General Weight Loss Therapies
General Weight Loss Therapies
Specific Dosha Recommendations
Kapha Weight Loss Therapies
Pitta Weight Loss Therapies
Vita Weight Loss Therapies
"If you want to change your body, change your awareness first."
Deepak Chopra, MD
Stress can lead to weight gain. When you are stressed, your body responds by releasing hormones that help you deal with the stress. One of these hormones is cortisol and it works by causing glucose and fatty acids to be released. One of cortisol's aftereffects is an increase in appetite. Long term stress can also lead to more serious problems such as asthma, depression, hormone imbalance, high blood pressure, heart disease, insomnia, and ulcers.
You can reduce stress through daily meditation, breathing exercises, yoga, walking, and getting enough rest at night.
Daily meditation is essential for all doshas. Research has shown that meditation reduces anxiety, lowers blood levels of stress hormones, strengthens the immune system, normalizes blood pressure, strengthens metabolism, increases creativity as well as mental clarity and focus. Meditating can be difficult to begin, but as you feel the benefits of it, you will look forward to this serene time in your day.
Take time each day (whether 5 minutes or an hour) to simply sit and breathe. Sit calmly in a serene space. Palms facing up, placed on your knees. Touch your tongue to the roof of your mouth. Inhale and exhale. Focus on your breath. Let your mind wander and empty out. Notice your natural breath. As your thoughts drift, gently return your attention to your breath. If desired, recite out loud or mentally the mantra for your dosha.
||Meditating while focusing on an object can be very helpful. Candle gazing is a powerful meditation technique that will help you focus your mind and control your mental energies. Place a lit candle about two feet away from you - the candle should be at eye level. Gaze at the candle for up to 1 minute, then close your eyes. The image of the candle will remain. When it starts to fade, concentrate on keeping the image of the candle. At first this will be difficult, but eventually you will train your mind to retain the image.|
Daily walking meditation is also helpful. Simply go for a walk, preferably someplace serene and natural. Listen to your breathing, note where your body is at, and watch your thoughts come and go with each step. Avoid critical self-talk. This is a good time to reflect on the blessings in your life.
Breath control leads to mental clarity and higher levels of energy. Breathing exercise release toxins in your body, calms your nervous system and increases oxygen levels and blood supply. Focusing attention on your breath connects the body to the mind.
Avoid shallow or tense breathing. Take time each day to listen to your breath. First, simply breathe and note your natural breath. Then, breathe in slowly and deeply. Place your hands on your bottom ribs and feel them move outward as they expand. Inhale through your nose. As you inhale your rib cage should rise up and expand. Exhale through your nose. As you exhale, your diaphragm will relax and your lungs will contract, squeezing out air. The more thoroughly you empty out your lungs, the more thoroughly you cleanse your body of toxins.
Wait 4-6 after a heavy meal before beginning
- Alternate Nostril Breathing (Pranayama)
Sit erect in a comfortable position. Close your right nostril with your right thumb. Inhale into your belly. Hold your breath for one second as you release your thumb and close your left nostril with your little finger. Exhale through your right nostril. Repeat on other side. This exercise balances your energies.
- Breath of Fire(Bhastrika Pranayama)
Sit comfortably with a straight spine. Touch your thumb to your index finger (the thumb represents the universal soul and the index finger represents the individual soul; together they form the seal of wisdom). Inhale through your nose normally and exhale with a little force. As you inhale and exhale, gradually increase the force and speed of your exhalations. Do 30 exhalations, rest one minute, and do another 30 exhalations. This exercise increases your lung capacity and heats the body. It is also said to result in more youthful skin and a healthy glow in the face.
- Abdominal Breathing
Lie or sit comfortably. Place one hand on your abdomen and one on your chest. First, simply notice your natural breath. Gradually deepen and slow your inhalations and exhalations. Do this for 1-3 minutes. This exercise increases energy and improves mental clarity.
Mix a few drops of essential oils into carrier oil (2 tsp for higher concentration to 4 tsp for lower concentration) and place on wrists and neck. Or, place a few drops of essential oils into your bath and take a relaxing soak. Another alternative is to place a few drops of essential oils onto a handkerchief and smell throughout the day. Another convenient option is to choose soaps, lotions, and other products with therapeutic scents. Use specific aromas for your dosha type.
Chamomile, juniper, lavender, orange, and sandalwood are relaxing scents for all doshas and are also helpful for depression & sluggishness. Basil is a stimulating scent and helps depression. Citronella and eucalyptus reduce mental fatigue.
Caution: Essential oils must be handled carefully and used sparingly as they have strong medicinal properties. Please read Aromatherapy Massage by Claire Maxwell Hudson for more extensive information. Basic Guidelines for essential oils:
- Never take essential oils internally (if you consume more than a few drops, drink plenty of water and contact a physician)
- Store at cool temperatures
- Store essential oils mixed with carrier oil
- Label carefully
- Store out of reach of children
- Essential oils are flammable - keep away from heat sources
- Do not apply essential oils directly to the skin - always mix with a carrier oil first
- Always test on a small patch of skin first to check your sensitivity
- Do not mix more than 5 oils at a time
- If oils make contact with the eyes, rinse with milk and contact a physician
Regular yoga practice brings calm and increased energy to body and mind. The gentle movement and deep stretching improves your circulation and releases toxins in your body.
Here are 4 simple yoga poses you can do most anywhere. See Yoga Poses page for a more extended routine.
This simple pose curbs food cravings and balances metabolism from the pituitary and endocrine glands. It also improves stress response, slows tissue aging and improves mental clarity.
