“True yoga is not about the shape of your body, but the shape of your life. Yoga is not to be performed; it is to be lived. Yoga doesn’t care about what you have been; it cares about the person you are becoming. Yoga is designed for a vast and profound purpose, and for it to be truly called yoga, its essence must be embodied.” — Aadil Palkhivala, Fire of Love

The habit of practising yoga regularly can help you develop muscles and improve your metabolic rate, which in turn will aid weight loss One study found that yoga was effective in helping overweight individuals to lose weight, including abdominal fat.

If you have already made efforts to lose weight and yet,  you can’t keep to a diet for more than a few weeks and you are desperately looking for exercises that will help you lose fat, yoga can definitely help you develop strategies for sustained weight loss.

If you are wondering how Yoga can aid your weight loss goal, then do not go too far. As you continue to read this article, you will find out all you need to know about yoga for weight loss.

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Some Numbers on Overweight People in Nigeria

Obesity is a major health problem, and there is an increasing trend of overweight and obese individuals in developing countries. A Nigerian health technology company said obesity had become an increasing health concern for many people in sub-Saharan Africa.

One research conducted showed that nearly a third of Nigerian women were either overweight or obese in 2018 and this was up from the figure registered in 2013, when about just under a quarter of them (24.7%) was considered overweight or obese.

In Nigeria, the prevalence of overweight individuals ranged from 20.3%-35.1%, while the prevalence of obesity ranged from 8.1%-22.2%.  The conclusion was therefore that the prevalence of overweight and obese individuals in Nigeria is of epidemic proportions.

Sedentary lifestyle and obesity in Nigeria
A sedentary lifestyle is one of the leading causes of obesity worldwide. Source: Unsplash

Despite campaigns to help fight obesity, it continues to be on the rise. The WHO suggests a minimal physical activity corresponding to 10,000 steps a day - which most Nigerians never come close to. The most troubling element is that young people are the most affected by this inactivity.

Obesity generally results from a chronic imbalance between energy intake (calories) and expenditure. Fast food, saturated fats, repacked meals and a sedentary lifestyle is one of the major causes of obesity and overweight individuals in Nigeria.

Obesity is associated with one of the leading causes of some ailments and death in Nigeria and worldwide. The Ailments include diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke, and some types of cancer.

So how can you lose weight and burn fat if you don’t like doing sports? Well, yoga can be a good alternative if you want to lose fat in your thighs and hips and work toward your ideal weight. Why not give it a trial.

Discover different yoga classes on Superprof.

Can Yoga Help You Lose Weight?

This is of course the most common question people ask when they start an exercise routine or a diet...will I lose weight? Well, the newer to your question is yes. However, consistency and dedication are what can only take you thus far in achieving your goals.

I also need to ask you: Do you want to lose weight or do you need to lose weight? These two questions sound alike but do not mean the same thing. The first question of Do you want to lose weight is probably a desire of wanting to look a  certain way probably influenced by society dictate s on what is considered sexy and model-like. The second is a major health issue. You need to lose weight because your health is at risk.

The sure way to know if you have to lose weight is by calculating your BMI. There are several sites out there for this purpose and Dano Milk Nigeria has a free BMI calculator for people interested in knowing their BMI.

Here is the official classification of the WHO (World Health Organisation):

  • Less than 16: anorexia or malnutrition
  • Between 16.5 and 18.5: thin
  • Between 18.5 and 25: normal weight
  • Between 25 and 30: overweight
  • Between 30 and 35: moderate obesity (class 1)
  • Between 35 and 40: high obesity (class 2)
  • More than 40: massive or morbid obesity (class 3)

If your BMI ranges between 18.5 and 25, then your weight is normal but if your BMI is is higher than 25, you are overweight. It is strongly advised to consult with a nutritionist or a doctor if you are overly overweight so you can understand where your excess weight is coming from and remedy it.

A very important aspect when trying to lose weight is pleasure and consistency. If you don’t enjoy practising yoga, you won’t be motivated, you will keep skipping your yoga sessions which means you won’t attain your weight-loss goals. Yoga is much more than a simple physical exercise. It helps tone and sculpts your body and is also very useful for achieving a flat stomach.

Yoga classes in lagos, Abuja, Nigeria
Taking yoga classes can help with toning you your legs, arms, abs and also aid in weight loss. Source: Unsplash

It is important to note that that yoga session alone wouldn't be enough if you are very obese and need to lose weight fast. You will need an activity with cardio elements to help burn your fat reserves fast. However, Yoga can help relieve stress, make you sleep better and help you learn to feel good in your body so that change can come from within.

It is important to note that having a good sleep also helps with your weight loss journey. People who find it difficult to sleep may find it hard to lose weight. Though Yoga cannot make you lose weight fast, the benefits of yoga for losing stomach fat, building (abs) abdominal muscles, improving all-around muscle tone and reducing cellulite cannot be overemphasized.

The combination of a healthy balanced diet and the consistency with the benefits provided by yoga can lead to significant results in your weight loss goals over time.

With your mat on the floor and a yoga instructor from www. superprof.ng, you are on your way to achieving your weight loss goals.

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Yoga Styles And Poses For Weightloss

There are several different types of yoga. All forms of yoga are based on deep breathing and harmony between mind and body. Yoga styles are also good for eliminating toxins and teaching you to listen to your body and its signals for hunger and fullness.

