Learning to find a body-mind connection, tapping into mindfulness and joy, and becoming more flexible and strong – these are many of the results of practising yoga.
But can yoga help you lose weight? New research says that yes, it can! Read on to learn about yoga facilitates weight loss and how to get started.
Yoga Improves Your Awareness
The mental aspects of yoga mean that you learn to develop mindfulness. As you practice yoga, you increase your awareness on many levels, not just how your body feels in certain poses.
This awareness can make you more conscious about how certain foods affect your body, mind and spirit.
As you regularly do yoga, you may find that you just naturally choose wholesome foods because they feel better for you. You may also chew more mindfully which will decrease the likelihood of overeating.
You will also become more in tune with and conscious of your body so that you notice as soon as you are full and will then stop eating.
Research backs these claims. A 2016 study found that those who develop mindfulness through yoga are better able to resist unhealthy eating and eating for comfort.
Yoga and Stress Levels
One of the ways that you can lose weight with yoga is due to lower stress levels. Most of us know that stress is harmful to both our bodies and minds.
Researchers at Yale University did a study that concluded that women who experienced significant levels of stress were more likely to have belly fat.
While there’s no way to avoid the stressors we face in life, we can learn to reduce their impact on our bodies with yoga. Then, on top of feeling calmer, we can enjoy less belly fat. That’s a win-win!
Yoga and Better Sleep
One of the biggest benefits of regular yoga is that you will enjoy better sleep. You will fall asleep quickly and easily at night when you consistently do yoga.
Lack of sleep is tied to weight gain. For one thing, when people aren’t getting enough sleep, they are more likely to turn to unhealthy foods like a doughnut or muffin in the early morning for a boost in energy.
Also, when you aren’t sleeping well, it is very hard to get the motivation and energy to do a workout or be physically active.
A 2018 study found that people who had restricted sleep five times per week lost less fat than the group that followed their normal sleeping patterns.
As you get into the habit of regular yoga practice, you will start to see the pounds melt off. Plus, you will find it easier to be active and make better food choices.
So, Can Yoga Help You Lose Weight?
So far we’ve talked about how the effects of yoga can help with weight loss. But now let’s turn to the big question: can yoga help you lose weight?
In 2005, medical researcher and yogi Alan Kristal, studied the weight-loss effects of yoga. They studied people who did 30-minutes (or more) of yoga a week for four or more years.
He and his colleagues found that yogis who were overweight lost around 5 pounds. During the same time period, those not practising yoga gained 14 pounds.
Evidently, yoga can help you avoid the middle-age spread and stay around 20 pounds lighter than you would if you didn’t practice yoga.
How to Lose Weight With Yoga
If you want to lose weight by doing yoga, you need to be mindful of the type of yoga you do.
Restorative and Hatha yoga may not be what you need to lose weight. You want to stick to hot yoga, Bikram, and power yoga to help you burn the most calories.
The great thing about these types of yoga is that you will hold difficult positions that will shake your muscles and core. Plus, your heart rate will soar.
Power yoga focuses on large muscle groups which help crank up the calorie burn. Lungers and warrior poses burn more calories that poses that focus on smaller muscle groups. Plus, power yoga moves through the poses much more quickly for an aerobic workout.
Making Yoga Work for You
The best way to lose weight with yoga is to combine it with other forms of aerobic exercise and resistance training. The more you get your heart pumping and your muscles firing, the better for you.
If you want to stick to just yoga alone, you can. Just be diligent about practising yoga consistently, whether in class or at home.
Also, be sure you are always pushing yourself to your edge. This is the place where your body feels challenged but not overtaxed.
Remember, yoga is about peace and positivity. Make sure you combine your yoga with positive self-talk. Be kind to yourself and be proud of your efforts.
While it’s true yoga can help you lose weight, you can also get so much more from your practice including increased discipline. patience, kindness, wisdom and mindfulness. Don’t overlook the value of these gains by focusing too much on the scale.
Thanks for reading! As you can see, yoga can help you avoid emotional eating and overeating. It can help you make better nutrition choices, sleep better, lower your stress and ultimately lose weight.
The main thing to remember is that yoga is all about the mind and body working together.
So the next time someone asks you, “can yoga help you lose weight?” you’ll know what to say.
Next, check out our other weight loss articles to help you learn more about your journey to better health.