As we age and our lifestyles catch up with us (read increased hours sitting on the desk and staring at the computer, eating fast food mindlessly and ODing on caffeine to keep the eyes open) the first thing to crash is our metabolism — the process through which the body breaks down food into nutrients and decides what to keep and what not to.
A slow metabolism (aka hypothyroidism) means that the body stores more fat and absorbs less nutrients. Not just does this leave you on the wrong side of the weighing scale, but also in danger of suffering from high cholesterol, high blood sugar and high blood pressure and poor blood circulation. Try yoga which will not only get you in great shape but also boost your overall health (a slow metabolism is linked to poor immune system). Yoga asanas focus on different areas in the body, helping you target the systems that are holding your metabolism back. Here are six asanas that will do just that for you: GARUDASANA Stand with knees slightly bent. Now lift your right leg and cross it over your left thigh, and hook your foot behind your left calf. Now, sink your hips down as you would if you were sitting on a chair. Cross your arms at your elbows and wrists in front of your chest. Hold for 45 seconds and return to start position and then switch sides. In addition to building strong, lean leg muscles, this pose energises the entire body and helps with digestion. SALABHASANA
Lie down on your stomach with arms next to your body. Slowly, lift your head, upper body, arms, and legs off the floor, as high as you can. Hold for 45 seconds before releasing. Slowly return to start position. Repeat thrice. This helps improve your metabolism by strengthening the muscles in your legs and lower back. SETU BANDHASANA
Lie on your back with knees bent, legs placed slightly apart and feet flat on the floor. Try to touch your heels with your fingertips. If not, bring your heels closer. Now, lift your hips up towards the ceiling. Bring your arms underneath your body and try to clasp your hands together. Hold for 45 seconds. Release and roll slowly back to the floor. Repeat twice. Because the chest is lifted up towards the chin, the thyroid gland is massaged.
SARVANGASANA Lie on your back with arms along the body, palms facing the floor. Lift your legs and bring them to the Halasana pose. Bring your hands to your lower back for support, ensuring that your fingers are spread wide. Slowly, lift your legs to the ceiling, one leg at a time. Try to get them as straight as possible by placing your hands close to your shoulders. Beginners should stay in the pose for 30 seconds and gradually increase the time until it is comfortable to stay for five minutes. This pose stimulates your thyroid gland and stretches your neck and spine. MATSYASANA
Lie on your back. Place your palms under your buttocks. Raise your elbows and lean on them by pressing them into the floor. Lift your chest up toward the ceiling so your back is arched. Bring your elbows towards each other and drop your head back towards the floor. This pose stretches the front of the neck and calms the body. HALASANA
Lie on your back and lift your legs. Bring your arms alongside your body with palms down. Press into your hands and lift your legs over your head. Hold for 30 seconds. This pose increases circulation in your thyroid, adrenal, and pituitary glands. This helps send out feelgood endorphins and hormones throughout your body, balancing your metabolic system.