Yoga to tighten core

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New Delhi, April 27 (IANS) One gains belly fat due to a number of factors, which includes a poor diet, lack of exercise, and stress. Even genetics cannot be ruled out as a reason for your body weight.
Genetics makes you more susceptible to certain conditions such as diabetes, or obesity, however, it is a healthy lifestyle that ultimately shapes you. If you follow unhealthy eating habits, disturbed sleep patterns, and a sedentary life, you run the risk of abdominal obesity. Yoga increases your heart rate and can help you burn off those calories. The area of the stomach is known to accumulate the most stubborn fat which is the hardest to lose. But, do not be disheartened as yoga can target belly fat through specific postures.
“Not only is belly fat unhealthy, but is also an extremely awkward area to be carrying around fat. This extra weight can make you feel sluggish and lethargic. The most dangerous part about having belly fat is that you become vulnerable to diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, and hypertension,” says Yoga guru Grand Master Akshar.
Belly fat also leads to a decrease in the level of your self-confidence, self-esteem and makes you stressed or depressed. When you improve your nutrition, increase physical activity, and make other lifestyle changes, this can help you lose that unwanted belly fat. Hold each of the following asanas for 30 seconds each, and repeat upto 3 sets; practice the pranayama technique for up to 5 minutes each day, suggests coach Akshar.

Kapal Bhati

In Sanskrit, ‘Kapal’ means skull and ebhati’ means eshining/illuminating’. Therefore, this Kapalbhati Pranayam is also known as “Skull Shining Breathing Technique”.

Method

* Sit in any comfortable pose (such as Sukhasan, Ardhapadmasan or Padmasana)
* Straighten your back and close your eyes
* Place your palms on your knees facing up (in Prapthi Mudra)
* Inhale normally and focus on exhaling with a short, rhythmic and forceful breath
* You can use your stomach to forcefully expel all the air from the diaphragm and lungs by compressing it
* Inhalation should happen automatically while you decompress your stomach

Benefits

* Strengthens and stimulates the digestive system and abdominal muscles
* Strengthens the nasal passages and removes blockages in the chest
* Promotes blood circulation
* Improves the complexion of the skin and brings a glow on the face
* Increases memory power
* Gives mental clarity and helps overcome stress and depression
* Removes any extra fat from body

Asanas

Naukasana
Formation of the posture

* Lie down on your back
* Lift up your upper and lower body to balance on your sitting bones.
* Your toes must be aligned with your eyes
* Keep your knees and back straight
* Keep your arms parallel to the ground and pointing forward
* Tighten your abdominal muscles
* Straighten your back
* Inhale and exhale normally

Benefits

* Strengthens lower back, stomach and leg muscles.
* Improves the functioning of the digestive system
* Tones the waist and promotes weight loss
* Removes gastro-intestinal discomfort
* Eliminates lethargy.
* Builds the abdominal muscles.
* Stimulates circulatory, nervous and hormonal systems

Breathing Methodology
Inhale as you lift your body off the floor. Inhale and exhale normally if you hold the asana for too long.

Vasishtasana
Formation of the posture

* Begin with Santholanasan (Plank)
* With your left palm firmly on the ground, remove your right hand off the floor
*Turn your entire body to face the right side and lift your right leg off the floor and place it over your left leg
* Raise your right arm above and keep your fingers pointing to the sky
* Ensure that both your knees, heels and feet are in contact with each other
* Ensure that both arms and shoulders are in one straight line
* Turn your head and look up at your right hand
* Hold the asana for a while
* Repeat the same on the left side

Benefits

* Slowly building your capacity to hold this asana for long periods of time will help you gain immense arm and core strength
* Burns fat around your waist
* Improves sense of balance
* Boosts concentration
* Strengthens wrists and shoulders

Breathing Methodology
Inhale as you lift your body off the floor. Inhale and exhale normally if you hold the asana for too long.

Santolanasana – Plank Pose
Formation of the posture

* Lie on your stomach
* Place your palms under your shoulders and lift your upper body, pelvis and knees up
* Use your toes to grip the floor and keep the knees straight
* Ensure that your knees, pelvis and spine are aligned
* Your wrists must be placed exactly below your shoulders with your arms kept straight
* Hold the final posture for a while

Benefits

* Strengthens thigh, arms and shoulders
* Makes spine and abdominal muscles robust
* Builds the core muscles
* Improves balance in the nervous system
* Stimulates the Manipura chakra
* Energizes the entire body and instils feeling of positivity
* Develops a sense of inner equilibrium and harmony

Breathing Methodology
Inhale as you lift your body off the floor. Inhale and exhale normally if you hold the asana for too long.
When you add exercise to your routine, also make sure that you modify your diet to cut out the use of unnecessary sugar, include more soluble fibre, and limit your intake of carbs.
Studies show that 60 per cent of increased risk of obesity (in children,) is caused by the dangers of sugar-sweetened beverages.
Eliminate sugary drinks, high fat foods and replace this with whole fruit instead which is extremely healthy and adds fibre to your system. Protein can boost your metabolism making you feel less hungry.
With the proper diet, lifestyle, good sleep and exercise, you can lose that ungainly belly fat in no time.

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