Any form of exercise is better than no activity at all, but some fitness options are better than others. While high intensity exercises are often recommended for weight loss, a less physically intense exercise can also be utilized – yoga. It is a time-tested solution for a variety of health concerns, and long before it became a fitness craze it was used for spiritual reasons, making this form of exercise a cut above the rest.
Yoga has been around for thousands of years, practiced by the people of Northeast Africa (in the case of Kemetic yoga), India, and Asia. It has since traveled around the world as people have embraced both the ancient practice and more modern variations to help people lower stress levels, treat depression, fight disease, and lose weight.
Here are a few ways yoga can aid in weight loss.
1. Muscle Toning
The better muscle tone you have, the straighter you’ll stand, the more athletic you’ll look, and the more calories you will burn even at rest. Yoga helps sculpt and tone by engaging a variety of muscles in static poses and slow and controlled graceful movements.
2. Calorie Burning
In most cases, you have to burn calories to lose weight. And while we burn some calories even while at rest, yoga can be a good burn-boosting workout. Certain moves raise your heart rate more than others. Sun salutations (vinyasas) are known for getting the blood flowing. A step-by-step guide for a vinyasa workout can be found here.
3. Optimized Digestion
What you eat is important when striving towards a weight loss goal, but how your body processes that food is similarly important. Yoga not only create a healthy body overall, sending oxygenated blood throughout the digestive system, it can alleviate issues like irritable bowel syndrome and constipation with some specific poses.
4. Balanced Thyroid Function
Your thyroid controls many hormones related to stress levels, energy levels, and weight retention. Yoga can assist in regulating this hormone-center not only by reducing the stress related to a thyroid imbalance, but also by stimulating proper function through poses like the shoulder stand.
Achieving or maintaining a healthy weight isn’t just about eating the right foods or exercising vigorously a few times a week. It’s these things and more. Yoga can help set the stage for a successful weight loss journey on a variety of fronts.
For more on weight loss, check out these 7 foods to lose weight.