Yoga comes with many health benefits, from strengthening muscles to improving sleep to reducing stress but can it assist your weight loss efforts?
Yoga is tied to weight loss and weight maintenance due to a handful of factors including energy expenditure during yoga sessions, encouraging more exercise by reducing back and joint pain, heightening mindfulness, improving mood and reducing stress, and feeling more connected to your body, satiety, and eating habits.
There are 3 main ways yoga can assist with maintaining weight.
- Yoga can help manage stress
Stress can contribute to weight gain. Breathwork and meditation are the foundations of yoga practice, and both lead to increased energy, improved mood, and stress reduction. Cortisol levels might rise as a result of stress, which is one of the key contributing factors between stress and weight gain. Cortisol accelerates fat and carbohydrate metabolism, resulting in an increase in energy in your body. While this process is necessary for survival, it also increases your appetite. Elevated cortisol levels can also trigger cravings for sweet, fatty, and salty foods.
- Yoga can assist with mindful eating
On a yoga mat, you are not only strengthening your muscles, but you are also learning and practicing mindfulness, which may aid in the practice of mindful eating habits. Mindful eating is the process of recognizing your hunger cues, which aids in the reduction of binge eating. You can train yourself to focus on foods that bring health benefits rather than those that make you feel sluggish or bloated. Learning these techniques will help you stick to your eating plan, giving you a leg up on your weight loss quest.
- Yoga helps build muscle
Yoga can also aid with weight loss and maintenance by increasing muscle mass. When we practice yoga, we use our own body weight to provide resistance. Because your entire body is being used, everything gets a workout. For example, while maintaining a plank pose, you are engaging muscles in your core, hips, shoulders, and legs to hold the pose, and transitioning into another pose, such as Cobra, stimulates another set of muscles, including your forearms.
Studies have shown that yoga can assist your weight loss efforts as it can aid in the reduction of waist-hip ratio as well as lowering body mass index (BMI).
If you want to incorporate yoga into your weight loss regimen, remember that the key to success is to begin slowly. You must gradually increase your flexibility and strength. Make adjustments as needed, choose a type of yoga that meets your needs, and modify poses that you can’t fully accomplish when you first start. While there are many 10-22 minute beginner tutorials available on platforms such as YouTube, consider enrolling in a beginner’s class to get started, as it is critical to engage in a practice that you can sustain and stick with. Yoga is a habit that you will need to develop gradually and incorporate more than once a week.