yoga for weight loss

Will Yoga Help You Shed Excess Fat?

Dr Ruby Shah Written By : Dr Ruby Shah   ✓ Fact Checked

What’s your outlook towards yoga? Most people view yoga as techniques that relax the mind and increase awareness of your surroundings; yoga enhances spiritual, mental and physical growth. Can yoga help you lose those extra pounds? Studies say it promotes healthy weight in various ways. Let’s see what experts advise when it comes to yoga for weight loss.

Mindfulness And Weight Loss

yoga food

Yoga promotes mindfulness; it makes you more conscious of your surroundings including the foods you eat, your weight, your portion size and how your body feels after every meal.

A 2016 study1 published in Hindawi journals showed that individuals who practice yoga could control unhealthy eating, manage their cravings, avoid stress eating and practice mindful eating.

Also, researchers2 from the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center reported that regular yoga practice is linked to mindful eating.

Mindful eating combines strategies such as counting calories, reducing portion sizes, and dieting.

Making yoga part of your weight loss program may help achieve significant improvements.

Yoga: Impact Change

Yoga predisposes you to change, especially lifestyle changes. Thus, you may want to change your eating habits, the way you think about food, avoid lousy eating patterns, and chose foods that promote a healthy body.

Yoga takes you into a spiritual connection with your inner body that prompts these changes. Moreover, the strong mind-body connection you experience creates a stronger awareness, helping you chose better foods and realize when your body is full.

Yoga arouses your consciousness, which allows you to manage your appetite and cravings, a crucial part of weight loss.

Yoga: Quality of Sleep

If practiced regularly, yoga could make you sleep better.

A recent study3 links quality sleep and weight loss. Individuals who have a regular sleeping pattern (7 to 9 hours daily), report increased fat loss compared to those who sleep less than 5 hours.

Yoga improves sleep quality due to its reflective properties and breathing techniques that prepare the body for relaxation and sleep.

However, not all types of yoga poses can enhance sleep. Some poses are energizing and may not get you to sleep.

Here are some poses that enhance better sleep.

Corpse pose

Assume a laying-down position on your back, legs straight, lay your hands on the floor, palms open and facing the ceiling. Feel your body relax from head to toe and focus on your breathing.

Legs up the wall

Lie on your back on the floor mat and raise your legs on the wall; make sure your legs are straight and relaxed up the wall. Your body should assume an L-shaped position; pay attention to your breathing.

Lying butterfly

Lie on your back on the floor mat and press the soles of your feet at each other. Allow the knees to descend out on the sides; be aware of how your body feels and responds.

Note

  • Stay in these poses for one to two minutes while taking deep breaths.
  • This yoga should be performed before bed to promote better sleep and reduce insomnia.
  • Hatha and Nidra yoga poses are best suited for relaxation and improving the quality of sleep.
  • Remember, better sleep promotes healthy weight and helps to avoid snacking late into the night.

Hot Yoga: Burning Calories

Yoga may not be as famous as cardio-workouts and strength training exercises for weight loss.

However, do not underestimate the power of deep breathing techniques; some yoga poses are more physical and may accelerate calorie burn.

There are various types of yoga, and some active power poses are offered in hot studios; they require frequent and intense movements that accelerate sweating and fat burn.

Hot yoga and Bikram yoga are some of the poses that give your muscles, liver, and lungs intense workouts.

They are performed under high temperatures and humid conditions in yoga studios.

Bikram yoga includes 26 yoga poses and 2 breathing techniques performed in studios heated to 41°C (105°F) and 40 percent humidity. These workouts take 90 minutes.

Alternatively, hot yoga includes multiple yoga poses, with music and interaction among individuals, performed in studios heated slightly above room temperature; it can range between 27 and 38°C (80 and 100°F). The instructor decides the time for each yoga pose.

A 2014 study4 revealed that individuals who performed Bikram yoga for 90 minutes, on average lost 330 calories in women and 460 calories in men.

Traditionally yoga (Hatha)5 has been seen to burn at least 183 calories in one hour.

Therefore, hot yogas/Bikram yoga will burn more calories than traditional yoga.

Factors that determine calories lost in a yoga session:

  • Type of yoga poses
  • Level of yoga class
  • Intensity and duration of each yoga session
  • Gender

Will Yoga Help You Shed Extra Pounds?

yoga fat burning

Weight loss is associated with burning a high number of calories by taking fewer calories or working out to burn excess fat or both.

So does yoga burn more calories?

Without a doubt, yoga does not burn as many calories compared to other vibrant physical activities like aerobics; however, it offers various strategies to achieve and maintain a healthy weight.

According to a 2016 study6, individuals who regularly engaged in yoga sessions experienced both psychological and physical changes that impact on weight loss.

Yoga mindfulness supports psychological changes including:

A spiritual connection to the body creating awareness when they are full to avoid overeating

  • Controlling comfort eating
  • Managing cravings
  • Avoiding unhealthy foods
  • Overcoming stress eating
  • Enhancing mood and self-esteem,hence, reducing cortisol levels
  • Controlling appetite

Physical changes include:

  • Relaxing and strengthening muscles
  • Burning calories
  • Sleeping better
  • Improving cardiovascular function
  • Nourishing the skin by improving blood circulation
  • Increasing bone density

Yoga Poses For Weight Loss

Here are some postures to practice at home that promote weight loss

Plank

Plank pose is ideal in strengthening your core.

Bridge pose

Bridge pose is perfect for weight loss. It improves thyroid glands triggering the release of metabolism-regulating hormones. It also tones back and thigh muscles, glutes, and enhances the functioning of abdominal organs to improve digestion.

Triangle pose

Triangle pose burns fat, boosts digestion, builds muscles, and lowers fat deposits in the belly.

Warrior II

Warrior II pose relaxes your mind and strengthens your quad muscles.

Twisted chair

A twisted chair pose improves digestion and builds muscles in the glutes, abs, and quads.

Bow

Bow pose improves digestion, burns belly fat and strengthens thighs, chest, and back muscles.

Shoulder stand

Shoulder stand combines various weight loss benefits. It enhances sleep, improves digestion, balances thyroid levels increasing metabolism, and strengths the upper body and legs.

Conclusion

female weight loss

Yoga is one aspect of achieving a healthy weight.

It may shape your approach towards mindful eating and healthy ways of living.

But, you cannot wholly depend on yoga to lose weight, engage in other physical activities, take a proper diet, use top fat burning supplements and lead a healthy lifestyle.

Yoga will help you set small achievable goals in your weight loss journey.

References

  1. Ross, A., et al. “A different weight loss experience: a qualitative study exploring the behavioral, physical, and psychosocial changes associated with yoga that promote weight loss.” Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine 2016 (2016). https://www.hindawi.com/journals/ecam/2016/2914745/
  2. Regular Yoga Practice Is Associated With Mindful Eating. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/08/090803185712.htm
  3. Wang, Xuewen, et al. “Influence of sleep restriction on weight loss outcomes associated with caloric restriction.” Sleep 41.5 (2018): zsy027. https://academic.oup.com/sleep/article/41/5/zsy027/4846324
  4. Researcher: ‘Hot’ yoga yields fitness benefits. https://source.colostate.edu/researcher-hot-yoga-yields-fitness-benefits/
  5. Donald Hensrud, M.D. Can yoga help me lose weight? https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/weight-loss/expert-answers/yoga-for-weight-loss/faq-20057754
  6. Ross, A., et al. “A different weight loss experience: a qualitative study exploring the behavioral, physical, and psychosocial changes associated with yoga that promote weight loss.” Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine 2016 (2016). https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4995338/

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