How Obesity Can Be Reduced with Yoga? Causes, Effects & Diet Tips

How Obesity Can Be Reduced with Yoga? Causes, Effects & Diet Tips

Obesity, overweightness, rotundness

One of the most common modern day health issue is Obesity. Obesity is a complicated health condition. Carrying too much weight can have a variety of health consequences, like higher risk for diabetes, heart disease, and osteoarthritis. With the rise of fast food joints, home delivery apps and sedentary job and lifestyle this problem is only bound to spread epidemically if not controlled at the earliest.

What is Obesity?

Obesity is a condition in which excess body fat has accumulated to the extent that it may have an adverse effect on health. It is defined by body mass index (BMI) and further evaluated in terms of fat distribution via the waist–hip ratio and total cardiovascular risk factors.

If a person’s bodyweight is at least 20% higher than it should be, he or she is considered obese. If your Body Mass Index (BMI) is between 25 and 29.9 you are considered overweight. If your BMI is 30 or over you are considered obese. The body mass index (BMI) is a statistical measurement derived from your height and weight. Although it is considered to be a useful way to estimate healthy body weight, it does not measure the percentage of body fat. There are other ways like Body fat calipers and DEXA scanning which gives a more accurate measurement.

According to WHO reports:

Worldwide obesity has nearly tripled since 1975.

In 2016, more than 1.9 billion adults, 18 years and older, were overweight. Of these over 650 million were obese.

39% of adults aged 18 years and over were overweight in 2016, and 13% were obese.

41 million children under the age of 5 were overweight or obese in 2016.

Over 340 million children and adolescents aged 5-19 were overweight or obese in 2016.

Obesity is preventable.

Here is the generally accepted chart for women and men when it comes to body fat percentage:

            Women      Men

Essential fat 10-12%          2-4%

Athletes        14-20%          6-13%

Fitness          21-24%          14-17%

Acceptable   25-31%          18-25%

Obese            32% plus       26% plus


People who have obesity, compared to those with a normal or healthy weight, are at increased risk for many serious diseases and health conditions, including the following:

All-causes of death (mortality)

High blood pressure (Hypertension)

High LDL cholesterol, low HDL cholesterol, or high levels of triglycerides (Dyslipidemia)

Type 2 diabetes

Coronary heart disease


Gallbladder disease

Osteoarthritis (a breakdown of cartilage and bone within a joint)

Sleep apnea and breathing problems

Some cancers (endometrial, breast, colon, kidney, gallbladder, and liver)

Low quality of life

Mental illness such as clinical depression, anxiety, and other mental disorders

Body pain and difficulty with physical functioning



Obesity usually results from a combination of causes and contributing factors, including:

Your genes may affect the amount of body fat you store, and where that fat is distributed. Genetics may also play a role in how efficiently your body converts food into energy and how your body burns calories during exercise.

Family lifestyle.Obesity tends to run in families. If one or both of your parents are obese, your risk of being obese is increased.

If you’re not very active, you don’t burn as many calories. With a sedentary lifestyle, you can easily take in more calories every day than you burn through exercise and routine daily activities.

Unhealthy diet.A diet that’s high in calories, lacking in fruits and vegetables, full of fast food, and laden with high-calorie beverages and oversized portions contributes to weight gain.

Medical problems.In some people, obesity can be traced to a medical cause, such as Prader-Willi syndrome, Cushing’s syndrome and other conditions. Medical problems, such as arthritis, also can lead to decreased activity, which may result in weight gain.

Certain medications.Some medications can lead to weight gain if you don’t compensate through diet or activity. These medications include some antidepressants, anti-seizure medications, diabetes medications, antipsychotic medications, steroids and beta blockers.

Social and economic issues.Research has linked social and economic factors to obesity. Avoiding obesity is difficult if you don’t have safe areas to exercise or you may not have been taught healthy ways of cooking.

Obesity can occur at any age, even in young children. But as you age, hormonal changes and a less active lifestyle increase your risk of obesity.

During pregnancy, a woman’s weight necessarily increases. Some women find this weight difficult to lose after the baby is born. This weight gain may contribute to the development of obesity in women.

Lack of sleep.Not getting enough sleep or getting too much sleep can cause changes in hormones that increase your appetite. You may also crave foods high in calories and carbohydrates, which can contribute to weight gain.


