Obesity is not just a superficial or cosmetic concern but a multifaceted medical condition that profoundly affects both the mind and body. It is influenced by a complex interplay of genetic, environmental, and behavioural factors.
Excessive calorie intake, sedentary lifestyles, genetic predisposition, certain medical conditions, medications, and emotional disturbances are common contributors to obesity. The repercussions of obesity extend far beyond appearance, as it significantly impacts overall health and well-being.
What is Obesity?
Obesity is characterized by an excessive accumulation of body fat, which surpasses the essential fat quota found in muscle tissue necessary for proper bodily functions. This fat adversely affects various systems, leading to a range of physical and psychological complications. It is vital to recognize the significance of combating obesity, as it not only shortens lifespans but also diminishes the efficiency of all bodily organs, impeding everyday activities.
Obesity primarily stems from overeating and insufficient physical activity, making them the major contributing factors. A lack of knowledge regarding nutrition can also play a significant role in the progression of weight gain, eventually leading to adverse health consequences.
Hence, obesity is recognized as a chronic nutritional disorder that carries an elevated risk of various diseases and complications, including cardiac issues (such as congestive heart failure, deep venous thrombosis, pulmonary thromboembolism, abnormal lipid profile, and hypertension), respiratory disorders like obstructive sleep apnea, endocrine complications such as diabetes and hormonal imbalances, and gastrointestinal disorders. Additionally, obesity significantly contributes to orthopedic problems affecting the pelvis, knees, and ankles.
Yogic Management of Obesity
Viewing obesity through the lens of yoga, the work isn’t limited only to the physical body, but to all the aspects of our being and the way in which we nourish and mobilize ourselves. The two key angles from which yoga tackles obesity are to rebalance the metabolic rate and to release unconscious personality blocks.
Through its practice, yoga brings about a transformative restructuring of the subtle pranic body, known as the energy body, which directly impacts the metabolic functioning. This highlights the notion that maintaining a healthy body weight goes beyond conventional approaches like diets and lifestyle modifications. It makes it necessary to work on the level of consciousness, the realm of mental energy, and other integral aspects of one's energy system.
Yoga, as a scientific system, enables the development of the body-mind instrument for the expression of consciousness, offering a profound pathway towards holistic well-being. Therefore, a yogi doesn’t alone guide on exercising the body for the sake of burning extra calories but understands the language of movement and rest- they listen to the continuous communication between the body and our conscious awareness.
The Journey of Yoga & the Self
Yoga serves as a transformative journey, allowing us to deepen our understanding of the intricate workings of the human body and mind, discerning what truly nurtures them. Armed with this knowledge, we empower our willpower and exercise our free will to make conscious choices regarding our diet and lifestyle, aligning them with our unique physical and mental requirements.
While the primary objective of yoga extends beyond weight reduction, the enhanced self-awareness cultivated through practice naturally leads to positive changes in our physical well-being, including healthy weight management.
We must be sincere and honest with ourselves and allow our awareness to develop in a positive and constructive manner under the guidance of a qualified therapist. This method is unlikely to work if we are motivated by intentions of low frequency. Beginning your practise of yoga with a self-limiting mindset will have far-reaching consequences at odds with the promise of personal growth and expansion that yoga represents.
Embarking on an erroneous path may compel us to punish our bodies with excessive hours of intense stretching and strenuous repetitions. However, it is crucial to acknowledge that fat, known as meda in Ayurveda, plays a vital role in providing essential lubrication to our body's tissues. This dhatu, or bodily constituent, contributes to greater receptivity and generosity, serving as a security blanket that gives rise to feeling of Sneha (love), and forming protective barrier between us and the external world. The accumulation or retention of excess weight often stems from a deep-seated need for self-protection against perceived threats, be they in the form of words, emotions, or vibrations.
Through the practice of yoga, we learn to forge a profound connection with our inner selves, gradually shedding the layers of vulnerable insecurities, and allowing our body-mind complex to flow freely.
Yoga Program for Obesity
Yoga for obesity focuses on a combination of asanas, pranayama, and meditation practices to address weight management and promote overall well-being. The asana component includes the Pawanmuktasana Series I, II, and III, which involve various movements and postures that help release energy blockages and improve digestion. The pranayama practices involve abdominal breathing, also known as diaphragmatic breathing, which helps restore balance to our body's internal equilibrium. Additionally, Nadi Shodhana, or psychic network purification, helps cleanse and harmonize the subtle energy channels in the body.
The meditation practices incorporated into the program include eating meditation, where one focuses on being fully present and aware during meals, and practicing silence, known as Mouna, during mealtimes to avoid distractions and mindless eating. These practices help cultivate mindful eating habits and enhance our connection with our body's satiety signals.
It is important to seek guidance from a qualified yoga teacher or therapist for a proper understanding and safe implementation of these practices.
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