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Top 5 Ways Yoga Can Help You Lose Weight

To many, yoga seems like a pretty static practice in which you hold a pose for a few moments before moving on to the next one. And even though many poses in intermediate and advanced series are quite complicated and require loads of strength in the upper and lower body, a lot of people view yoga simply as a means to stretch and lengthen the body, and perhaps even relax and restore.

But the truth is that yoga does a lot more than stretch and tone your body. It can actually promote weight loss too.

Want to learn how? Continue reading for five ways that yoga promotes weight loss without having to use heavy weights or do intense cardio workouts.

  1. Yoga Elevates Your Heart Rate and Burns Calories
    Many yogis regularly practice poses that open up and stimulate the heart chakra, but your physical heart can also benefit from a yoga flow that gets your blood pumping and your heart rate up.

    While workouts like jogging can increase your heart rate, they can also add stress to the nervous system, and this can eventually result in adrenal fatigue. To lose weight more safely, it's better to get your heart rate up in short bursts before allowing it to drop back down, and you can do that through a strong Vinyasa flow that has you moving smoothly from one pose into the next. With a solid Vinyasa sequence, you can burn roughly 450 calories in an hour.
     
  2. Yoga Builds Muscles and Increases Your Resting Metabolism
    By practicing difficult balancing poses and arm balances, you'll be strengthening your upper and lower body, as well as using your core. Building up these muscles will increase your resting metabolic rate, and this translates to burning more calories while you aren't working out! This is because muscles require higher amounts of energy than fat does, so you'll be able to burn more calories even while at rest.
     
  3. Gentle Yoga is More Than Relaxation
    Sure, restorative/gentle yoga is a great way to wind down and release tension and stress from the body and mind, but it can also work at helping you shed excess weight.

    By stimulating the parasympathetic nervous system that regulates hormones, digestion, and breathing, yoga helps your body slow down after rushing all day. Various parts of your body are finally able to rest for a bit. As a result, your hormones have a chance to rebalance themselves, any injuries you have can be repaired, and your digestion can also regulate, helping you lose weight.
     
  4. Yoga Helps You Connect with the Mind to Discern Cravings from Real Hunger
    When you're able to slow down the mind, you can connect to the signals that come from within your body, such as those that tell you you're hungry. Cravings don't nourish the body, but if you can learn how to tell the difference between genuine hunger and emotional cravings, you can eat the foods that your body really needs. Healthier food choices lead to weight loss.
     
  5. Yoga Helps Stimulate the Organs and Detoxify the Body
    Excess weight can be caused by consuming too many calories, but other imbalances can also lead to weight gain. Yoga can be used to rebalance various areas of the body:

      • Certain yoga poses can target the liver. This will help detoxify the body and remove bad fats from your system.
         
      • You can perform specific yoga poses that stimulate the thyroid, which regulates metabolism and can help you lose excess weight.
         
      • Poses that get you moving and build up internal heat are able to burn fat.
         
      • By helping to cleanse the colon, yoga poses can assist in purifying the body and getting rid of excess bloat and waste that can lead to weight gain.
         
      • Yoga poses that help restore the ideal pH in the body will prevent the storage of fat that can occur as a result of an acidic pH.

Ready To Lose Some Weight With Yoga?
If you're ready to shed a few extra pounds, dive into yoga. You'll gain balance in body and mind while also trimming your frame. Start slowly and safely but the main thing is being consistent and practicing on a regular basis. You will be surprised at the changes and how you start to look and feel.

by Jennifer Hatfield
Certified Nutritionist & Yoga Instructor
Contributing Author, ASUTRA.com