You ask – What is an “Asana“?
Before I go on to explain its definition, let me first ask you a question. Heard of the “PLANK”? You already must know of the various benefits of the plank; apart from toning all of the core muscles of the body, including the abdomen, chest, and lower back. it strengthens the arms, wrists, and shoulders, and is often used to prepare the body for more challenging arm balances. It also strengthens the muscles surrounding the spine, which improves your posture.
Did you know that the “plank” posture originates from an age-old Asana called – Kumbhakasana? The name comes from the Sanskrit words “kumbhak,” which means “breath retention,” and “asana,” which means “pose”.
Let’s find out what an “Asana” really means…
Wikipedia defines an Asana as “a body posture, originally and still a general term for a sitting meditation pose, and later extended in hatha yoga and modern yoga as exercise, to any type of pose or position, adding reclining, standing, inverted, twisting, and balancing poses.” It goes on to explain that the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali define “asana” as a position that is steady and comfortable”. Patanjali mentions the ability to sit for extended periods as one of the eight limbs of his system.
So in short – ASANA = POSE
That out of the way, another thing that most of us seem to never get right is our weight! Did you know that there are certain body postures performed in some asanas in yoga that have been renowned to help you lose your extra kilos and an added benefit is a gain in your flexibility and agility. Not to mention, a very calm and relaxed state, due to the controlled deep breathing that is one of the key components to a good yoga workout.
The Rishis and Brahmans…(*Fun Fact – My dad’s lineage is from the Brahmin race!)…who originally developed the discipline of yoga documented their training in the Upanishads.
The discipline was based off 5 basic principles: Exercise + Diet + Breathing + Relaxation + Meditation
So let’s get on with it….here are my top 10 power yoga asanas to help you lose weight. Good luck and “Happy Yoga-ing!”
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Power Yoga Asana 1 – Surya Namaskar – The Sun Salutation
The Surya Namaskar helps you lose weight and attain a better digestive system. It promises glowing skin and ensures a regular menstrual cycle. It not only reduces blood sugar levels but also improves anxiety and helps your body detox.
Power Yoga Asana 2 – Dhanurasana – The Bow
The bow is an excellent back bending asana for increasing and regaining spinal strength and flexibility. It invigorates the internal organs, especially the digestive organs, therefore helping with constipation. It also stimulates the adrenal glands and the nervous system.
Power Yoga Asana 3 – Setu Bandhasana – The Bridge
This asana stretches the chest, neck, and spine while calming the brain and alleviating stress and mild depression. The bridge position also stimulates abdominal organs, lungs, thyroid and rejuvenates tired legs. It improves digestion and helps relieve symptoms of menopause and menstrual discomfort.
Power Yoga Asana 4 – Parivrtta Utkatasana – Twisted Chair pose
Parivrtta Utkatasana strengthens the mid and low back and increases flexibility throughout the spine. It also tones the internal organs, including the kidneys and digestive organs. This helps with detoxification, which improves your overall health. It also tones your thighs, buttocks, and hips.
Power Yoga Asana 5 – Adho Mukha Svanasana – The downward facing dog
The downward facing dog stretches out the back of the legs and the lower back and creates space between your vertebrae and between the shoulders. It decreases back pain by strengthening the entire back and shoulder girdle. There is also a decrease in tension and headaches by elongating the cervical spine and neck and relaxing the head.
Power Yoga Asana 6 – Trikonasana – The extended triangle
This asana helps to strengthen your legs, hips, back, ankles and knees. It also is good for digestion and helps burn fat. It reduces anxiety, stress, back pain and sciatica.
Power Yoga Asana 7 – Virabhadrasana I/II – Warrior pose I/II
Some of the benefits of the warrior pose are that it strengthens your shoulders, arms, legs, ankles and back. It also opens yours hips, chest and lungs. Improving focus, balance and stability, it encourages good circulation and respiration.
Power Yoga Asana 8 – Kumbhakasana/Chaturangadandasana – The Plank/Low plank
Apart from the benefits mentioned above, additionally the plank improves core definition and performance, while boosting your overall metabolism. It also improves overall balance and increases flexibility.
Power Yoga Asana 9/10 – Bitilasana + Marjariasana – The Cow +Cat pose
The Cat-Cow pose is a gentle flow between two poses that warms the body and brings flexibility to the spine. It stretches the back torso and neck, while stimulating and strengthening the abdominal cavity, the kidneys and the adrenal glands. It opens the chest and encourages slow, deep and relaxed breathing, therefore also calming the mind. The spinal movement of the two poses stimulates the kidneys and adrenal glands. When practiced regularly it correctly aligns the spinal column and helps prevent back pain.
So there you have it, my top 10 asanas to get you started on your healthy weight loss. To keep your motivation level at an all time high, also do check out my book : ASANAS (Available on Amazon Worldwide)
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