According to a study conducted by the University of Otago in New Zealand, women who indulged in a combo of yoga, meditation, and visualisation lost more weight than those who did not indulge in visualisation techniques. My story is something similar, and I discovered firsthand the truth behind this research.
From The Outside Looking In
I still remember the moment that changed my outlook towards my body completely. It happened in February two years ago, in the post-natal phase after I had my second daughter. I had been a dancer with a well-toned body, but I had gone wrong somewhere. Even though I loved desserts, I had a very controlled and healthy diet. I was physically very active and had been practicing yoga regularly since for three years, but I was still 95kg at the time. So where did this extra weight come from?
This question kept haunting me, to the point that I joined a gym and began to move away from yoga. I had started to see a little progress until I conceived again, which paused my journey until after her birth. As I devoured more and more information, stress mounting, my answer hit me in an ironic flash: I was stressed out and that stress was the cause of my weight gain. After that, I started listening to my body. I learned to relax. No sooner having done that, I started seeing results. This ended up being my formula:
Yoga + Breathing + Visualisation = Slim
Below is a Vinyasa flow, breathing, and visualization combo that I began practicing. It ended up working for me and not only was I getting closer to the body shape I wanted, I was relaxing at the same time! Hopefully these flows could be as useful for you as they have been for me. Are you ready to begin your journey?
Vinyasa For Weight Loss
It all starts with Śavasana. From here, we move into Navāsana or Boat Pose, followed by Plank Pose, Bow Pose, and Downward Facing Dog. Although these poses are simple, they work your entire body by relaxing, twisting, and strengthening it.
1. Śavāsana – Corpse Pose
Beginning with Corpse Pose will help you relax before you enjoy this routine. Lie down on the yoga mat, legs comfortably separated. Just allow your body to slump down so that you are completely relaxed. Close your eyes and take ten deep breaths.
2. Navāsana – Boat Pose
This pose melts the fat from your abdominal region and thighs while toning your arms, back, and hips. From Corpse Pose, inhale deeply. Exhale and push the head, chest, and your legs off the mat in such a way that your body looks like a broad ‘U’. Suck your core muscles in and stretch your arms out to the front. Hold the pose, breathing deeply for a count of ten.
3. Plank Pose
Plank Pose works on your core and strengthens your arms. It also sculpts the shoulders and back. Inhale and lower your legs and arms. Cross your legs, exhale, and jump back by placing your palms in front of you. Lower your hips and allow your torso to come parallel to the floor. Stack the wrists under the shoulders and balance on your toes. Spread your fingers to balance yourself, tuck your core completely in and squeeze the glutes.
Once here, twist to your left on an exhale. Hold the position for a count of five, breathing normally. Inhale and come back to Plank Pose. Hold the position for a count of five, breathing normally. Exhale and twist to your right. Hold the position for a count of five, breathing normally. Repeat ten times on each side.
4. Dhanurāsana – Bow Pose
Dhanurāsana is a whole body toning pose that sculpts your abs, arms, thighs, back, and torso. Lower your body on the mat and rest on your abdomen. Inhale and bend your knees bringing it closer to your buttocks. Exhale, and hold your ankles with respective hands. Taking a deep inhalation, lift your forehead and chest off the ground, pulling the heels away from your buttocks. Hold the pose for ten deep breaths.
On an exhale, turn to your right, still holding the ankles and pulling the legs away from the body. Hold for five deep breaths. Inhale and come back to Dhanurāsana. Exhale and turn to your left. Hold for five deep breaths. Inhale and come back to the centre.
5. Downward Facing Dog Pose (Adho Mukha Śvānāsana)
Tone your thighs, butts, and arms with this simple inversion and stretching yoga pose. Exhale and release your legs and hands from the Bow Pose. Inhale and push your body off the mat in such a way that your body looks like an inverted V. Push your hips towards the ceiling while pushing the heels close to the mat. Suck your abdomen and squeeze the butts. Bring the head as close as possible to the mat, in between the palms. Hold the pose, breathing deeply for 10 deep breaths.
This can be considered as one round of the flow, and we continue by restarting at the beginning. Five rounds is great to begin with, but if you feel it is a little intense, then take it slow.
From Downward Facing Dog Pose, you can move into the Boat Pose again to start with your next round of practice. Jump or walk forward, allowing your feet to come in between your palms. Sit with your knees bent while your palms rest on either side of the body. Inhale and as you exhale, get up into Boat Pose.
Weight Loss Breathing – Anulom Vilom Prānāyāma
Once you complete the sequence, relax in Corpse Pose for a couple of breaths and then you can move gently to the breathing. Anulom Vilom Prānāyāma, or Alternate Nostril Breathing, is one of many yogic breath exercises, and is quite a simple technique. This one is said to be beneficial for easing stress and burning away fat.
- Sit in a comfortable position, ensuring that your spine is erect and aligned with the neck and head. Keep your eyes comfortably closed.
- Rest your left palm on your knees allowing the index and thumb to touch each other, and lift your right hand to you nose. Close the left nostril with the ring finger and right nostril with the thumb.
- Allow the tips of the middle and index fingers to rest inside the palm while your little finger is extended up.
- Exhale through the left nostril, keeping the right closed. Inhale through the left and close it completely. Open the right nostril and exhale. Now inhale via the right, close it, and exhale through the left.
This completes one round of Alternate Nostril Breathing. I would recommend 10 to 15 rounds to start off with, depending on your comfort level, and you can add on as much as you would like.
Visualisation For Weight Loss
Finally, you can bring your fat melting yoga routine to an end with a simple visualization technique. You can begin this visualisation in the sitting position you had chosen for the breathing exercise above:
- Once you complete the prānāyāma, allow your hands to rest comfortably on your thighs.
- Imagine that you are sitting in an infinite ocean of powerful healing white light. Imagine that the white healing light is flowing towards you.
- At the same time, imagine that a powerful shaft of white light is penetrating into your body through your scalp.
- Feel the light flowing into each and every cell of your body, detoxifying and cleaning them.
- Once you feel that all the cells are cleansed, imagine that the light is becoming a whirlpool that is swirling on top of your navel.
- Imagine this whirlpool of light sucking in all the excess fat and weight from your body, leaving your body toned and lean.
- As you imagine this, repeat this statement “I am easily and effortlessly losing weight. I am radiating health and vitality.”
- At the same time, allow your mind to trust that you have attained your dream body.
- Once you feel you are ready, open your eyes and step into the world with renewed energy and spirits.
All you have to do is relax and let go. Listening to your body and allowing yourself the time to love it (even if it’s just at home) will be a great first step to losing any unwanted weight!