Doing yoga for cellulite reduction is a fantastic addition to your exercise regime. Some call it meditation while others look at it as exercise. Think of it as an art or a science. Whatever the definition, yoga can have amazingly powerful effects on physical and mental health. From combating stress, anxiety and insomnia to promoting flexibility, circulation and strength. Yoga can work wonders for your health, not just your cellulite.
Personally, I have been a little late-to-the-party with this one. I usually prefer lifting weights or high-intensity training. Recently, I have started adding as little as half an hour of yoga practice three times a week. This is having a remarkable effect on both my mood and my recovery from exercise. For weight loss and cellulite reduction, incorporating yoga into your routine can speed up results.
Yoga? For cellulite reduction?
This ancient body-mind workout is actually a perfect blend of exercise and meditation. With many different forms of yoga, it’s much more than a source of relaxation and a metabolism booster. The benefits of yoga are rooted in its ability to target all parts of your body. So you’ll find exercises and poses that help strengthen your core muscles and others that strengthen your arms, legs, and back. Other movements effectively ‘massage’ the internal organs, helping them to function better. Certain yoga techniques are perfect for increasing your flexibility while others, such as power yoga, are more physically demanding. Hot yoga (Bikram Yoga) is performed in a very hot room and aids detoxification. As we know by now, detoxification is a major part of weight loss and cellulite reduction.
One of the best features of yoga is that it can give you the benefits of a full-body workout without any major impact on your joints. Whatever your fitness level, you can easily handle at least the basic poses. And because it is low-impact, there is little or no recovery time needed. Yoga is used by many athletes to aid in their physical recovery after strenuous exercise.
Stages of Yoga Practice
There are eight components or “limbs” to yoga practice. These are not linear stages. Each of the “limbs” are present in any given yoga technique – to a greater or lesser extent. Briefly, they comprise the following:
1. Yamas: your personal attitude and moral imperative towards other people and the outside world
2. Niyamas: your attitude towards self and individual personal growth
3. Asanas: the body postures and movements
4. Pranayama: the conscious control of breathing
5. Pratyahara: control of your senses, moving the focus to within
6. Dharana: concentration on something within your mind
7. Dhyana: meditation and contemplation
8. Samadhi: enlightenment and mindfulness of the present
If you want to read more about these “limbs”, you can do so at Wikipedia. Thankfully, you do not need to read ancient Sanskrit texts or be an advanced yogi to reap the benefits of yoga in your daily life.
Practicing yoga just three times a week can have the following benefits:
- Stress Reduction:
Chronic stress makes it difficult to lose the extra pounds. Excess cortisol causes intestinal problems, inflammation, and impaired detoxification. Stress can cause blood sugar disruption which results in overeating and cravings for sugary foods. Quite important for those who are wanting to reduce cellulite, chronic stress inhibits protein and collagen synthesis. Collagen breakdown is a major factor in the development of cellulite.
An integral part of any yoga session is the focus on deep breathing. This facilitates ‘active relaxation’ (as opposed to ‘passive relaxation’ when you are lying on the couch). This focused relaxation, similar to meditation, helps to combat stress. Through it’s meditative nature, yoga can help boost mood, ensuring peace of mind and happiness. Studies have shown that yoga aids in the body’s production of melatonin – a powerful antioxidant and sleep enhancing hormone.
Practicing a light yoga routine before bed can enhance sleep. Attending a yoga class or practicing for half an hour a day can be fun! It’s not strenuous – although mastering the moves takes practice. It’s a good way of getting away from the daily grind and having some “me” time. On days when you feel too tired to go to the gym or do anything very energetic, yoga is a fantastic way of exercising without putting undue stress on your body. If your day doesn’t allow you time to meditate and exercise, try yoga, it’s a great combination of the two.
- Muscle strengthening
Whilst yoga primarily stretches muscles, many of the poses also strengthen them. Some of the advanced moves require good balance, and good balance requires strong muscles. Building strong and flexible muscles without putting stress on joints can contribute to better posture, relieving tension headaches and neck/back pain. As with any type of exercise, it is important to do the poses with perfect form. Any poses that cause pain should be avoided. Having a good instructor will ensure that you are on the right track.
