. In the lying down position, raise your right leg a little above the ground. Then rotate the leg in full circular movement, first in clockwise direction for 5-10 rounds and then in anti-clockwise direction for 5-10 rounds.
Do the same with the left leg and then with both legs together. Again see that you don’t take support of your arms or palms but let the stomach muscles do all the work. This is a sure shot way of reducing flab around the stomach. But progress slowly. be patient.
standing up asanas
Tadasana (Spine stretching pose): Stand with feet a little apart, interlock fingers and raise the arms over the head with the palms turned upwards. Look at some point at eye level to keep better balance, then inhale and stand on your toes. Stretch your arms up maximum, giving your body full stretch from the toes, the spine and arms. Then slowly come back to the starting position with exhalation. This is one round.
Suryanamaskar: The 12 poses are easily available anywhere and do not need a detailed description. Start with a couple of rounds and build it up to a minimum of 10 rounds.
Shavasana (Dead body pose): Always follow up your Suryanamaskar practice with shavasana, a full body relaxation practice for 3-5 minutes. Of course, don’t miss out on your pranayama.
For quick and best results, avoid too many carbohydrates, sugar, refined food, fast food, potatoes, fried stuff, spicy food and so on. Increase intake of proteins, fibers and be aware of what suits your system. Keep one third of your stomach empty. Drink sufficient water throughout the day.
Kamini Bobde is a Kundalini practitioner who follows the Swami Satyananda Saraswati tradition of yoga. She is the author of Kundalini Yoga for All: Unlock the Power of Your Body and Brain. Published by Penguin