Yoga is a practice that encompasses mental, physical, spiritual, and emotional development that enables you to create a healthier you – ultimately, the best version of you. This is the reason why most people who are into weight loss therapy want to incorporate yoga into their program. This became a topic of the debate a few years back, but now most experts agree that yoga could make a great tool in helping you lose weight, particularly the more active types of yoga.
For Diane Byster, LMFT, “Yoga is a personal conversation between the body, mind, and breath that is designed to calm the fluctuations of the mind. When we practice the art of Pranayama (breath awareness) and Asana (poses), we develop strength, internal and external flexibility, and balance, and we cultivate traits such as patience, gratitude, and perseverance, as well as calming the mind.”
Additionally, you might also realize that the awareness, relaxation, and mindfulness that you have instilled in yourself through the practice help you in your weight loss journey as well.
Here are some of the ways that yoga and its principles aids in bringing about a slimmer and healthier life.
- Yoga Develops Mindfulness. This is one of the primary goals of the practice – developing mindfulness and awareness of self and others around you. When you possess this quality, you become more cognizant of how good and bad foods affect your body, mind, and soul. Yoga instructors share that when they acquired mindfulness, they did much better in being able to distinguish healthy eating, emotional eating, and comfort eating. They were also more aware of their limitations, so they knew when to stop eating.
Frank Baird, LMFT, says, “An ever increasing body of research demonstrates the many positive benefits of mindfulness and meditation for you, your brain, your body, your relationships, your workplace, your community, your world.”
On the other hand, there is also another way in which people lose weight through yoga as well. This was seen in a 2017 study about mindfulness training, which reported to have had positive benefits when it came to binge eating and participating in physical activities. The weight loss effects were not directly seen, but it was concluded that weight loss is visible with longer periods of mindfulness training. Yoga with mindfulness helps you decide to choose the right food choices before and after doing the practice.
- Regular Yoga Improves Sleep. Yoga may be slow or fast, but after going through a session of poses and salutations regularly, the body and mind are relaxed and exhausted, making you fall asleep easily and deeply at night. A proven fact is that when you are deprived of sleep, you tend to lose less fat than those who regularly sleep normal hours. A guided relaxation technique called Yoga Nidra improves sleep and increases awareness and mindfulness. Setting your intentions of losing weight during your Nidra practice strengthens your will to lose weight.
A 2018 study on a group of employees doing regular yoga Nidra for a total of eight weeks revealed that indeed there was an increase in their mindfulness levels, including an awareness of the importance of sleep on their well-being. Consequently, the longer they practiced, the bigger their improvement.
- Some Types of Yoga Can Burn A Lot Of Calories. Yoga is not known to be an aerobic activity. However, Ashtanga, power yoga, and Vinyasa are some yoga types that can easily help you burn hundreds of calories per session. These require movement almost continually, adding to the fact that they are usually done in hot yoga studios to reach your goal of calorie-burning further. If muscle tone and improved metabolism are among your priorities, you can stick to regular Vinyasa and Ashtanga as well.
Restorative yoga, a slower type of yoga, does not do much physical activity but surprisingly it still aids in weight loss, as it has been found to effectively do just that in overweight women, including their abdominal fat. This fact is particularly promising for those who are on the heavy side and are not able to do strenuous forms of yoga.
Doing Yoga Everyday
Is this healthy? Yes, of course! In fact, if your goal is weight loss, you are encouraged to practice yoga as often as you can. Power or Ashtanga yoga four times a week would be great, while on other days you can do Hatha or restorative yoga for relaxation. If you are just planning to start your practice now, do it slowly until you feel that you are ready to build it up. You are not advised to go straight to the vigorous yoga practices because you might injure yourself, as you are not yet strong and flexible enough.
When you have mastered a routine or yoga program of your own, you can combine your practice with activities like hiking, jogging, swimming, or biking to reap more cardiovascular benefits.
You must commit to doing your practice regularly, with the promise to make it harder for you every time you are used to the same routines. You don’t have to be in a hurry to promote yourself to the next level. Small changes and simple goals are better than those difficult ones that might cause you to fail.
According to Monika Summerfield, LMFT, “As yoga techniques are researched and new data is gathered, there is hope for being able to help more and more people — not only with symptom relief but also with a cure. The side effects of Yoga therapy are considerably low. As more research is published it is becoming easier for science and the medical field to recognize and promote the benefits of Yoga therapy.”
As you grow more aware and you deepen your love for your practice, you will also have more appeal for the right choices of food and a healthier way of life. You are most likely to achieve your weight loss goal and will probably even accomplish far more than that.