Yoga is a practice with myriad benefits for those that are looking to improve their physical health and mental wellness. With the wide array of different methods and variants of yoga available to explore, there are options that focus on mental, physical, and even spiritual support, each with its own methodology and accompanying mindset. However, one of the big reasons that people first find themselves exploring yoga is as a weight-loss option, and it’s easy to see how that connection has been made.
At KĀYA, we care about the health of our visitors. Our team of experienced fitness specialists are here to guide you through your yoga journey in a safe, inclusive environment, regardless of your experience level. So, does yoga help you lose weight? Can you lose weight through yoga? And what is it about this particular practice that leads so many people to seek it out as a weight-loss option?
The Merits of Mindfulness
When taking any steps to improve yourself or change your body, the first important steps inevitably start with the mind. After all, that’s where our plans for self-improvement begin, and if you’re looking to work towards long-term goals, it’s important that you first have a strong understanding of what they are and what your body needs. This is one area in which yoga thrives, due in large part to its focus on mindfulness.
Rarely in our busy lives do we simply take the time to sit and listen to our bodies. Because of this, it can be difficult to know what our bodies need, and the immediate impact that our choices can have on us, be they positive or detrimental. With yoga, you are taught to feel your body and surroundings in a new way, connecting with yourself and truly feeling the sensations of the moment. Through this practice, you can get a better feel for how actions and surroundings impact you, and in turn, what you can do to steer those choices in healthier directions.
This isn’t just conjecture either, as there have been many studies over the years into how yoga impacts our ability to make mindful, more positive choices, such as this study from 2018. This study from the International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity suggested lower rates of snacking and fast food consumption in those who practised yoga regularly. In their conclusion, the researchers stated that “Yoga should be investigated as an intervention for young adult health promotion and healthy weight management.”
Whilst more research needs to be conducted in this field, and there will always be new information as time goes on, there’s a lot to suggest that the mentality of yoga is beneficial for weight loss even outside of the specific physical health benefits.
The Routine of Healthy Choices
One of the big changes many have when first delving into the world of physical fitness is that they need to adjust their lifestyles to effectively accommodate it, and yoga is no exception. For example, yoga requires you to stay hydrated, and it is recommended that yoga not be taken on with a full stomach. These may seem like simple things, but when built into a routine, they can have widespread impacts on a person’s daily life. Another important factor is rest, which is another one of the major benefits touted by regular yoga practice. Studies have suggested that those who get more quality sleep lose more weight than those who don’t and with certain variants of yoga, such as yoga Nidra, promoting deeper sleep and relaxation, yoga is an excellent way to achieve just that.
Calorie Burning Through Yoga
Whilst we’ve touched on it in our previous points, one of the more obvious benefits of yoga is that of its actual physicality. As a relatively low impact form of exercise, yoga is an excellent option for calorie burning and overall fitness improvement regardless of your current level of experience or fitness. This is especially true for the more active forms of yoga, such as vinyasa and ashtanga, which focus on a more directly physical set of movements than that of yoga Nidra or other, more mindfulness-specific methods.
Many people who practice yoga regularly do so specifically because it is known for its toning and muscle-defining movements. So, if you’re hoping to make positive choices regarding your physical health, whilst also working on your weight loss goals, yoga is a brilliant step in that journey.
As with any form of exercise, there will be conjecture as to the best method for achieving particular goals. However, based on the research and self-professed experiences of those that participate in regular yoga, there is a lot to suggest that yes, yoga can indeed be a viable option for assisting in weight loss.
If you have read to this point, and feel that you’re ready to try yoga for yourself, why not take one of our many classes? KĀYA’s team of movement practitioners help newcomers and experienced yoga practitioners alike to expand their understanding and improve their health. So, if you’re ready to take that next step, join us today.