Yoga is a fantastic way to lose weight with very little risk of injury. The wonderful mental effects it has on us can also make noticeable difference on our body.
If you dedicate some time to do yoga every day, you will notice that chronic pain is reduced. So, does yoga help lose weight? Nowadays many yoga problems were designed to help people with certain problems and what they also found is people would lose weight.
How Does Yoga Help You Lose Weight
We usually think of weight loss happening through the strict process of eating low fat foods and doing high-intensity activities that burn calories. While it is recommended to use up more calories than you consume to lose weight, yoga is a gentle assist to help you. A yoga teacher can attest to the unlimited potential that yoga has to make you healthy inside, out. It happens in an indirect way which we will discuss.
Yoga Supports High Intensity Exercise
The nice thing about yoga is it also enhances any work out you’re doing as your main means of losing weight. Yoga improves your mobility and flexibility so you can lift heavier weights.
You also learn how to hold your posture the right way to avoid injury during your intense workout. Lastly, yoga works the core in a gentle but acute way which protects your back and holds you in the right position.
Yoga Helps You Alter Your Mind
The physiological effects of yoga are subtle but you will notice them when you start practicing daily. Yoga does influence your mind when you do certain poses, this was intentional when the sages developed yoga in India. The poses relax the mind and sends messages to the muscles to relax.
As the mind can change the body, the body can also change the mind. The kidneys are where we hold stress. When you stretch out or massage this area, the mind reacts by relaxing. Tension can cause binging so staying mentally in tuned and centered can prevent you from seeking out unhealthy foods to help calm you.
You will find that you are more centered in all parts of your life. When you can allow it to touch the parts of your life that need it, you’ll experience less stress, less feelings of isolation, and reduced sadness. Yoga helps you to focus better which means you’re more capable of getting things done in life. This also helps to relieve unwanted stress.
Yoga Aids Us in Being Gentle on Ourselves
Weight gain is often attributed by our own thoughts and emotions that back up those thoughts. Yoga allows you to pinpoint the heart of the issue so you can overcome it. Then, there is no emotional eating. What is probably happening right now is you want to lose weight desperately and are trying everything.
You push past your previous limits quickly and expect that you’ll see a benefit because you’re legitimately suffering. In many cases, it doesn’t work as fast as you expect. The discomfort you’re experiencing probably doesn’t show the benefits you expect. This can feel pretty discouraging which can easily cause you to beat yourself up. This puts you in jeopardy of emotional eating and risking all your efforts.
If you’ve ever tried to lose weight, you know the wicked cycle that ensues but you may not know that the key is being gentle on yourself. If you are craving something, you can become skilled at accepting the craving. This can often prevent you from eating whatever you’re craving at the moment. If you do succumb to temptation, you can accept that and all the guilt with compassion for yourself. You’re not making excuses, you’re simply accepting that it happened and not berating yourself for it.
The way to practice this type of self-kindness is through yoga and the mindfulness limb of it. When you can center yourself through the waves of emotion that happen throughout weight loss, you’re less likely to become undone and binge. It’s a great practice to incorporate when you’re looking to lose some weight.
Yoga Promotes Body Health
As your spirit and your mind becomes more in tuned with life, you’ll find that the body will ensue. It will be less likely that you’ll crave empty carbs on a regular basis. When you finish a yoga class for example, you feel elevated in your spirit. Eating sugar after that will cause you to become unfocused and it will feel awful.
That old reward will begin to feel like a punishment. The mind will change how it feels about the food that doesn’t sit well in your body. Yoga also makes you more aware so you’ll feel the acute stabbing pain from indigestion. You’ll kill your good vibrations because those processed foods and sweets affect your brain chemistry.
The body is going to want natural nutrients like salads, nuts, root vegetables and fruit. When you crave something sweet, you’ll reach out for mango, strawberries, or a banana.
Yoga Melts off Belly Fat
Slow poses that you hold for a long time have been shown to melt off belly fat. Restorative yoga doesn’t take a lot of energy to do. It does take patience and the willingness to sit with slight discomfort as you stretch out muscles acutely. These slow poses also burn fat from the body which is how you get rid of the layer of fat that sits over your belly. It’s challenging to get rid of this fat even if the rest of your body has lost fat.
How does it work? Well, your belly fat is closely connected to the stress you put your body through. We’re not talking physical stress but the mental anxiety you put yourself through. Fat collects on the body as a manifestation of stress due to high levels of cortisol. If you can create a constant feeling of relaxation in yourself, you’ll collect less fat on the belly.
An regular aerobic workout is going to really burn the belly fat but yoga does its part by preventing a further build-up of belly fat.
Yoga may not burn calories the way other exercises do but it does help you to manage emotions and change brain chemistry. You make better choices and hone the skill of the sacred pause. Life doesn’t become so overwhelming that you have to use vices to cope. Your mind, body, and soul are harmonious and this helps you maintain a positive, loving attitude towards yourself. This deep, internal work does so much for your weight loss efforts.
Meera Watts is a yoga teacher, entrepreneur and mom. Her writing on yoga and holistic health has appeared in Elephant Journal, CureJoy, FunTimesGuide, OMtimes and others. She’s also the founder and owner of Siddhi Yoga International, a yoga teacher training school based in Singapore. Siddhi Yoga runs intensive, residential trainings in India (Rishikesh, Goa and Dharamshala), Indonesia (Bali).