Obesity & its Management with Ayurveda


Acharya charaka has included Atisthool in eight varieties of impediments, which are designated as ‘Ashta Nindita Purusha’. Obesity is common lifestyle disorder in this era. Obesity specifically refers to an excessive amount of a body fat. Obesity is defined as an excessively high amount of body fat or adipose tissue in relation to lean body mass. In Ayurvedic classics the disease is described with due importance to its pathological implications at tissue metabolism (Dhatuparinama) and digestive process (Agnivyapara). So that obesity is a health problem, of affluence worldwide prevalence and it is considered as the insidious creeping pandemic which is now engulfing the entire world. Because change in lifestyle, food and economic status create many lifestyle disease like obesity, DM, Idiopathic Heart Disease, Hypertension, Depression etc. Pranayama techniques increase the lung capacity and help burning fats. Regular practice of Pranayama like Viparita Karni, Kunjal and Shankha Prakashaiana, Kati Chakrasana, Halasan, Matsyasan and Ushtrasana and surya namaskar. brings balance in the system in terms of Physical and Mental functions.

Key wordsSthoulya, Obesity, Dietary Habits, Lifestyle, Pranayam.


Sthualya is described as excessive and abnormal increase of meda dhatu along with mamsa dhatu resulting in pendulous appearance of buttocks, belly and breasts, however increased bulk is not matched by corresponding increase in energy. The present epidemic of overweight and obesity in the whole world is an unintended consequence of the economical social and technological advances realized during the past several decades. The obesity as described as ‘Medoroga’ is Ayurvedic and said that comparatively it is easy to help an underweight person rather that overweight. The obesity can either be due to an actual increase in fat component (Medo dhatu) or due to malfunctioning of fat metabolism. Body is made of seven dhatus i.e. rasa, rakta, mamsa, meda, asthi, majja, shukra but obese are nourished excessively by meda dhatu and other remaining dhatus get malnourished, kapha gets accumulated in between ,when kapha increased in abnormal fashion, fat metabolism is hampered and person becomes obese. Obesity is the condition in which the natural energy reserve stored in the fatty tissue of the body is increased to a point where it is associated with certain health condition or increased mortality. Obesity is an increased fat contained in the body and now major health problem in India. Obesity has reached epidemic proportion in India in the 21st century affecting 5% of the country population. India is following a trend of other developing countries that are steadily becoming more obese. Recent survey shows 60% middle age working class Indian in Mumbai where overweight and 30% children in Delhi elite schools were in the same category.

Causes of Sthaulya Roga

  • Avyama (Lack of exercise)
  • Achintana (Not thinking much)
  • Divaswapna (Daysleep)
  • Harshanitya (Always enjoying happiness)
  • Sleshmalaaaharasevana (Diet which causes incease in kapha)
  • Slemavardhakavihara (Life style which cause increase in kapha)
  • Atisampurana (excessive intake of food which are difficult to digest)
  • Beejaswabhava (Hereditory)
  • Avyavaya (No Sexual relation) .

Pathogenesis of Sthaulya – Sthoulya is a dushya predominant disorder in pathogenesis of sthoulya, all the three doshas are vitiated especially Kledakapha, Pachaka pitta, Samana & Vyanavayu. In physiological conditions jathragni nourishes subsequent Dhatwaagni & Bhutagni. Sthualya result from derangement of Dhatwagni. According to Sushrut, it is Rasanittajavyadhi. Due to intake of kapha predominant aahara. Diwaswapna and avyama vitiated Rasadhatu circulates whole body, produces medas and causes Sthoulya.

Prevention of Obesity

  • Prevention is better than cure. You must take precaution rather following treatment after increase in weight. Once you are obese it is difficult to treat yourself.
  • Avoid excess eating, eating during indigestion or just after taking previous meal.
  • Avoid day sleeping, sleep in night after one hour of your dinner.
  • Do regular exercises like brisk walking running swimming etc. avoid sedentary and lethargic lifestyle.
  • Take non-vegetarian food, in moderate quantity. Remove fat from meat & skin from chicken.
  • Don’t consume excessive alcoholic drinks or water on empty stomach.
  • Try to minimize excessive oil and ghee in cooking.
  • Intake of fat and carbohydrates should be restricted.

