Can Yoga Help You Lose Weight Quickly For A Healthy Life?
Exploring the Great Yoga Controversy — Can yoga help put you on the quickest way to lose weight for the lean healthy body of your dreams?
Yoga seem to be the exercise fad of the moment. Everyone seems to be doing it, from your favorite celebrities to the little old lady down the street. Not only that, but you’ve noticed that many of these yoga practitioners are sleek and slim, and many say that their only fitness program is yoga. Could this possibly be true? Can you lose weight quickly through yoga? The answer is controversial among health experts, but there’s still no denying that frequent yoga practitioners tend to be slimmer than average. What might lie behind this phenomenon? Read on to get the bottom of yoga as a route to weight loss success.
What is Yoga?
Although many people view it as a modern exercise, yoga is an ancient practice with deep spiritual roots. The word “yoga” is derived from an ancient Indian language called Sanskrit, and literally means to “yoke” two or more things together. Now, you may ask, what would I want to yoke together, and what does any of this have to do with exercise, let alone weight loss success?
In Hindu philosophy, the goal is to “yoke” together mind, body, and spirit, and one avenue of doing this is through meditation. However, prior to beginning meditation, Hindus believe it is important to prepare the body by stretching it. This is where yoga comes into play. Through a variety of poses, called asanas, the yoga practitioners calm the mind and body by focusing on relaxation, flexibility and balance.
What are the benefits of yoga?
Yoga may seem like a passing fad, but its health benefits for the mind and body are well-documented. In fact, yoga is often prescribed by psychiatrists and psychologists as part of a treatment regimen for people who are suffering from mental illnesses such as clinical depression, generalized anxiety disorder, and other mood disorders. The reason that yoga is so beneficial in easing these symptoms may have something to do with the fact that it has been shown to increase a chemical in the brain called GABA.
GABA is considered to be a natural anti-anxiety chemical produced within the body that calms the nerves and focuses the mind. As such, it is the same chemical that doctors try to target when they prescribe anti-anxiety medications, such as Ativan and Valium, to patients with generalized anxiety disorder.
Yoga not only confers great benefits to the mind, but it gives your physical health a great boost as well. Yoga is perhaps most commonly lauded as a great strategy to combat high blood pressure. Many studies indicate that a regular practice of yoga does indeed lower blood pressure and the heart rate in patients who have high blood pressure and other heart-related problems. It can also ease digestion, soothe menstrual cramps, and improve flexibility, the latter of which is a great boon, as it reduces injuries.
Yoga can also be quite beneficial for muscular problems in all parts of the body, such as tight hamstring, quadriceps, and upper and lower back and shoulders.
The above all sounds wonderful, but what does it have to do with losing weight? More than you realize, although, its weight loss benefits may be harder to recognize.
Yoga vs. Cardio
When it comes to a battle between cardio and yoga for weight loss, cardiovascular exercise will always emerge as the victor. The sheer amount of calorie-burning that can be achieved by cardiovascular activities such as running, cycling, swimming, and even walking, far exceed the number of calories that can be burned through yoga alone. Even power yoga, which burns more calories than a typical yoga session, often can’t duplicate the effects of a good cardio workout.
The best way to achieve weight loss success will always be through activities that get the heart pumping, and yoga very rarely does that. Thus, many people have been led to conclude that yoga has nothing offer those who are seeking to lose weight quickly. This couldn’t be further from the truth.
Yoga’s Secret Weapon
Several studies have shown that people who practice yoga on a regular basis tend to be thinner than those who do not. This brings us to yoga’s secret weapon — mindfulness. Yoga has historically been used as a preparation for meditation and for the cultivation of mindfulness — the art of being fully aware of one’s environment and fully in the present. This mindfulness is not something you leave behind when you complete your final downward dog, rather, it’s something that extends into your everyday life.
Yoga also promotes a greater awareness of your body in general, which logically causes you to worry more about what they put into it. Nutritionists have advocated the following trick for years — when eating, pay attention to every bite you take. Notice the texture of your food, the smell, its appearance, and really focus on how it tastes. It takes several minutes for your body to convey the message to your brain that you’re full, and by this time, most people have already eaten far too many calories in one sitting.
By eating more slowly and mindfully, you give your body the opportunity to let you know that you’re full before you do permanent damage to your diet. It’s also quite possible that, since yoga has positive effects on people who are struggling with anxiety and depression, it’s also effective in curbing emotional eating. Yoga is not just an activity, but an entire lifestyle, one that aids healthy living by making people aware of how they treat their bodies.
Although the main focus of any weight loss regimen should be on a healthy diet and exercise, including cardiovascular exercise, yoga has certainly warranted a place alongside of them. Not only will it give you the necessary tools to control your calorie consumption and limit your emotional eating, it also offers a multitude of other health benefits. Once considered an ancient, mystical practice with little value to the modern world, it has proved itself to be a vital tool in the war against stress and obesity. Your chances to lose weight quickly can certainly be boosted by incorporating yoga into your weight loss plans