Can yoga help you lose weight?

by | Jan 31, 2019 | Ashtanga Yoga, Health & Wellbeing, Wisdom

A big part of achieving body positivity and improving mental wellbeing is being at a weight you are comfortable with.

If you are looking to shed a few kilograms and reach your fitness goals, you may be wondering whether the activities and exercises you enjoy are actually enough to make this happen.

For yoga lovers, there is little doubt that classes are beneficial for both mental wellbeing and physical health, but can low-impact asana also help with weight loss?

The evidence

There have been a few studies over the years that suggest regular yoga classes may assist in slimming down.

In a study published in the Journal of Alternative Medicine, overweight men lost an average of 2 kg in just 10 days when taking part in daily yoga classes and breathing exercises.

Another study, funded by the National Institutes of Health, found that women who took part in restorative yoga classes burned up to 2 percent more body fat than women who only did stretches for the same amount of time.

Part of the reason why yoga may help certain people burn more calories is down to how the practice helps manage and reduce joint pain or flexibility issues. This, in turn, then makes it easier for people to take part in higher impact exercises, thus increasing their energy usage and fat burning.

Another important factor is how yoga can improve self-esteem and body positivity, which can help people avoid stress-eating and feel better in their own skin. Yoga has been shown to reduce cortisol levels, which is known as the stress hormone. When we are less stressed, we are less likely to binge eat.

How to see results

If you are hoping to lose weight and feel more comfortable in your body, Ashtanga yoga is a good place to start.

Ashtanga yoga is particularly good at helping people drop excess weight, as it is typically a faster paced series of poses than other yoga types. It is estimated that Ashtanga yoga can burn up to 300 calories in half an hour – that’s twice as fast as walking, and equivalent to swimming or playing tennis.

Of course, the key to losing weight is to burn more calories than you are ingesting. Therefore, staying active and eating a healthy diet are equally important.

Fortunately, yoga can help here too, as the art of yoga focuses immensely on helping you improve your self-control, focus and mindfulness- leading to better choices in other areas, like your diet.

With regular yoga practice you will naturally feel drawn to eat healthier foods, which are good for you, incorporating some of those anti-inflammatory ‘super foods’ into your diet; such as turmeric, ginger, and garlic, and lots of fresh greens.

Becoming more comfortable with your body sometimes requires a lifestyle change. Yoga can help you achieve a more positive outlook whilst also improving health and wellbeing, so consider joining a class today.

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