Yoga for Weight Loss – What Does Science Say?

Yoga for Weight Loss – What Does Science Say?

What’s Inside –

Weight Loss – The Struggle

Weight loss is perhaps one of the most frequently made New Year resolutions, and the most broken one too. People may either find it hard to take the time out of their lives and commit to an hour in the gym, the pain of losing out on indulgent treats may be too much, or they may simply not see how some effort today can lead to good health tomorrow.

Whatever the reason may be, the modern lifestyle is surely not conducive to weight loss, especially when you add lifestyle factors such as processed food, alcohol and smoking, and the sedentary lifestyle promoted by our office and home responsibilities.

In such a scenario, if you do decide to exercise, it becomes important to choose a practice that you know will certainly bring results. After all, you do not want to spend all of that time, effort and money only to not see any changes, right? Well, this is the reason why you should take up yoga.

Yoga for Weight Loss – Does it Work?

Yes! Multiple studies have shown that yoga is one of the best practices that you can undertake for weight loss. Many mistakenly assume that the slow pace of yoga means that you do not burn any calories. But those who practice the discipline know that the burn of yoga lies in assuming the correct pose, which can be quite a challenge, and in the strengthening of the entire body. Yoga can also work at the mental level to stimulate weight loss. Here are some major ways how yoga can boost your weight loss regimen –

  • Gentle to Beginners – For those who struggle with obesity, injuries or a very low level of fitness, hitting the treadmills of weighing machines may not be ideal. Why? Because in such cases, the body may lack the flexibility and strength to actually gain from these workouts. This is where yoga comes in. It has a set of basic asanas that can be done by virtually anybody, and modifications abound to help people learn other poses. This helps in strengthening the body and increasing its flexibility, thus making it ready for the more intense forms of exercises, including advanced versions of yoga.
  • Sleep Better – One often neglected part of weight loss is sleep. Deep sleep in particular is important, as it helps your body repair itself at the cellular level, and provides you with the restorative break that helps you get ready for the next day. Yoga has been found to improve both the quantity and quality of sleep, and also helps in reducing cases of insomnia or distrubed sleep. Thus, yoga can directly impact your weight loss by improving sleep quality, and also indirectly by making sure that you are well-rested enough to make the best of your workout.
  • Mindfulness – Even the relaxing practices of yoga, such as meditation, can help you lose weight. If you look closely at your eating pattern, you may find that you usually do not pay any heed to what goes into your mouth. We often eat while bored, or while watching our screens, which means we often tend to overeat and eat junk food.Practicing yoga can help you keep in touch with your body, so that you are better aware of when you are full, and the discipline that comes from the practice can also help you in resisting cravings. Since yoga is performed on an empty stomach, centering your eating habits around your sessions can lead to better and more wholesome food choices. 
  • Stress ReductionPerhaps one of the most common contributors to weight gain outside of eating and exercising habits is stress. At a physical level, the stress hormone cortisol can encourage the body to preserve its energy, which can mean an increase in your appetite. At a mental level, the negative thoughts and emotions may lead to you reaching for a pastry instead of broccoli as you look to make yourself feel better. (https://teledentistry.com/) Thus, long term stress can mean that you eat more junk. Yoga has long been recognized for its stress-reduction capacities, and these can help you shed off fat too.
  • Confidence – Struggling to lose weight can often take an emotional and mental toll on you, and compromise your self-esteem and confidence. Yoga above all focuses on developing a mindful and positive connection to your body, one that is focused on its capacities and abilities rather than how it looks. Thus, yoga can help you improve your relationship with your body, making you more mindful of its needs and limitations, which in turn can mean better weight loss. 

Some Points to Keep in Mind- 

  • To get the best of yoga, make sure you practice under an expert teacher who is well-versed in the discipline. Attempting asanas by yourself without any supervision can lead to strain or injuries.
  • Remember that yoga is only one component towards weight loss – one that can help you in other avenues (such as diet control) too, but in the end, you have to make a conscious choice and actively work on your sleep, eating, and outlook. Only practicing yoga in itself will not bring you the results you seek.
  • Do not reach for the most complex pose that you can think of in the first go. Instead, honor your body and slowly build up your level. As your strength and flexibility increase, so will your capacities.
  • Truly sustainable weight loss takes time. Do not feel beaten if you do not see immediate results. Remember  that you are not just working towards weight loss, but also better health, and you will find yourself improving in many quaters, such as relaxation, flexibility, and mindfulness, before your waistline shows results. 

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