Ayurvedic Management of Obesity

A. Pranayam
B. Yoga
Natural Herbal Treatment.

A. Pranayam Bhastrika Pranayam

B. Yoga

  • Sarvangasana (the shoulder stand pose)
  • Padahastasana (the forward bending asana)
  • Dhanurasana (the bow pose)
  • Paschimottanasana (the back stretching pose)
  • Ardha-Matsyendrasana (the half spinal twist pose)
  • Bhujangasana (the cobra pose)
  • Pavan Muktasan (the wind releasing pose)

C. Natural Herbal Treatment

  • Regular practice of Viparita Karni, Kunjal and Shankha Prakashaiana, Kati Chakrasana, Halasan, Matsyasan and Ushtrasana and surya namaskar.
  • Guduchi helps in the proper analyzing of fats in the body.
  • Guggulu reduces fat accumulation in body.
  • Amla, Haritiki is also required quiet effective.Indian Gooseberry contains vitamin C that disintegrates fatty buildup in the body.
  • 1 tsp guggulu + Ginger + Honeyt an Ayurveic alternative for obesity.
  • ½ tsp of chitrak + kutki + trikatu is used as ayurvedic medicine in sthualya.
  • Shilajita along with the juice of Agnimantha works well.
  • Powder of yava and amalaki
  • Green gram and horse gram.
  • Devdaru, musta, triphala, takrarishta with madhu.
  • Take honey water early in the morning.
  •  Fresh pineapple juice, hot peppers juice and pimentos are benefit.


According to charaka, sthula purusha have kapha dominant prakirti. Charaka also mentioned the role of nidra in sthaulya. Obese patients are always fond of eating & have satmya to all type of rasa. Madhura, guru, singdha & sheeta properties aggravate kapha as well as meda on the basis of sarvada sarva bhavanam samanyam vriddhi karanam Kapha & Meda are main dosha and Dushya respectively in samprapti of sthaulya. Adhyashana & virudhashana can produce Aam dosha and Agnimandya, root cause of sthaulya.Godhuma, shali, sarpi, dadhi, cold drinks and junk foods have similar properties attributes to meda on the basis of sarvada sarva bhavanam samanyam vriddhi karanam principles.

According to western system of medicine the diet containing sweet, heavy, unctuous, cold properties have always high calorie value and excessive indulgences of high calorie diet is well established etiological factor of obesity, because extra calorie will be converted into fat and stored in the cells (fat cells), later increase in the number and size of fat cell.


The obesity danger disease under 10 in the world. The sedentary life style, lack of physical exercise, faulty dietary habits (excessive intake of sweet, heavy, unctuous and cold food items) and urbanization precipitate the disease sthaulya. Kapha prakriti persons are more prone to obesity so they should be advised proper diet regimens and exercise. Pranayama techniques increase the lung capacity and help burning fats. Regular practice of Pranayama brings balance in the system in terms of Physical and Mental functions.

(1) AstangHridaya, By Kaviraj AtriDev Gupta, Chaukhambha Prakashan,Varanasi, 2007.
(2) SusrutaSamhita, By Kaviraj Ambika Dutta Shastri, Chaukhambha Sanskrit Sansthan, Varanasi, 2009.
(3) CharakSamhita, By DrBrahmaNandTripathi, Chaukhambha Surbharati Prakashan, Varanasi, 2004.
(4). Sachrita Yoga & Ayurveda, Dr Shivacharan Dhyani, Chaukhambha Orientalia, Varanasi, Reprinted 1996.
(5). Sachitra Yogasan Darshika, Dr Indra Mohan Jha “Sacchhan”, Chaukhambha Sanskrit Series, Varanasi, Reprinted 2002.


More by :  Dr. Rishikant Vashistha

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