Teaching Yoga Classes for Weight Loss: Calming Breathing Exercises

teaching yoga classesBy: Virginia Iversen, M.Ed

When we think about teaching Yoga classes that facilitate weight loss, we often think of vigorous Power Yoga routines or physically challenging Yoga practices performed in heated studios. These types of kramas or Yoga asana sequences certainly do help to boost students’ metabolisms, burn calories and expedite weight loss. However, it is also important to balance the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems of your students through a regular practice of pranayama exercises, in order to facilitate mental well-being and hormonal balance.


By balancing these different systems, your students will enjoy a greater sense of mental clarity, ease, energy, and well-being. In addition, their cortisol levels will come down, which will help to mitigate cravings for fat laden and calorie dense food. Feelings of anxiety and depression will also be alleviated by incorporating pranayama exercises into your classes, such as Nadi Shodhana Pranayama, that soothe and balance the nervous system. By bolstering both your students’ metabolisms and mental well-being, you will holistically support them in their weight loss goals.

* Nadi Shodhana Pranayama

When you are teaching Yoga classes, Nadi Shodhana Pranayama is a Yogic breathing exercise that is often practiced at the end of class and just prior to meditation and/or Shavasana. When you are ready to begin the pranayama instructions, invite your students to sit in Easy Seat on their Yoga mats. Begin by guiding your class to take three full, complete breaths. With their next inhale, have them place the index and middle finger of their right hand on the area between their eyebrows. Ask your students to gently close off their left nostril with the ring finger and little finger of the right hand, and then instruct your students to exhale slowly and completely for a count of five through their right nostril.


As they complete their exhale, instruct your Yoga students to inhale slowly and completely through their right nostril for a count of five. When they have completed their inhale, guide your students to pinch off their right nostril with the thumb of their right hand and exhale softly and slowly for a count of five through their left nostril. Continue In this way alternating nostrils for 5-10 rounds, and then have your students rest for a period of time in Shavasana. If time permits, you may wish to invite your students to spend a few minutes in meditation as you offer them a Yogic aphorism, spiritual teaching or contemplation.

© Copyright – Virginia Iversen Aura Wellness Center – Publications Division

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