Weight Loss and Kundalini Yoga

People often equate weight loss with strenuous aerobic exercise only, and don\'t really understand how an ancient technique such as yoga can possibly yield results. But this is why it\'s been around for so long: it works. While cardio is an obvious fix for fast calorie burning, it is only one piece of the puzzle. If weight loss were a simple equation of calories in - calories expended, weight loss would be far less of a national obsession.

There are so many seen and unseen reasons why we put on weight and can\'t seem to lose it. The solution, therefore,
must also be multidimensional. Yoga works on all levels, and on actual causes not just symptoms.

Cardio workouts, especially for those who most need to lose weight, have, for many, a high dread factor. As people discover yoga is doable, and experience its attendant sense of well being, they sense, and hope, it can do it all for them. And after all, who has the time for two workouts? So the question is, can yoga really help you slim down? The answer is yes! A dedicated practice can reshape your physical, mental, emotional and spiritual bodies for permanent weight loss.

According to yoga, when energy flows are unimpeded, then so called \"problem areas,\" can be reduced. When energy
enters the Shushuma, the central energetic pathway of the spine, miraculous transformations can occur. Of course, this does not guarantee a free ride. Much dedicated practice is necessary to attain this level. We believe Kundalini yoga can get us there more quickly, and in
the context of life as we know it.


People often say \"Yoga\'s not aerobic enough.\" Naturally some types of yoga are more cardiovascular then others. Flowing movements practiced for extended time periods (as in certain Power and Kundalini classes) definitely help you work up a sweat. Kundalini Yoga is physically enjoyable to do. It feels natural perhaps because these techniques were
developed spontaneously by ancient sages who were highly in tune with their bodies, their internal energy systems, and the rhythms of nature.

Kundalini Yoga is not only about static poses. It employs vigorous movement combined with breath that students find very liberating. You find yourself rocking and rolling, twisting, stretching, and above all, breathing. Students experience a sense of vibrancy and spontaneity they often haven\'t experienced since they were children. Many breath
techniques, like Breath of Fire (often cited as \'more aerobic than aerobics,\'), will also generate heat from within and stimulate the body to burn more calories. After all, our bodies use oxygen to turn food into energy.

But there is a much deeper and more powerful way yoga is working for you. In addition to promoting core strength,
flexibility, and balance, yoga stimulates metabolic processes in the body like no other form of fitness. Twists, forward and back bends, and other specific Kundalini exercises target the endocrine system. Many
Kundalini Yoga sets for weight loss focus on the thyroid gland. Shoulder Stand and Plow Pose, done with Breath of Fire, are two of the most powerful exercises for the thyroid.

Yoga also teaches us to use our own body weight to tone, strengthen, and lengthen muscles. We become leaner. When we create lean muscle tissue we burn more calories, even when resting. Yoga also effects the organs and digestive and
eliminative processes, to help rid the body of excess water and bloating.


How we perceive
ourselves has a powerful and direct effect on what we become. Our yoga practice can help us change harmful mental conditioning and negative self-concepts. Through new found awareness, which comes from zoning in rather then zoning out (as we are likely to do during cardio), we can
create new patterns to overcome old habits.

Stress causes biochemical changes in the brain. Brain chemistry has much to do with appetite control. An example of this is the brain chemical dopamine which is linked to depression and increased appetite. Low levels of serotonin may cause carbohydrate cravings. Norepinephrine, which
normally causes the brain to be more alert and enables one to stay positive, has been linked with increased appetite when levels are low. Kundalini Yoga can help you turn the tide against stress.


Many people eat to alleviate stress and to avoid feelings of loneliness, i.e., emptiness. We treat food as a
comforting friend. When you take time for yourself to do your practice, you become, in effect, your own best friend. As you strengthen your nervous system through yoga, you are
more able to handle daily stresses in a healthier way.

It is becoming more and more apparent that the use of mood altering drugs such as Zanax and Prozac is increasing exponentially. For most people these are just a deceptively easy fix that numb the sensors. In effect, a
chemical form of television. For many people, food itself is a mood altering drug. It represents security and the sweetness that life does not always provide.

Kundalini Yoga proves that happiness is not a myth, that it is eminently possible to be exuberant, expansive, healthy
and vibrant. When circumstances pull us away from our optimum state Kundalini Yoga provides the means to revive it. This is a day to day affair.


When we begin to tap into our spiritual aspect we feel lighter, more joyful and balanced, and are not as hungry for the numbing effects of impulsive eating. We have tapped into our own internal source of sweetness and in
a sense are feeding our soul. Spiritual means \'of the spirit,\' that part of us that accepts every challenge as a test to grow by.

Of course we can\'t discuss yoga and weight loss without talking about how meditation plays a part. No system can work for you unless your mind is under your conscious control. One of the cornerstones of classical yoga is the control of the thought waves of the mind.

When we are stressed, our bodies pump out stress hormones. Training too hard can actually increase these hormones. When we still the body and calm the mind, we allow our breath to circulate to our inner organs which helps
to filter out toxins which could lead to a build up of abdominal fat. When we are less stressed we automatically turn off many mechanisms that can lead to weight gain.


This is not to say that cardio alone can\'t work. For fast calorie burning it can be very effective. Remember, when you try anything new, aerobics or yoga, you tend to get immediate results. However, don\'t depend on these overnight effects. if you dedicate yourself to practicing yoga on a regular basis it will change your body. The best news is yoga is something you can do the rest of your life with increasing rather then
diminishing returns!