Obesity means having more than normal body fat that could be dangerous for you. It is not the same as being overweight, which means tipping the scales a bit more than you should. A person who weighs in as overweight could be so from extra muscle, bone, or water, in addition to having too much fat.
Obesity and being overweight have in the last decade become a global problem. According to the World Health Organization (WHO) back in 2005, approximately 1.6 billion adults over the age of 15 were overweight, at least 400 million adults were obese and at least 20 million children under the age of 5 years were overweight. Experts believe if the current trends continue, by 2015 approximately 2.3 billion adults will be overweight and 700 million will be obese. The scale of the obesity problem has a number of serious consequences for individuals and government health systems.
Obesity risk factors:
- Hereditary: Obesity has a genetic link; children of obese parents are 80 percent more likely to be obese.
- Physiological factors: Pregnancy, menopause, puberty, various illness, sedentary life style and inadequate nutritional treatment.
- Psychological factors: Marriage, problem at work, marital problems, social problems, idleness, stress.
- Diseases: Hypothyroidism-Cushing’s syndrome, poly cystic ovarian disorder.
- Medicines: Oral contraceptive, steroids and depressants.
Obesity-related health issues:
- Sleep Apnea
- Respiratory problem like asthma
- Cancers (like endometrial prostate, kidney, breast and colon)
- Fatty liver disease
- Type 2 diabetes
- Gall Bladder disease
- Heart disease
- High cholesterol
Yoga and subtle actions (kriyas) are good to control obesity and they are:
1) Engine Gati (Flow): Engine Gati is running on the spot. Yoga has introduced Engine Gati or Hardya Gati as one of the best exercises for overall physical benefits. In Engine Gati, you have start running on the spot. Your hands will move like rail engine ballets. The entire action has to be done with normal breathing. Your spine, neck and shoulder will remain straight. In the beginning, one should do the Engine Gati for two minutes, then increase the time according to your capacity.
Prevention: People suffering from heart problems and knee problems should perform Engine Gati under the guidance of a Yoga Guru.
2) Shaking Gati: This is one of the best kriyas to be done after Engine Gati. This kriya is a bit different than what has been taught in kundalini meditation. You have to stand on the ground with your eyes closed. Now start shaking your body, starting from the legs. Slowly shake your entire body. Involve your mind into this physical kriya, Shaking Gati. Do this kriya for a minimum of 2 to 3 minutes. After this kriya, lie down on your back in shavasan(link) for five minutes and remain still. Concentrate only on your breathing.
Benefits: This kriya is very good for cardiovascular system, endocrine system, circulatory, respiratory and digestive system. It influences all hormonal secretions and also relieves you from various gynecological disorders..
3) Stimulating the digestive fire (Agnisar Kriya): Sit down in diamond (vajrasna) or easy pose (sukhasna). Place your hands on your knees and close your eyes. Relax the whole body for a few minutes. Straighten your arms and slightly lean forward. Now exhale, emptying the lungs as much as possible. Contract and expand the abdominal muscles rapidly for as long as it is possible to hold the breath. Do not strain. This is one round. Now relax and breathe normally before starting the next round. Beginners should practice it for 10 rounds and with regular practice, go up to 50 rounds, subject to time available.
Precaution: People suffering from higher blood pressure, heart problem and peptic ulcer and pregnant women should not perform this kriya. Benefits: Agnisar stimulates the five life forces (prana). This is one of best kriya for obesity, indigestion, and sluggishness of the liver and kidney.
4) Triangle pose 1 (Trikonasana): Stand straight with your feet one meter apart and your toes facing forward. Place the palms of your hands on each side of the waist with the fingers pointing downwards. Now slowly bend to the right from the waist. While sliding the right hand down along the outside of the right thigh as far as possible. And try to touch the right foot. Stay in the final position for as long as you are comfortable. Now raise the trunk to the upright position. Repeat the same on the left side to complete one round. Practice a minimum of five rounds each side.
5) Triangle pose 2 (Trikonasana): Stand in the same position as in earlier asana. Now while breathing in, raise the arms sideways upto the shoulder level. This is the starting position. While breathing out, bend forward. Twist the trunk to the left, bringing the right hand to the left foot. The left arm should be out stretched vertically so that both arms form a straight line. Look up at the left hand. Remain in this position, feeling the twist and stretch of the back. Return to the center forward position. Do it with other side also. This is one round. Do a minimum of five rounds each side.
Benefits: This series will tone the entire body. It affects the muscles on the sides of the trunk, the waist and the back of legs. This is good asana for reducing the waistline.