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Weight Loss & Yoga Connection

The practice of yoga supports physical, mental and spiritual development, enabling you to create the best version of yourself. Yoga can also be an effective way to help with weight loss, especially the more active forms of yoga. And you may find that the awareness gained through gentle, relaxing yoga poses will also help you lose weight. Many experts agree that yoga works in different ways to achieve a healthy weight. Let's look at some of these possibilities.

Mindfulness & Yoga

The mental and spiritual aspects of yoga focus on developing mindfulness. It sharpens your awareness on many levels. It can make you more aware of how different foods affect your mind, body, and spirit. A 2016 study showed that people who develop mindfulness through the practice of yoga may be better able to resist unhealthy foods and eat comfortably. They can also get fitter with their bodies so they know when they are full. Yoga is believed to be very useful for people who are struggling to lose weight.

A 2017 study reports that mindfulness training has positive short-term benefits related to impulsivity or overeating and physical activity. There was no significant effect on weight loss directly, but weight loss is believed to be associated with longer periods of mindfulness training. Further studies are needed to expand on these findings. Since you are advised not to practice yoga on a full stomach, you will most likely choose to eat healthily before practicing yoga. After a yoga class, you tend to crave fresh, unprocessed food. You can also learn to chew each bite longer and eat more slowly, which can result in lower consumption.

Better Sleep & Yoga

Practicing yoga can help improve the quality of your sleep. You may find that you fall asleep more easily and sleep better when you have a consistent practice of yoga. Ideally, you should sleep between 6 to 9 hours every night. Good sleep is often associated with weight loss. A 2018 study found that people who were sleep deprived five times a week lost less fat than the group that followed their normal sleep pattern. Both groups limited the number of calories they ate, suggesting that sleep deprivation has negative effects on body composition, including fat loss.

Yoga Nidra is a form of relaxation that can help you sleep better and increase alertness. You can also set an intention during yoga nidra, which can help you develop weight loss goals.

A small 2018 study found that healthcare professionals who performed yoga nidra for eight weeks increased their alertness. This attention involves conscious action and does not judge inner experience. Their sleepiness levels were not significantly different at follow-up. However, this yield increased the longer one practiced. Larger and more in-depth research is needed to expand on these findings.

Calorie Burning & Yoga

While yoga is not traditionally viewed as an aerobic exercise, there are certain types of yoga that are more physical than others. An active and intense style of yoga will help you burn the most calories. This can help prevent weight gain. Ashtanga, vinyasa, and strength yoga are examples of the more physical types of yoga. Vinyasa and strength yoga are mostly offered in hot yoga studios. This type of yoga keeps you moving almost constantly, which helps you burn calories.

Practicing yoga can also help you develop muscle and increase your metabolism. Although restorative yoga is not a physical type of yoga, it can still help you lose weight. One study found that restorative yoga helped overweight women lose weight, including belly fat. These results are particularly promising for people whose weight can hinder stronger forms of yoga. Yoga can be a promising way to change behavior, lose weight and keep it off by burning calories, increasing alertness and reducing stress. These factors can help you reduce your food intake and see the effects of overeating.

How Often Should You Do Yoga to Lose Weight?

Practice yoga as much as possible to lose weight. You can train more actively and intensely at least 3 to 5 times a week for at least 1 hour. On other days, balance your workout with a more relaxed, gentle class. Hatha, yin, and restorative yoga classes are great options. If you're a beginner, start slow - start with a 20-minute workout and work your way up from there. It builds strength and flexibility and prevents injury. Give yourself a full day of rest each week. Combine your yoga practice with activities such as walking, biking, or swimming for additional cardiovascular benefits. As part of your routine, avoid weighing yourself right after yoga class, especially after hot yoga, as you can lose weight during class instead, weigh yourself at the same time each day.

Final Thought

Make a commitment to yourself and your practice if you want to use yoga for weight loss. Make small, gradual changes and set simple goals so you're more likely to stick to them. As you deepen your practice and awareness, you may find yourself naturally drawn to a healthy diet and lifestyle. While there is no guarantee that you will lose weight, there is a high chance that your positive results will outweigh the weight loss.

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