– By Josee Smith
Yoga is practiced by millions of people around the world, including, many very fit celebrities and professional athletes who use it to supplement their regular workout regimen and enhance their performance.
And yes, this no strain workout that allows people to work at their own level can have profound effects for weight loss.
While Yoga does not burn calories at the rate that other cardio workouts do, it is still an effective and viable weight loss option.
Here are 5 Ways Yoga Works For Weight Loss:
The Mind Body Connection
Yoga, unlike other workouts, includes breathing as a focal point and complete integration of mindfulness with physical movement.
This practice of mindfulness does not go away when you leave the yoga mat, with regular practice it stays with you and effects all parts of your life.
This intense focus makes you pay better attention to your body, and that includes what you eat and in general yields a high level of body awareness.
The mind is really what controls everything we do, and yoga can help in this way to change negative behaviors.
It can help you to decipher boredom from real hunger, alleviate emotional overeating and binge eating as well. Yoga makes you pay attention and think in a whole new way.
A study that was published in the Journal of Qualitative Health Research showed that women’s binging was reduced after practicing yoga for only 12 weeks. This was achieved through the development of present-moment awareness, which, resulted in them eating less.
Also, since yoga promotes relaxation and greatly decreases stress and anxiety it can go a long way to curbing overeating and emotional eating.
– Yoga relieves aches and pain, which can encourage people to do other types of workouts.
– For those that dread the high intensity cardio, like running, walking or bikes, yoga is a completely different experience that is non-impact and can get those who never move to do so, at their own pace, and moving of any type is better than none at all.
– Yoga is also the ideal starter workout for those that have been stationary for their entire lives, or have had little exposure to exercise.
Loosening Muscles And Increasing Range Of Motion
Other great benefits include that it loosens the muscles, and improves flexibility and range of motion. This is important for the overweight who are often in need of this from lack of exercise and can also aid in correcting poor posture that comes from being overweight.
Belly Fat Reduction
Belly fat is the most dangerous of all fats, and is known to be exasperated by rising Cortisol levels in the body.
Yoga has been proven to reduce Cortisol, and consequently can help with belly fat prevention and reduction. This is especially true for women over 40 that battle with belly fat.
A study funded by the National Institutes of Health evaluated women who performed restorative yoga, which is a type where poses are held for long periods and found that they lost 2% more body fat as compared to women who simply stretched.
Another study published in the Journal of Alternative Medicine reported that men who engaged in yoga daily breathing exercises lost about 4 pounds in just 10 days.
Yoga also works to tone the butt, arms, back, legs, and other muscles, so, if you engage in a weight loss regimen it can help those muscles pop as the body fat melts away.
Additionally, lean muscle mass uses body fat for fuel, even when it’s at rest, and this means prolonged fat burning throughout the day for much more effective weight management.