Breathe to Lose Weight. No Kidding!
Lose Weight by Breathing... Really!
The idea of losing weight might bring to mind eating a limited intake of calories and sweating through a daily vigorous exercise routine, but deep breathing offers help, too. According to a study by Hampton University in Virginia, the deep-breathing techniques of yoga can change the brain's metabolic activity and decrease body mass index in obese teens.
How does Deep Breathing Work
Deep breathing provides your body's cells with oxygen, which helps you absorb nutrients. It also stimulates your lymphatic system to get rid of toxins. If your breath is shallow, also known as chest breathing, your cells are receiving less nutrients and your lymph system may be more sluggish, both of which may lead to weight gain, according to the study. There is a set of breathing exercises that will effectively help lose weight.
Sit cross-legged on your yoga mat. Your body should be straight, an elongated spine, neck and chin up. Close your eyes and place hands on your knees in a comfortable position. Your abdomen muscles should be completely relaxed, don’t strain them. Breathe in deeply and exhale the air out of your nose as if a sniff. When you sniff out the air, you’ll feel your abdomen pulling inwards. If you are a starter, practice this breathing exercise upto 30-50 times. Slowly increase the pace and continue upto 5-10 minutes at a stretch. Don’t do this exercise when having periods or if you are suffering from high blood pressure or any other heart disease.
Sit comfortably on a yoga mat. Your legs should be crossed, one over the other in a padmasana. Place hands on your knees with palms facing upwards, the tip of your thumb and ring finger pressing one against the other. Take normal breaths and relax. Now breathe in deeply with all your strength so that your lung is filled with oxygen. Then breathe out forcefully though the nose such that a hissing sound is made. Repeat this for 5-10 times. If you are suffering from any heart disease, consult your doc before practicing this exercise.
Anulom Vilom Pranayama
Sit with cross-legged on a mat and relax. Close your eyes and keep all your muscles relaxed. Now press the right nostril with the thumb of your right hand and breathe in through the left nostril. Count until 5 to retain the breath. Then close your left nostril with the ring finger of your right hand and leave the right nostril to let the air exhale through the right nostril. Now again inhale through your right nostril while still keeping the left nostril pressed. Retain the breath until 5 counts and release air through left nostril. This way you complete one round of this pranayama. Repeat some 10-15 rounds more.
Sit on a mat cross-legged in a padmasana. Straighten your spine and relax. Now with your thumb, close both your ears. Use the middle finger of both hands to press lightly on your closed eyes. With the index finger, press your temples lightly. Place the ring fingers and little fingers on the bridge of your nose. Now breathe in deeply through nose and exhale slowly through nose while making a humming sound and chanting “OM” in your mind. Do this exercise for 11-21 times.
Sit on the yoga mat with your legs extended before you. Breathe and relax. Bend your right knee and bring the heels as much close to your buttocks as possible. Now fold your left knee and cross it over your right knee. Your left foot ankle should be just by the side of your right knee. Take your left arm and place it behind you with the palm on the floor. Your right arm should be touching the toes of your left foot. Now that you have positioned yourself, take in a deep breath and elongate your spine. Twist your torso to your left and look over your left shoulder. As you twist, exhale. Inhale and straighten your spine; exhale and twist. Stay for 5 breaths and release the twist. Now twist to the other side too.
According to Dennis Lewis, author of "Tao of Breathing," mindful breathing can definitely help a weight-loss program. However, he discourages any kind of forced exercise specifically designed for losing weight because of possible physical, psychological or spiritual impairment. Lewis recommends instead breathing naturally, exercising sufficiently and eating a balanced diet as the best way to lose weight.