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Stress Relief for Ayurvedic Weight Loss

by Ayurveda Therapist on July 11, 2011

Stress reduction is just as important for weight reduction as proper diet and exercise. Stress can be the root issue for why many diets have not worked in the past. Stress triggers a “fight-or-flight” response that causes your body to store fat instead of burning it.

Therefore, it is essential to reduce stress through daily deep breathing (Pranayama) and stress-reducing techniques in order to see long-lasting benefits of any diet program. Ayurvedic weight loss points to stress reduction as a way to lose weight and keep it off.

1. Pranayama for Weight Loss:
Sit comfortably in a quiet, relaxed environment. Perform deep breathing exercises as follows:
• 12 alternate nostril breathing for Vata
• 16 cooling shitali breaths for Pitta (curl up your tongue lengthwise and breath through it, exhaling through your nose). Or inhale through teeth or the lips, exhale through nose.
• 100 bhastrika (short, fast breaths) like hyperventilating for Kapha.

2. Meditation for Weight Loss:
Meditation brings balance and peace into your life. It provides a clear mental focus, greater creativity, inner peace, serenity, and calmness. Not only will you feel more focused and relaxed, you will increase your metabolism and burn more fat as well. When you feel calm, centered, and focused you are not in a state of stress and digestion will improve allowing the weight loss to happen naturally and without much effort.

Find a comfortable position (easy pose) in which your sit bones connect with the earth and draw your spine up and out of your pelvis as your elongate towards the sky. Allow your shoulders to drop down away from your ears as you lift the back of the head and neck up.

The collarbones spread and the sternum gently lifts as the shoulder blades tuck in and downward. Soften the facial muscles and release the inner ears. Relax the tongue to the base of the mouth and with ease a soft smile emerges. Feel the weight of your body onto the ground and become aware of the pull of gravity on your being to the earth.

Close your eyes and take a few deep breaths through your nose, hold the air for a few seconds, then release it completely through your mouth. Focus your attention on your breath as you slowly inhale and exhale mindfully following the breath cycle. By completely focusing on the breath, you train your mind to be present. With practice, you will notice that there is less “clutter” in the mind and you are calm, centered, and relaxed.

Begin your meditation practice by sitting for at least 15 minutes in the morning or evening. Try meditating on an empty stomach as the mind will be lighter and more present.

3. Visual Imagery for Weight Loss:
This is a powerful and transformative tool for stress reduction and with regular practice can help you to balance your body and shed fat stored in your body.
Begin by trying the following guided visual imagery. You can even record yourself saying this or another visual imagery passage and then listen to it with your eyes closed to enhance the effect.

Body Scan and Deep Relaxation Visual Imagery Guide:

Take yourself into a moment of peacefulness and allow extraneous thoughts to float away as you embark on a journey into deep relaxation. Close your eyes and imagine you are sitting on a warm stone embankment at the edge of a swimming hole. The sound of a waterfall fills the space and a soft sunlight splits through clouds creating a glow of warmth onto your face.

As the muscles of your face begin to melt and the tongue softens to the bottom of your mouth you become aware of your breath. Scanning your body for tension send your breath into any areas of holding and surrender to the moment by releasing worry. Now, imagine a small breeze picks up rustling the leaves and wrapping a sense of calm and ease around your body. You allow the wind to sweep up your remaining worries and carry them away leaving only your radiant peaceful self sitting fully balanced on the rock.

Breath in and feel your sit bones and legs against the warm earth. As you exhale lengthen through your spine and feel the top of your head drawing up towards the sun. Taking in another breath allow this warm peaceful feeling to enter belly giving it full permission to soften and be at ease. Exhale and feel the length of your spine from sit bones to top of the head and imagine you grow even taller in this moment.

Breathe in and allow the breath to enter into your heart. Your shoulders soften and the collar bones spread as your continue to breathe deeply into the chest allowing your heart chakra to glow as the prana shines within you. On an exhale be aware of your power opening up and gaining strength through the full expansion of your body. Inhale into the neck and give wings to this newly discovered power.

Embodying your inner wisdom and sitting at the center of your being, you are at the seat of your creative energies. Exhale and allow this creative aura spread throughout your entire being. On the next breath gently bring your prana into the center of your brain and focus your energy and next few breath cycles on this one spot.

Now feel throughout the entire body, your being including the few inches of space surrounding the outside of your skin. Fill up this space with your loving essense and think of someone you would like to share it with. Send this person your love and wishes. Now send your love to the people that are closest to you in your life.

Take a breath in and exhale love to the whole world, all of the people you know and those that you have never met, the animals, the plants, the minerals and smallest particle. Imagine the strength of your love and your connection to the earth beneath you. Feel the power inside of you to create in this world and to live a life full of purpose.

Now start to observe your sensations once more, the warm stone beneath you, the soft breeze, the glow of sun on your face. Feel your body relaxed and balanced, your mind centered and at ease. Draw your palms together at your heart. Take in a breath and on the exhale softly open your eyes.

Namaste.

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