In many circles, yoga is considered an ancient science. No matter what your outlook on yoga is, though, it’s clear that this exercise has many positive effects for the body! For many people, along with the benefits it yields to one’s body, yoga also improves the mind and the soul.
Among its many health benefits, yoga is often used for weight loss. There are various ways that yoga helps people to lose weight, from physical benefits to emotional help.
Yoga for Weight Loss
There are several ways in which yoga promotes weight loss:
• Certain yoga poses can improve the functioning of the liver. The liver works to detoxify and cleanse the body while purifying the blood. The liver also processes fat in the body. A healthy liver will get rid of bad fats while retaining good fat. It will also boost your energy levels, which means you’ll have even more energy to exercise.
• The Shoulder Stand and Fish Pose yoga poses can activate the thyroid gland, which is the gland that regulates metabolism. If the thyroid is healthy and active then the metabolism is able to burn fat. Yoga can keep the thyroid working correctly and it can even cure an imbalance, like hypothyroidism.
• Many people who practice yoga feel that they’re fulfilled mentally and emotionally. For people with emotional ties to food, practicing yoga can help balance out the mind and decrease emotional eating. Beyond that, when people feel like they’re caring for their body in one way (i.e. practicing yoga) they’re less likely to abuse their body in other ways, as
• Some yoga classes are more physically demanding than others. There are some types of yoga that get your heart rate pumping and effectively burn calories. The more difficult the poses and the faster you have to change poses, the more calories (and weight!) you’ll lose.
Additional Healthy Ways to Lose Weight
Aside from practicing yoga, there are plenty of ways to healthfully lose weight without fancy diet pills or extreme workouts:
• Eat balanced meals that include whole grains, lean protein, fruits, veggies and healthy fats. Make sure to keep an eye on portion size.
• Exercise for at least half an hour, most days per week. Something as simple as a 30-minute walk around the neighborhood can be a better alternative to sitting on the couch in front of the TV for the same length of time (and let’s be honest, once we sit down we usually end up sitting there for much longer than just 30 minutes…).
• Get plenty of sleep each night. Most people need between seven and nine hours of sleep. Numerous studies have shown that sleep deprivation does contribute to weight gain.
• Drink plenty of water every day. Water is the eternal corrective, helping people to stay full and detox their bodies while contributing to all-around health and beauty.
How Yoga Keeps You Healthy
Aside from promoting weight loss, there are numerous ways that yoga helps to keep people healthy:
• Improved flexibility and joint health are among the largest benefits of practicing yoga. Orthopedic surgeon Dr. Glen Axelrod states that yoga is “excellent in strengthening, flexibility, balance, and other aspects of health.” Over time, you’ll notice that your body feels looser and more flexible, making advanced poses easier to master.
• Muscles strengthen, making you stronger and protecting your body from back pain and arthritis.
• Relaxation techniques are often taught in conjunction with yoga, and can help ease stress and anxiety.
Carolyn is a 20-something year old with a passion for life, fitness and overall well-being. She is an avid cycler, golfer and has known to bust some serious moves on the dance floor. Check out Carolyn’s blog at http://fullonfit.blogspot.com!
Mark Dilworth, BA, PES
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