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Yoga is one of the richest heritages of India. It is both a philosophy as well as a practical science of healthy living.

In the modern life style the amount of sedentary or semi sedentary work is increasing due to the increase in the technology and labour saving devices. This has led to lack of exercise and life style changes which has been causative factors for many psychosomatic diseases.

Obesity is a multi-factorial disorder which is associated with many other diseases such as Diabetes, Hypertension and other Cardio Vascular diseases.

Yoga practices are known to play significant role in the treatment and prevention of obesity and associated disorders.


Obesity is a condition of excess body weight and is usually the result of excess accumulation of fat in the body. It affects both mind and body of the individual.

Beligian mathematician, Adolphe Quetelet invented body mass index and defined as individual body weight in kgs divided by the square of their height in meters.

i.e. BMI = kg/m2

where kg is the subject weight in kgs and ‘m’ is the subject height in meters

Thus BMI equal to or more than 30 is defined as a condition of obesity.

WHO projects that by 2015 there will be more than 700 million adults will be obese globally and currently they are more than 400 millions

Causes of obesity

The main causes are related to life style:-

1. Diet : Diet is the chief cause of obesity most oftenly over eating that is the intake of calories beyond the body’s energy requirements.

2. Inactivity: Sedentary people are more likely to gain weight because they do not burn calories through physical activities

3. Certain Medications: Corticosteroids, tricyclic antidepressants and anti psychotic medicines can lead to weight gain.

4. Medical problems : Hypothyroidism and excess production of hormones by adrenal glands cause obesity. Arthritis can lead to decrease activity which may result in weight gain.

Clinical Complications of Obesity

The obese body provides a fertile soil for various diseases.

a) Cardio vascular disease and hypertension :The heavy deposition of lipids and cholesterol in the coronary arteries due to obesity causes hypertension and increased risk of cardio vascular disease such as myocardial infarction.

b) Diabetes: Obese body increase insulin resistance which leads to glucose in tolerance and creates the risk of diabetes.

c) Osteo arthritis: The burden on knees and other joints caused due to excess body weight leads to joints pain intern develops risk Osteo arthritis.

d) Psychological problems: Sleep disturbance, body shape dissatisfaction, eating disorders, depression and frustration are also causes due to obesity.

Mechanisms of Yoga practices in the treatment of obesity

Shat Kriyas These are hatha yogic practices and are quite helpful in obesity. They are mean to purify body. They help to balance our emotions and produce a feeling of lightness.

Yogasanas : Asanas gives steadiness and comfortness to the body and mind. In obesity asanas are helpful as they stimulate body metabolism.

Pranayama : The pranayama practices recommended for obesity are Bhastrika, Suryabhedhana along with Nadishodhana which induces calmness. These also helps to cleans the body. Thus helps in reducing weight.

Bandha-mudra : Bandhas and Mudras eliminate energy blockages in the navel area and release power of Manipura chakra.

Meditation techniques : Meditation techniques such as OM Chanting are powerful methods of rapidly relaxing the entire mind and body.

Diet and Nutrition in Yoga

Yoga stresses the importance of maintaining of best possible health of digestive system. In obesity the root cause is eating disorders. This disturbs the absorption and assimilation of the food.. Yoga recommends the food which nourishes the elementary substances (sapta dhatu) of the body.


In a nut shell regular practice Yoga helps to

  1. Maintain normal body weight and prevents obesity
  2. Promotes the positive physical and mental health
  3. Reduces risk of heart diseases and hypertension
  4. Helps to keep bones, muscles and joints healthy
  5. Reduce anxiety, depression