Can Yoga Really Help You Lose Weight?

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Quote of the day: "Yoga is invigoration in relaxation. Freedom in routine. Confidence through self control. Energy within and energy without." - Ymber Delecto

Articles of the day:
Slim down with Yoga brought to you by Prevention Magazine. 
Yoga Moves for a Pick-Me-Up, and my favorite Burn, Baby Burn by Women's Health Magazine

We all know that yoga is good for the mind, body and spirit, but can it really help us lose weight? Some experts think that it can! First, let’s talk about all of the well known benefits of yoga, besides weight loss.

According to WebMD, Yoga can help you:
  • Increase Flexibility
  • Improve Muscle Tone (especially ashtanga and power yoga)
  • Improve Posture
  • Increase lung capacity
  • Decrease stress levels
  • Improve focus and mood
  • Decrease symptoms of asthma, back pain, insomnia and arthritis
All of these alone make yoga worth adding to your fitness routine, but how does it help you lose weight? Yoga can actually lower the levels of stress hormones in your body and increase insulin sensitivity. When your body is more sensitive to insulin, it can better burn food as fuel rather than store it as fat. These two factors can help turn your body into a fat burning machine instead of a fat storing machine!

Yoga can also help you connect to your body in a way no other form of exercise can. Through this mind body connection you become better able to recognize hunger and fullness cues.  This is often called mindfulness or mindful eating. Since yoga also gives you an outlet for stress it can help prevent emotional eating. If you are more mindful of what you are eating, you are more likely to only eat when you are really hungry and stop when you are full.

A fairly new phenomenon in the yoga world is, “Power Yoga.” It is an Americanized, pumped up version of traditional Kundalini techniques. Power yoga combines faster breathing and more active movements that produce aerobic and strength training benefits.  These classes can definitely help you build lean muscle mass; which burns calories even when you are at rest. It’s not quite the same as pumping iron in the gym, but there is no doubt that plank, crocodile (chaturanaga) and crescent lunge all have muscle toning capabilities!

Yoga will never burn as many calories as traditional aerobics.  A 150 pound person will burn approximately 150 calories during a traditional yoga class, versus 311 calories for an hour of walking at 3mph. (Prevention Magazine) However, there is no doubt yoga can improve your flexibility, strengthen your muscles (especially your core) and help you connect with your body. It doesn’t matter if you are trying to lose weight, train for a marathon, or just live a healthy life; yoga can be a rewarding and rejuvenating part of your weekly fitness routine.

Please try out some of the workouts listed in the "Articles of the Week" section above. They are perfect  to do on your own in the comfort of your living room. Or even better, find a yoga class at a gym near you and give it a try! If you do, let me know what you think!

Yours truly,

Lauren G.

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4 Responses to “Can Yoga Really Help You Lose Weight?”

  1. Hey Lauren,

    Is this true of Pilates too? I'm not a big Yoga fan, but I love Yogalates and Pilates.


  2. Hi Amy,

    Pilates will definitely help you strengthen your muscles and build lean muscle mass. Pilates is a mind body workout as well, so you will get some of the mind body benefits of yoga, however I haven't come across any research about pilates connection to mindful eating. Although it is not exactly the same, if you don't love yoga pilates and yogalates is a great substitute!


  3. Be careful with pilates. There is new research all the time about the alignment of the spine when doing some of the situp and pilates type moves. Not all instructors are up on the latest.

  4. Very exclusive service I am very happy to your post,Thanks for sharing this great article.Great information thanks a lot for the detailed article.That is very interesting I love reading and I am always searching for informative information like this.
    lose weight with yoga


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