Inhale slowly and deeply through the nose. Lower your chin to your collar bone or close to it. Raise your shoulders. Hold your breath for 30 seconds - 1 minute. Raise your chin, relax your shoulders and slowly exhale. Repeat 3 times.
This simple move increases the flexibility of your spine, releases toxins, and stimulates a sluggish metabolism.
Sit comfortably cross legged on the floor or upright in a chair. Keep your back straight, your face relaxed, your chin tucked in slightly. Place your left hand on your right knee and turn your trunk to the right, looking to the back of the room. Inhale as you deepen the stretch. Repeat on the other side.
This pose releases tension in the back, strengthens your abdominal muscles and tones your waist.
Stand up straight with your feet wide apart. Stretch your arms above your head. Keep your arms straight and your shoulders down. Inhale and exhale deeply as you bend sideways to the right. Hold for 1 minute and repeat on the left side.
This pose allows boosts your energy as it eliminates toxins from your body. It also promotes spinal health and strengthens your lower back. Be gentle and slow with your movements, don't force the pose.
Stand up straight with your heels touching, shoulders back, stomach tight, chin slightly tucked in. Inhale and slowly bend forward, bringing your head toward your knees. Hold your ankles. Keep your legs straight. Exhale as you deepen the stretch. The more you do this pose, the more flexible your hamstrings will become and the easier it will become.
Do not judge yourself as you do these poses. Simply see where your body is at.
You will benefit from incorporating your dosha colors into your clothing and home decor. A simpler, less expensive way is to use a pillow, scarf or rug and focus on it during meditation. See your dosha's weight control therapy.
General color guidelines:
- Red improves circulation, red blood cell productions and inspires creativity
- Yellow stimulates digestion and mental energy
- Blue is calming and increases mental clarity
- Green is peaceful and energizing
- Orange strengthens the immune system and stimulates metabolism
Treatment for all Doshas (do in addition to Weight-Loss Therapies).
- Drink 1 cup of hot water with 1 tsp freshly grated lemon or ginger up to 3 times a day.
- Daily dry massage with silk gloves (or make a simple mitt from a piece of folded silk) or a natural fiber skin brush.
- Daily oil massage can smooth and tighten the skin as well as stimulate the lymphatic system. Mix 3 drops of lavender and 2 drops of juniper with 20 ml sweet almond oil to stimulate the circulation and help reduce fluid retention (rosemary, fennel, lemon and orange reduce fluid retention as well).
- Aromatherapy: Juniper oil in bath
Nature and Light Therapy
Be sure to get out into the sunshine at least 20 minutes a day. Daily walks in natural areas, especially with water, are soothing and balancing to all doshas.
See recommendations for your dosha and our Eating Plan for more information,
Yoga texts recommend balance in eating, but impose few rules. The Bhavagad Gita recommends foods that promote vitality, strength, health, and joy - these are whole foods. Consume grains, vegetable, fruit, pure water. Do not eat too little nor too much and vary your diet. Limit bitter, pungent, sour or very hot foods.
Reduce dried out, reheated or overly processed food in your diet.
Food cravings may stem from a deficiency. Be sure to incorporate the Six Tastes (sweet, sour, salty, bitter, astringent, pungent) into your daily diet. See your dosha type for recommended foods. Also, aromas such as jasmine, sandalwood, and mint reduce food cravings.
According the Ayurveda, all foods contain 6 tastes. Each taste affects each dosha.
The Six Tastes
Sweet: Reduces Vata & Pitta. Increases Kapha.
Sour: Reduces Vata. Increases Pitta and Kapha.
Salty. Reduces Vata. Increases Pitta and Kapha.
Pungent: Reduces Kapha. Increases Pitta and Vata.
Bitter: Reduces Pitta and Kapha. Increases Vata.
Astringent: Reduces Pitta and Kapha. Increases Vata.
Everyone needs a small amount of each of the 6 tastes every day. As excess weight is usually an imbalance in your Kapha element, increase use of pungent, bitter,and astringent foods. Consume smaller portions of sweet, sour, and salty.
Fruit: apples, apricots, bananas, cherries, dates, figs, purple red & black grapes, mango, melon, orange, peaches, pears, plums, pomegranates.
Vegetables: artichokes, asparagus, bell peppers, potatoes, tomatoes.
Grains: corn, millet, oats, rice, wheat.
Dairy: butter, cream, milk, yogurt.
Fruit: apples, unripe bananas, cherries, cranberries, figs, lemon, peaches, pears, plums, pomegranates, raspberries, strawberries.
Vegetables: alfalfa sprouts, artichokes, asparagus, beans, bell peppers, broccoli, okra, peas, zucchini.
Herbs: goldenseal, lotus seed, turmeric.
Fruit: grapefruit, lemon, lime, plums, raspberries, tangerine.
Dairy: cheese, sour cream, yogurt.
Fruit: green grapes, oranges, pomegranate, raspberries.
Vegetables: cabbage, broccoli, brussel sprouts, garlic, hot peppers, onions, radishes,turnips.
Dairy: cottage cheese.
Fruit: lime, bitter melon, rhubarb.
Vegetables: asparagus, spinach.
Herbs: fenugreek, dandelion root.
This list is simply an introduction, as our plan does not emphasize precise food control. For more information, see The Ayurveda Encyclopedia by Swami Sada Shiva Tirtha.
RECOMMENDED DAILY SCHEDULE
Drink hot water with lemon or ginger
Clean Tongue & Teeth
Oil or Dry Massage
Meditation and/or Yoga
Walking Meditation and/or Yoga