Yoga Pose Transitions for Weight Loss

yoga pose transitionsBy Faye Martins

What are Yoga pose transitions? Can Yoga pose transitions create circumstances for weight loss? Here’s the hard truth: Yoga pose transitions are the movements between asanas and movement creates an ideal situation for burning calories. This is not a miracle. This is the same situation we create when we walk, swim, bike, or move our bodies. That said, flowing movements such as: Vinyasa and the movements we see in Kundalini-based Yoga classes are perfect for burning calories. Let’s dig into the research, laugh at a few myths, and look at what we can do to live a healthy lifestyle.

 

Yoga for Weight Loss

A regular, moderate to vigorous practice of Yoga will help to boost your metabolism, burn calories and drop unwanted pounds. Practicing Yoga poses regularly will also help to detoxify your organs, balance your nervous system and increase muscle tone and flexibility. There are many different styles from which to choose. These styles range from deeply relaxing, restorative sequences to vigorous, flowing Power Yoga workouts that really burn calories and strengthen all of the major muscle groups in the body.

In order to burn calories, increase muscle mass and tone your body, a more active and strenuous practice is recommended. Flowing styles, such as Power, Vinyasa, Kundalini, and Ashtanga, are all great ways to increase your heart rate, burn calories and increase muscle tone. One of the ways to increase the effectiveness of vinyasa-based practices is to incorporate strengthening movements into the transitions between poses. In the Yoga world, this is known as “working in the transitions.”

 

Working in the Transitions

For example, one very easy way to add a strengthening and toning movement into the transition between Downward Facing Dog and various standing poses is to practice leg raises as you move into the next standing asana from Downward Facing Dog. In fact, Downward Facing Dog is one of the key Yoga poses of the Sun Salutation. The Sun Salutation is a great sequence for becoming aware of Yoga pose transitions. There are many variations which are available on streaming video or at your local Yoga studio.

 

Leg Raises in Downward Facing Dog

When you are in Downward Facing Dog, shift your weight to your left foot and with an inhale, raise your right leg to hip height with your toes pointing towards your mat. With your next exhale, bring your right knee to the outside of your right elbow. Hold for a moment, and then raise your right leg back up to hip height. Repeat this movement two more times and synchronize movement with your breath before placing your right foot on the mat in front of you in order to move into the next standing asana.

Repeat this strengthening movement three times on each side just prior to entering into the next standing pose in the sequence of poses you are practicing. Over time, you will find that this strengthening movement “in the transition” will very effectively tone and strengthen your legs, buttocks, back, arms and shoulders. The increased rigor of this additional strengthening movement will also enhance the cardiovascular and metabolic benefits of your Yoga practice.

 

Myths and Facts

I don’t want you to think Yoga pose transitions are the latest and greatest wave on the weight loss circuit. The reason why Yoga has caught the attention of medical science and fitness fields is within the research. Low impact physical movements put less stress on the muscles, joints, connective tissue, and bones, but the idea of burning calories with asanas or Yoga pose transitions has thrown many industries into a state of rage.

When doctors started recommending Yoga to their patients, that hurt the bottom line for sales of supplements and pills. If you like conspiracies, here’s some food for thought: It is possible that the backlash against Yoga’s popularity is a carefully constructed smear campaign by big business, skeptics, and dark money, which wants to maintain a status quo of pill popping and sitting on the couch for life.

On the Other Hand

Some people just flatly state: “Yoga is a fad and all this weight loss nonsense is hype to put money in the hands of the Yoga industry.” There is a steadfast no pain – no gain belief in the court of public opinion.

 

Back to Reality

Everyone loves a conspiracy, the court of public opinion, and a sprinkle of inaccurate facts, but let’s review Yoga pose transitions for weight loss. On paper they should work to a limited degree. So, what does the research actually say? It looks like the Yoga lifestyle is the cause of good news. As you practice over time, you become constantly aware of everything, such as: Eating habits, daily exercise, and handling stress. The habits created with a healthy Yogic lifestyle tend to stay with us for life.

So, what’s the big deal? Most people live on auto-pilot and their lifestyles contain bad habits. When you visit the doctor’s office, they always ask: “Do you smoke?” You probably think, “Who smokes anymore?” If you walk around the back of every medical lounge, you see a pile of cigarette butts on the ground. The staff that weighs you, and gives you a frown, as they total the weight of your coat and shoes isn’t practicing their Yoga pose transitions. If you eat right and exercise you are in the minority, which might result in moderate weight loss, and we should pack light when going to a weigh in at the doctor’s office.

All laughing and silly dark humor aside, Yoga pose transitions burn unwanted calories, but pranayama, meditation, and mantra practice create a harmonious situation for weight management. Research shows that healthy sleep, coping with stress, proper posture, and breathing at a controlled pace, create ideal circumstances for controlling body weight.

 

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