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Yoga For Obesity

The present day lifestyle also has led to wrong eating habits. Consumption of high calorie foods such as fried foods, bakery items, sweets, and chocolates (junk foods) available in very attractive tasty presentations, is clearly the cause of this malady.

Is there a role of heredity? Yes, I am sure you have many friends who can eat any amount of junk food but still are under weight, where as some of you find it extremely difficult to reduce weight inspite of sincere dieting. This is due to the hereditary tendency. The under weight families are called rapid metabolizers and the obese are slow metabolizers. Please remember that it is more important to reduce the weight if you have a strong tendency in the family for overweight although you need to try a little harder.

Where do we start? All obese people know what you need to do. It is very simple information to know- avoid high calorie food, eat more fiber and exercise more. But why is it so difficult to reduce weight? It is all in your mind. Mind controls every function of the body. There are two centers in the brain (hypothalamus) that are responsible for sensing the hunger (appetite center) and fullness after eating (satiety center). These two centers function in perfect coordination under healthy, natural conditions to maintain normal weight. The functioning of these lower centers is modifiable by our mind (higher brain centers - cortex ). In other words, in human race the eating habit is more controlled by the state of the mind than by the instinct of hunger unlike animals. Gluttony and Obesity are unknown in animals (except pets) .Since it is all in the mind and we have the freedom at the mind level to eat more or less we should be able to control our eating habits through voluntary awareness rather than as a reflex. But as one becomes guided by the weakness of sense pleasure (taste buds) the control is lost and he becomes a slave to the cravings. If the mind is disturbed due to long standing stress and speed, it can lead to abnormal eating pattern. Thus, loss of control over emotions results in disturbed balance of appetite - satiety centers. It is a common experience that you may gain or lose a lot of weight if you are depressed or anxious. Hence the most important component in management of obesity is mind management. Yoga is the right tool to develop a healthy and happy way of controlling the weight through chittavritti nirodhah. (mastery over the mind is yoga).


  • Bring the hands by the side of the body

  • Inhale deeply and raise the legs, hands and trunk off the ground.

  • Keep the legs at an angle of about 30° to 35° from the floor and the top of the head in line with toes. Simultaneously, raise the hands at the shoulder height parallel to the ground. Look towards the toes. Exhale slowly and lower the legs, head and trunk.

  • Repeat 10 times, relax in Savasana.


  • In the final position, the balance of the body rests on the buttocks and no part of the spine should touch the floor. Do not hold the breath during this practice.

This article has been written by Dr. R. Nagarathna, Dean, Division of Yoga & Life-sciences, SVYASA
This article is published online courtesy
and Arogyadhama

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