Yoga is a practice that has been around for thousands of years and is still practiced by millions of people today. It’s a great way to exercise, unwind and relax, and many studies have shown that it is beneficial for one’s overall health and well-being. In fact, while yoga isn’t always touted as a weight loss tool, it has been shown to reduce stress and help people lose weight.
Have you ever seen a fat yoga instructor? I haven’t.
I believe that yoga practice is an important part of your overall health and well-being, not just for losing weight. Not only does yoga reduce stress and help you to relax, but it can also improve your immune system, boost your energy levels and improve your sleep patterns.
It’s no secret that a regular yoga practice is beneficial for your body. And if for some reason you can’t do a high-impact workout at the gym, yoga is probably an excellent alternative. Let’s look at 3 benefits of yoga that all assist with weight loss.
1. Yoga Can Help With Mindful Eating
Mindfulness happens when a person focuses on living in the present moment. Practicing mindfulness when eating is an often-forgotten strategy to losing weight and weight maintenance – which is why I have it right here at the top of the group.
When you practice mindful eating, you’re less likely to overeat. It’s the absent-minded shoveling of food into one’s mouth while not paying attention that really packs on calories. Automatic eating is a leading cause of weight gain.
This is why diet tracking apps tend to work so well. They force a person to actually think about what they’re eating which helps them to lose weight and be more cognizant of their calorie counts.
2. Yoga Helps Reduce Stress
Anyone who knows just a little bit about yoga know that it reduces stress. In fact, most forms of exercise help to reduce stress. What people frequently forget is that when we are constantly in a state of high stress, we tend to eat more and we don’t pay attention to what we eat.
Stress can cause a lot of problems including weight gain, heart disease, & high blood pressure. When we’re stressed, we tend to over eat; it’s part of the human physiology. If stress causes you to eat more calories than you need, yoga can help you learn how to deal with stress in a healthy way which will help with your weight.
3. Yoga Helps Improve Sleep
The benefits of a good sleep are numerous. In fact, a poor slumber can really mess up a lot of functions in the body. You’re more likely to control your weight successfully (and live a longer life) if you are getting enough deep sleep every night.
Yoga and other forms of exercise are known to promote a healthy sleep. There are several good poses specifically for this purpose listed over at Yoga Journal. Most of these poses are in more relaxing positions such as the Viparita Karani or “Legs Up the Wall Pose” which is actually used by Navy Seals in order to quickly fall asleep in tense situations.
4. Yoga Improves Muscle Tone
If you practice many of the tougher power poses and poses that focus on balance, you’ll undoubtedly improve your overall muscle tone. Good strong muscles build calories throughout the day and they make you feel really good about yourself.
It’s really hard to beat yoga as a form of low-impact exercise that can still build strength and muscle. And all that muscle building burns a ton of calories which helps keep your weight under control even on off days when you don’t feel like exercise.
Balance poses are also very beneficial for mental clarity. And while that doesn’t necessarily affect weight directly, it can indirectly help you with paying attention to food without being so distracted, which in turn helps to reduce over eating and the resulting weight gain.
5. Yoga Increases Energy
Those who practice yoga often report a boost in energy throughout the day. More energy is always a great benefit because it helps you stay active, which in turn helps to shed those unwanted pounds.
It’s pretty obvious that if you’re low on energy, you’re likely to avoid exercise and gain weight or stumble in your weight loss journey. Yoga practice will help to improve your health simply with the increase in energy you’ll get from it.
Weight Loss with Yoga – Final Thoughts
Yoga is a highly beneficial form of exercise that can help you build muscle, burn calories, and lose weight. The mechanisms for losing weight go far beyond the 5 points in this article, and I encourage you to do additional research on the subject. Keep a journal of your progress and take time to truly practice the poses so you can get them right. Balance is key.
As you get in better shape, your mind will begin choosing healthy foods instead of unhealthy foods. Once the momentum builds up, you’ll quickly find yourself approaching your goal weight and unlike fad diets, you’ll actually be able to stay there. Yoga exercises the mind and body in perfect balance and harmony.