Exercise regularly.Engaging in physical activity has wider health benefits. For example, it can help prevent and manage more than 20 conditions, such as reducing the risk of type 2 diabetes by 40%. You can do brisk walking, swimming, running, cycling, dancing, competitive sports, circuit training, Yoga and resistance training. It helps in increasing the lean body mass and reduces overall body fat.

Follow a healthy eating plan.Focus on low-calorie, nutrient-dense foods, such as fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Avoid saturated fat and limit sweets and alcohol.

Monitor your weight regularly.People who weigh themselves at least once a week are more successful in keeping off excess pounds.

Be consistent.Sticking to your healthy-weight plan during the week, on the weekends, and amidst vacation and holidays as much as possible increases your chances of long-term success.


Achieve energy balance and a healthy weight. Go on a calorie deficit(Less Calorie intake than burnt through workout).

Shift fat consumption away from saturated fats to unsaturated fats and towards the elimination of trans-fatty acids.

Increase consumption of fruits and vegetables, and legumes, whole grains and nuts.

Limit the intake of free sugars.

Limit salt (sodium) consumption from all sources and ensure that salt is iodized (too much salt in the body leads to water retention).



Yoga works on all aspects of Obesity (physical, emotional and mental). Regular practice of Yoga reduces obesity and makes the body agile, efficient and slim. Yoga is suitable for people of any age group. Yoga helps achieve control over mind and behavior. Yoga is an ancient technique that has always aimed at promoting holistic living through better lifestyle, improved diet various postures known as Asanas. Some of the Yogic techniques are as follows: habits and physical activity. It focuses on controlled breathing through

Ardha Chakrasana: This asana is also known as standing backward bend. It helps tone the muscles of your upper body that includes your arms, shoulders, chest and upper body.

Veerbhadrasana (I, II): Veerbhadrasana is also known as the warriors pose. It helps enhance your valor, body balance and grace. It strengthens and burns fat in your arms, thighs, legs and lower back area.

Naukasana : Nauka asana or boat pose helps reduce fat on your midriff, tones your abdominal muscles and strengthens your back.

Pawanmuktasana : It is also known as the wind releasing pose. It helps in burning cellulose in your thighs, hips and abdominal region.

Bhujangasana: Bhujangasana is also called the cobra pose. It helps in stretching and toning the muscles of your arms, shoulders, buttocks, thighs, back and abdomen. Bhujangasana is the best way to reduce belly fat. It gives a good stretch to your abdominal muscles and helps you attain a flat belly with regular practice.

Paschimottanasana: Paschimottanasana is also known as the forward seated bend. It is a beneficial yoga asana for countering obesity.It helps in reducing fat and toning your abdominal area, pelvic region, thighs, hips and shoulders.

Titliasana: Titli asana is also known as butterfly pose. It strengthens and tones your hip and thigh muscles and joints. It is very effective in reducing the fat around your hips and thigh region.

Parshwakonasana: This asana is also known as side angle stretch. It helps stretch your muscles and helps improve your body shape. It involves all the muscles in your body. It is especially beneficial for reducing fat on your thighs, hips, pelvic and waist area.

Anjaneyasana: This Asana opens up the mid-section of body, lungs and heart. This stance gives the hamstrings, quadriceps, and hips a decent extend, furthermore permits a full scope of movement in the lower body.

Suryanamaskara : Surya Namaskar (Sun salutation) comprises a sequence of 12 yoga postures. Doing at least 12 sets of Sun Salutation, preferably at sunrise, at a fast pace provide a good cardiovascular workout. If done at a slow pace, these postures help tone the muscles and can be relaxing and meditative.

 How much calories are you burning in your 30 minute workout?

Weight lifting = 199 calories

Tennis = 232 calories

Basketball = 265 calories

Beach volleyball = 265 calories

Football = 298 calories

Bicycling (14 – 15.9 mph) = 331 calories

Rock climbing = 364 calories

Running (7.5mph) = 414 calories

Surya Namaskar = 417 calories

Yoga does not offer quick weight loss but it will surely help in the longer run. You may not see instant results but slowly you start feeling more lively inside. Eventually, the body will start responding and come back in good shape. Yoga increases flexibility, mobility and strength, calms your mind and promotes holistic fitness. I hope this article was helpful to get you started with your Yoga journey. Good luck !

Check out these links for relevant information: Obesity riskChildhood obesityDiet

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