Yoga and weight loss part 1

The weight loss process is an equation that involves calories. If the
amount of calories you expend throughout the day exceeds the amount of
calories you consume throughout the day you have achieved what is
called a “caloric deficit”. After a period of time of caloric deficit
the average person’s body weight will decrease. This equation however
is more complicated than it looks because of the factors involved in
consuming calories and expending calories. It is because of these
factors that trends such as (but not limited to) “The Atkins Diet”,
“raw vegetable diets”, “juice diets”, and celebrity diets have been
popular in recent years. All of these diets are appealing to our
logic, or our perception of what weight loss is and thus directing us
how to control our caloric consumption.
Although the methods in which we control our caloric intake may vary
from diet plan to diet plan, the science is very much the same.
Unfortunately, the science that may directly affect the success or
failure of weight loss goals are often left unconsidered. Things such
as basal metabolic rate, organ and hormone function, and digestion to
name a few are very much linked to how efficiently we can maintain our
weight.
Actually, our bodies are very capable of maintaining their own natural
body weight, but unfortunately our lifestyles can make simple things
more complicated for our bodies. Our posture for example is more
related to weight loss than it is given credit for. The means by which
our brain communicates to our appendages and organs is through our
central and peripheral nervous system. Our central nervous system runs
through our spinal column and through nerves will maintain healthy
function of all of our organs. If the bones in our spine are twisted
or misaligned they can put pressure on our central and peripheral
nervous system, this in turn will affect organ efficiency.
Our thyroid is responsible for controlling our cellular metabolic rate
via releasing the two hormones thyroxine and triiodothyronine. Our
thyroid gland is communicated to by means of hormones released by the
anterior pituitary gland called thyrotropin. When the thyroid is
communicated to by the anterior pituitary gland it will release more
thyroxine and triiodothyronine. Without proper stimulus from the
anterior pituitary gland, it is very likely that the release thyroxine
and triiodothyronine will be negatively affected.
Now, if the nerves that communicate with our thyroid gland or to the
pituitary gland are only working at 50% efficiency would that have any
noticeable affect on our body’s metabolism? Keeping in mind how
complicated cellular metabolism is, we can conclude that “it’s
possible”.
Now how does yoga play a part in this aspect of weight loss?
The answer to this question lies in the location of the pituitary and
thyroid gland. An interesting aspect of practicing yoga is that you
have some control over things such as the oxygen in your blood,
gravity’s affect on your body (through inversions and postural
changes), heart rate, and pressure on your organs. The pituitary gland
is located right behind the “third eye”. Through head stand postures
we can consciously send more oxygenated blood towards the head, which
ideally would ensure enough oxygen is supplied to the area of the
gland, and detoxing of the gland itself (perhaps through the increased
traffic of blood).
Many yoga postures target the cervical and thoracic vertabrae. This is
important because our sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous system
communicates with almost all of our organs via the cervical and
thoracic spine. Doing things like back bends, spinal twists, forward
bends, even simple non demanding yoga postures like dandasana and
tanasa all contribute a healthier posture. With a healthy posture we
can alleviate much of the unnecessary pressure on our nerve endings
caused by improper concavity or convexity of our spines.
Stimulating the thryoid itself is also possible through certain poses
and yogic exercizes. Uddiyana Bandha exercizes paired with pranayama
can put pressure and thus stimulate our organs. Direct pressure on the
thryoid is also a method in which we can detoxify the thyroid gland.
Shoulder stand puts pressure on the anterior portion of our neck, and
because it is an inversion, there is also increased blood flow towards
the neck. After performing this pose, following with the fish pose
will stretch the anterior neck region. This idealy would supply more
oxygen rich blood to the thyroid region, and detoxify the gland with
increased in flow and out flow of blood