Many of the poses also help regulate our metabolism which is a great way to kick start that weight loss journey. If you want to lose weight quickly then you have to do your yoga routines daily.

Together with a healthy diet with lots of fruits and vegetables, fibre and some little healthy fats, yoga can help lose weight and especially stomach fat which is especially difficult to lose.

There are so many yoga poses particularly good at burning stomach fat and aiding weight loss. However, we shall be discussing just a few below. Please if you are unsure of your ability to do them, consult a yoga specialist who will teach you how to do them without injuring yourself.

Upward Dog Pose

An upward dog is a great pose for engaging your upper body, since your arms, shoulders, and back will all need to work together. It is a great pose to stretch your chest and abs.

How to do the pose:

  • Begin lying flat on your stomach. Bend your elbows and bring your hands next to your chest so your forearms are perpendicular to the floor. Draw your shoulder blades together.
  • Press the inner edges of your hands into the floor and slightly backwards as if you were trying to pull your lower spine out of your pelvis. Start to lift your torso off the floor, keeping your legs straight and strong.
  • Inhale and lift your torso further while raising your hips and thighs off the floor. Tilt your head back slightly, but not so far that you compress the back of your neck. Keep your arms straight and legs strong, pressing through the tops of your feet.

Dhanurasana (Bow pose)

This yoga pose reinforces the abdominal wall. It activates the digestive system and is a good way to stretch your back.

How to do the pose:

  • Lie down on your stomach with your legs stretched out
  • Bend your knees and grasp your ankles with your hands
  • On the inhale, raise your head while looking in front of you (to reduce the stress on your spine) and raise your legs as high as they will go
  • Maintain this pose for two full breaths, breathing normally
  • On the exhale, bring your body back to the original position
  • Repeat 5 times with a 15 second rest period between each repeat.

Kumbhakasana (The plank)

The most beloved and well-known of poses to keep a flat stomach and tone your whole body. It sculpts arms, shoulders, back, buttocks and thighs.

the plank yoga style in Lagos gym
Doing the plank pose regularly helps with achieving a flat tummy and toning your whole body. Grab a mat and get those dream abs. Source: Unsplash

How to do the pose:

  • Lie down on your stomach
  • Place your hands on either side of your shoulders and push against the ground
  • Your hands must remain under your shoulders, your body should form a straight line from the top of your skull to the tips of your toes
  • Careful not to arch your back
  • Remain in this position as long as you can while breathing normally
  • Release the pose on an exhale

Naukasana (Boat Pose)

This is another pose that works fabulously on your side and front tummy muscles and strengthens your core. It is great for a flat tummy and also good for the digestive system and strengthens the back and legs.

How to do the pose:

  • Lie down on your back with your legs stretched out before you
  • While inhaling, raise your legs, keeping them straight
  • Grasp your legs with your hands around your calves (or your knees if that’s too difficult)
  • Make sure you keep your back straight and your abdominal muscles tight to avoid injury
  • Breathe normally and keep the pose for two full breaths
  • On an exhale, return to your original position
  • Repeat 5 times with a 15 second rest period between each repeat.

If you are consistent with practising some of these poses regularly, you should start seeing results soon.

Getting A Yoga Specialist To Help You Lose Weight

You can of course do yoga yourself at home. However, if you are just starting you may need a little professional help.

Why Hire A Yoga Specialist?

Hiring a yoga-oriented sports coach can be a good solution if you need to:

  • Lose stomach fat
  • Lose thigh fat
  • Lose arm fat
  • Lose weight on your hips
  • Lose weight in your buttocks
  • Tone your upper thighs
  • Lose weight in your face
  • Reduce cellulite

Let us take a look at some of the advantages of hiring a yoga specialist:

  • A personal trainer specialising in yoga can help you with more intense physical activities to complement your yoga lessons. If he or she decides you need more energetic physical exercises to lose weight fast, they can give you advice on other sports in addition to yoga.
  • If you can, make sure your personal trainer also has a good knowledge of nutrition. So he or she can give you advice on how to eat healthy to lose weight based on their experience with other clients.
  • A yoga specialist will be a good motivator for you. Days you do not feel like it, they would be there to push and motivate you to ensure you do the exercises.

Additional tips for losing weight:

  • Eat a high protein breakfast
  • Green tea is an excellent anti-oxidant
  • Green vegetables are low in fat
  • Take lots of fruits and avoid sugary drinks. Take more natural fruit juices.
  • White meat is leaner than red meat
  • Drink water frequently
  • Get enough sleep daily
  • Eat lots of fibre foods to keep you full
  • Eat fewer carbs and more protein
  • Transition to intermittent fasting
  • Move your body to avoid staying sedentary all day. Always take a break to move around at least 5 minutes every hour if possible.
  • Plan your meals daily to avoid falling back on junk and fast foods.

A little closing note:

  • Yoga is not a magic wand that will magically let you lose weight - but it is useful for toning your body and muscling it evenly. It will help you manage stress and let go of your negative thoughts.
  • Weight loss is not the only advantage to practising yoga.

The benefits of yoga are numerous:

1. Become more flexible
2. Manage stress
3. Learn to meditate
4. A physical activity you can do at home
5. Increased concentration

Read up:

Tips From A Yoga Specialist On How To De-Stress Yourself.

Fertility Yoga: What You Should Know About Yoga And Fertility

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Oyin

I am a creative freelancer and fashion designer who loves to travel, explore and meet new people.