Many people believe that yoga is not fast-paced enough to burn excess amounts of calories. Others say that yoga is actually extremely effective in shedding pounds. Regular yoga practice can influence weight loss, but not in the “traditional” sense of how we link physical activity to weight loss. Typically, weight loss occurs when a person’s caloric intake is less than their caloric expenditure.
Even though yoga is not generally a high intensity exercise, some classes do run 75 to 90 minutes of continual activity, so your muscles are working the whole time, strengthening and lengthening, and working on core strength and balance. All of this helps to tone and strengthen your body which can help with metabolism. Muscles use more energy than fat, so gaining some muscle can help to increase your metabolism.
When working with clients for weight loss, I encourage them to change both their energy intake and energy expenditure to lose weight. However, the clients who are most successful, also change their mindset.
Many yoga practices burn fewer calories than traditional exercise such as brisk walking, running or swimming; but yoga can increase one’s mindfulness and the way one relates to their body. Yoga’s ability to foster an inward focus can help individuals become more aware of what they are eating and make better food choices. This self-awareness can cause a positive shift resulting in healthier choices and weight loss.
You cannot have a healthy body if your mind is unbalanced and overactive. Yoga is a unique way to create harmony between body and mind. When these function in harmony, your life will seem more efficient and balanced. This gives you a major boost toward success for your weight loss goals.
Additionally, many individuals eat more when they are feeling stressed and yoga can help combat stress, which can influence one’s energy intake. In fact, research from the University of California, San Francisco, found that people who reported higher levels of stress had a greater drive to eat, including disinhibited eating, binge eating, hunger and more ineffective attempts to control their eating, all of which can promote weight gain.
Yoga practices are comprised of a variety of postures within countless sequences or flows. All yoga poses promote oxygenation of cells through deep breathing. This focsed breathing addresses detoxification of your body, which can directly affect your weight loss by pushing out stagnant toxins from your body. Where are many toxins stored? Fat cells!
If you are really serious about weight loss and a healthy lifestyle, consider integrating a yoga practice into your routine several days a week. Pair it with a healthy diet for optimum results. Roll out your mat today and get started!