Yoga has been scientifically proven to improve flexibility, reduce stress, increase cardiovascular health and provide many other health benefits — but what about weight loss?

Researchers have discovered that regular yoga practice can help with weight loss, but not in the ways that you might expect.

While intensive cardiovascular exercise will simply burn calories to help you lose weight, yoga helps by making changes to your mind and your body.

This article will share some of the ways that yoga can help with weight loss.

Yoga promotes mindfulness which helps with weight loss

Mindfulness is the practice of bringing your complete attention to the current moment.

When you are in a mindful state, your focus will be upon whatever task you are currently performing, be it meditating, breathing deeply, eating, reading, or listening.

When you are mindful, you have greater control over your thoughts, senses, and emotions.

Yoga is one of the most effective ways to become more mindful.

It encourages mindfulness by asking you to focus on your breathing and how your body feels during each pose.

The meditative practices that often accompany yoga also make participants very skilled at achieving mindfulness.

You are probably wondering how mindfulness helps you lose weight.

It does so in a few ways:

Mindfulness helps you become aware of “how” you are eating

Many people eat their meals very quickly, which leads to overeating.

The mindfulness that yoga creates will help you notice how quickly you are eating and slow down if necessary.

You can also develop “mindful eating”, where you savour eat bite of your meal, completely focussing on the flavours and textures of your food.

It is a very healthy and enjoyable way to eat.

Mindfulness helps you understand “why” you are eating

Mindfulness makes it easier to identify the reason “why” you are over-eating.

It can help you deal with the underlying issues that drive you to eat too much food or the wrong types of food.

Mindfulness will also help you become more compassionate towards yourself, which is useful for stopping habits like binge eating when your self esteem is low.

Mindfulness will be aware of your cravings and ignore them

Mindfulness helps you process the thoughts that randomly pop into your head.

This includes any sudden cravings for unhealthy food that you might experience.

So, when you have that intense craving for chocolate after dinner, you can push it aside and eat something more healthy.

Your cravings won’t have the ability to alter your behaviour as easily.

Mindfulness will help you appreciate the negative results of eating bad food

When you are practising mindfulness, you will have a greater sense of your body and how you are feeling.

If you have just binged on some unhealthy food, you will be more likely to appreciate how it has negatively impacted your body.

When you truly understand how unhealthy foods affect your body, it will become easier to make good food choices.

Yoga creates an “after burn” effect

Yoga is one of the best forms of exercise for developing your flexibility and strength.

It will help you achieve toned muscles and activates muscles that aren’t used very often during other forms of exercise.

After a vigorous yoga session, your body will scramble to repair and strengthen the muscles that were used.

This requires a lot of energy.

If your caloric intake is lower than the energy required to strengthen your muscles, the body will begin to eat away at its fat stores — helping you lose weight.

This process can occur many hours after you exercise, creating an “after burn” effect where your body continues to burn calories long after the yoga session have been completed.

Deep breathing during yoga helps with weight loss

Pranayama is an important concept in yoga.

It is a set of breathing exercises that can clear physical and emotional blocks in the body and free up life energy (prana).

This concept is why yoga has different breathing patterns between and during each pose.

It turns out that breathing deeply can also help with weight loss in a number of ways:

Increases oxygen flow through the body

Oxygen intake is essential for burning calories and fat cells.

Breathing deeply will help your body obtain more oxygen and burn fat deposits more efficiently.

Balancing hormone levels

Deep breathing will trigger the release of hormones that improve the body’s metabolic rate, which will improve how quickly you can burn calories.

Helps to remove toxins

Having high levels of toxins in your body can make it more difficult to lose weight or stick with a diet.

Deep breathing helps to address this problem by stimulating lymphatic drainage, which helps to push those toxins from the body.

Helps the body dispose of calories

Researchers from the University of New South Wales recently published a paper showing that breathing plays an important role in weight loss.

They found that the majority of weight that is lost through caloric deficit is breathed out as carbon dioxide.

Deep breathing will help the body remove the calories it is consuming each day.

Yoga reduces stress

When you are suffering from stress, the body releases “stress hormones” including cortisol and adrenaline.

This occurs because the body mistakenly believes there is a threat and its flight-or-fight mechanism becomes activated.

Unfortunately, these stress hormones make it very difficult to lose weight.

They slow down the body’s metabolic rate and increase the amount of sugar in the blood stream (which usually gets stored as fat).

Yoga can help by activating the parasympathetic nervous system.

This system regulates hormones, digestion and breathing.

It will reduce the levels of stress hormones in your body and help you digest your food more efficiently.

Yoga will also clear your head and reduce your stress levels significantly, preventing those stress hormones from being released in large quantities.

Yoga detoxifies the body

The human body has an interesting way of dealing with toxins.

If it manages to identify a toxin, it will either attempt to eliminate it as waste or wrap it in fat cells so it cannot damage the body.

Unfortunately, this means that having very high levels of toxins in your body will significantly expand the number of fat cells that you have.

Yoga can help by making it easier for the body to detoxify.

Regular yoga practice will promote liver health, stimulate the thyroid gland, and massage the digestive system — which helps you push toxin out as waste instead of encasing them in fat.

Thanks for reading 5 Ways Yoga Can Help With Weight Loss.

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