I have found that practicing yoga has given me a much better “mind-muscle” connection. This way, I can feel different muscles stretching and contracting resulting in a lot more body-awareness.
- Blood circulation and lymphatic drainage
As we have discussed here, poor circulation and a sluggish lymphatic system can make cellulite worse. Yoga stimulates circulation and lymphatic drainage which assists in detoxification processes. This enables better waste elimination from the body. The twisting and rotational work can stimulate internal organs.
Hot yoga is particularly good for boosting detoxification but should approached with caution. If you are suffering a large ‘toxic load’ the detoxification process can be too fast. Detoxing too fast can release too many toxins into the blood all at once, overwhelming the liver. Starting with some ordinary yoga and supporting detoxification pathways with dietary changes is recommended before launching into hot yoga. Many women have reported a fast reduction in their cellulite after practicing hot yoga. Obviously in conjunction with a healthy diet.
What are the different types of yoga?
There are many different types of yoga classes available, here are the five most common ones:
– Hatha yoga: this is the basic beginner’s version of yoga. Slow, gentle movements focusing on breathing. The movements gradually increase in difficulty. You can move at your own pace and it’s fantastic for helping you wind down.
– Vinyasa or Flow yoga: this has you flowing from one pose to another, focusing on breathing. This type is yoga is great for both beginners and more advanced yoga practitioners.
– Ashtanga (Power Yoga): this is a more physically demanding and fast-paced form of yoga. It can be quite strenuous and is great for mixing up your usual strength or cardio routines.
– Iyenga: using various equipment this form focuses on body alignment and is very good for posture. This is the more difficult one to do at home, as you will need some equipment.
– Bikram (hot) yoga: typically using a series of poses in a very hot room. Expect to sweat profusely. This is another difficult one for doing at home unless you live on a tropical island or happen to have a sauna in the house.
How to get started
Yoga classes are common at most fitness facilities, but if you can’t find one in your area, or don’t have the time to attend, then do it at home. Thankfully you need no special equipment except perhaps a yoga mat if your floors are not carpeted. You don’t need to buy special yoga outfits or shoes, it can easily be done wearing some loose fitting clothing and bare feet. If you can’t get a yoga instructor to come to your house to start you off, then there are several DVDs and books on Amazon that will walk you through the processes. If you are a prime member some of these may be free to watch.
Ideally, you would want a yoga instructor to introduce you to the moves before you start practicing on your own. If you can’t get a yoga instructor to come to your house to start you off, then there are several DVDs and books on amazon that will walk you through the processes. If you are a prime member some of these may be free to watch.
When practicing yoga at home, pay particular attention to correct form for all the poses. If your muscles are tight and inflexible, it may feel a little uncomfortable. However, if any of the movements cause pain, you should stop. If you are very inactive or currently suffer any injuries or health problems, consult your doctor before undertaking any exercise routine.
If you are a regular gym-goer or you already have a strenuous fitness program, incorporating yoga a few times a week will enhance recovery, lower stress, and stretch those tired muscles. Correct stretching and yoga can help to reduce injuries in athletes.
Yoga is a simple and time-tested way to help us lead vigorous and happier lives. It can improve your lifestyle to make you healthier and fitter. The effect of yoga on your mental, emotional and spiritual health is such that it will leave you more relaxed, focused and de-stressed.
Having a positive effect on your nervous system, aiding recovery after exercise and enabling you to create better body-mind synergies, yoga will enhance any fat-loss program. Incorporating yoga for cellulite reduction will enhance your circulation and all-important lymph flow, allowing toxins to be removed from the problem areas. Coupled with a healthy diet full of fiber, proteins, and good fats, yoga is an excellent way to help shed the excess pounds.
Have you any experience using yoga for cellulite reduction? Please leave a comment or a question below, and we’ll be happy to help: