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AHA Community > Yoga & Meditation  > Yoga helps you lose weight (5 ways I’m sure you haven’t thought about)

Yoga helps you lose weight (5 ways I’m sure you haven’t thought about)

I keep hearing (nice) people saying that yoga doesn’t help with weight loss. Besides the fact that it depends a lot on the type of yoga (power, hatha, yin/ deep stretch, in heated or non-heated room, etc.), there are some common features of all types of yoga, which help you more or less directly to lose weight. OK… maybe not beer yoga, hahahaaa!

Here’s how yoga helps you in the process of losing weight:

1) Digestive twists
The twists of your upper body help a lot to the digestion by massaging your internal organs, not to mention the detox of your body. Furthermore, in a lot of other poses, the organs (including the digestive ones) are compressed (for example in child’s pose), and when you come out of the pose, fresh blood full of nutrients flows to them. A good digestion and elimination contribute to a good functioning of your body, hence, to losing weight. Tadaaam!

2) Muscle burns fat
The more muscle you have, the more calories your burn (where do I sign up for this?). Yoga strengthens, defines and sustains muscles and (bonus!) shapes and elongates them the a beautiful, feminine and sexy way. Show me someone who doesn’t want that!

3) Peace & presence
Inversions – when the level of the heart is above the level of the brain, e.g. in forward fold – the blood flows towards the brain, which gives your mind a lot of clarity. The mindfulness and meditation exercises, a fundamental part of yoga (‘feel every point of contact between your body and the mat’, ‘focus in the feeling in your hip in lizard pose’, ‘relax your jaw’0 ground you and anchor your in the present moment. Believe me, when you are at peace and present, connected to the sensations your body, you will make the food choices that nurture your body, instead of hurting it. Ask: “My dear body, what do you need right now?” and the answer will follow: “A vegetable soup, thank you!”

4) Relaxation and good mood
Yoga and stretching release endorphins in your body – this is why you feel so good after a class. A lot of us (me for sure!) are emotional eaters, i.e. we eat when we either want to numb an unpleasant feeling (fear, stress, loneliness, hopelessness, anger), or gain a pleasant feeling (comfort, connection, the ‘home’ or ‘childhood’ feeling, etc.). Through yoga we get in this good state (endorphins, I say), and thus, the need to eat in order to obtain a desired feeling or numb a yucky one, evaporates… hurray! Or rather… phew!

5) Sleep, sleep, zzzleep
It is common knowledge already that lack of sleep is correlated with weight gaaain! I won’t even bother explaining, because there are studies after studies that demonstrate this, yes-yes! The breathing exercises (we’ll talk about this in details in a future post) bring your body into the ‘rest & digest’ state. This meaning they relax you and get you ready for sleep. This is why you sleep so well on the days you went to a yoga class. More yoga => deeper, more restful sleep => weight loss ?. Easy.

 

Questions? Comments? Concerns? (Hahahaaa)… See you on the yoga mat, then!

Although nobody asked me, I will share my opinion regarding the best combination of physical activities:

  • High intensity interval training (HIIT) or cardio (jogging, cycling, etc.), i.e. something that increases your blood circulation, raises your pulse and makes you sweat)
  • Weight lifting (optional)
  • Yoga, for strengthening and core work, but also for stretching, inversions, twists and meditation/ mindfulness

This is a divine combination. But either one is very good and I congratulate you from the bottom of my heart for each minute you take from your busy schedule to dedicate to your body and health!

So, what will you do for yourself and your body this week?

Have I mentioned you are a rock-star? Standing ovations & hugs for you!

Diana Firican

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