Yoga for Weight Loss

YogaDo you ever feel the need to slow down? Do you feel like adding exercise into your weight loss plan is impossible because you are already too busy? When you do have extra time, you probably want to use it to relax, not exercise. Fortunately, there is something you can do to both relax and lose weight: Yoga. Not only does yoga calm your mind and body, it has also been proven to contribute to weight loss. It might be just what you need to make exercising fun and to carve out some relaxing time in your week.

Does yoga help you lose weight?

It may seem odd that yoga can help you to shed extra pounds. However, the method has evidence to prove its weight loss abilities. A 2005 study by experts from a cancer research center in Seattle and a yoga practitioner examined the impact of yoga on more than 15,000 people. They found that the people who practiced yoga enjoyed an average of 5 pounds of lost weight over 10 years, as compared to 14 pounds of weight gain in people who did not practice yoga regularly. They concluded that a minimum of one 30-minute session of yoga a week for at least four years can help people lose weight. The result of this study only confirmed what yoga enthusiasts have known for many years: Yoga can be a weight loss tool in addition to offering many other physical and mental benefits.

How does yoga contribute to weight loss?

Because yoga is a form of exercise, it burns calories. While it does not burn calories as quickly as some other forms of exercise (such as aerobic exercise), these burned calories do help you to stay within your caloric goals if you are on a diet.

However, burned calories are not the only secret to yoga’s weight loss abilities. Perhaps even more valuable is its ability to make you more mindful of your body. This type of focus and mindfulness can help you to stop overeating because it makes it easier for you to recognize signals from your body that you are full. You begin to realize when you are truly hungry and when you are eating as a way to manage stress or other emotions.

Finally, yoga may help contribute to weight loss by slowing down your body. When you do yoga, you give your body permission to relax and to come down from the state of high alert that it is in during much of your day. As it relaxes, it regulates its processes, including digestion. The result is a body that is processing food and fat more effectively (as well as keeping you healthier overall).

What is the best type of yoga for weight loss?

The type of yoga you pursue will depend in part on what you want to accomplish. If you want a workout that burns the most calories, power yoga may be the best choice. However, if you want to slow your body down and feel more centered, gentle forms of yoga may be more helpful. Regardless of the type of yoga you choose, you will be aiding your weight loss goals, since all yoga can help you to burn calories and reach a calmer state of mind.

What is the best way to maximize the benefits of yoga?

There are a few things you can do to get the most out of your yoga. First, you should commit to doing yoga regularly (at least once a week) for the long term. If you only attend occasionally, or quit after a couple of months, you will miss out on the long-term physical and mental benefits that come from regularly exercising your body and mind.

Second, you should consult a yoga expert on the best type of yoga for you. Discussing your fitness goals, current health, and expectations for yoga with a yoga teacher can help you to decide what type of yoga (and what yoga poses) might work best for you.

Third, you should combine yoga with a healthy diet. There are some yogic diets created specifically for yoga practitioners that can complement your yoga. Even if you choose not to follow one of these diets, however, simply eating nutritious food, including lots of fruits and vegetables, can help you to lose weight faster.

The next time you come home stressed from the office and think about ordering in a pizza and following it with ice cream, think about whether yoga might be able to help you not only lose weight but also resist the urge to eat unhealthy foods. By calming your mind and exercising your body through yoga, you may feel calmer and healthier no matter how demanding the rest of your life becomes.