Regularly practicing yoga offers many health benefits.
It will improve your muscle definition, strength, flexibility, and mental clarity.
Yoga practice will also reduce your stress levels and provide you with additional energy to get through the day.
One common question asked by people getting into yoga for the first time is — can yoga help you lose weight?
The answer is yes!
However, the way that yoga helps you lose weight is slightly different to other forms of exercise.
It is a more holistic approach that involves both your mind and body.
This article will explain how yoga helps with weight loss and share the most effective type of yoga for weight loss.
How yoga helps you lose weight
Yoga burns calories
To lose weight, you must achieve a caloric deficit — where the amount of calories you consume via food is less than the calories your body burns to maintain its current weight.
When you have a caloric deficit, your body will begin to break down fat cells to obtain additional energy, causing you to lose weight.
A caloric deficit can be achieved in two ways, by reducing the amount of calories you eat each day and by being more physically active (increasing the amount of calories your body burns).
Practicing yoga will stimulate your cardiovascular system and engage your muscles, causing your body to burn more calories.
When performed in conjunction with a healthy diet, yoga will help you reach a caloric deficit and lose weight.
Yoga helps you to eliminate bad eating habits
Many people find losing weight difficult because they have a variety of bad eating habits.
These habits often include binge eating, stress eating, and mindless snacking.
Yoga helps you take on bad habits by improving your mindfulness.
Mindfulness is the state of being aware or conscious of something.
When you are mindful, you will be able to identify the triggers for your bad eating habits and stop those habit dead in their tracks.
Many people also find that their body begins to crave healthier foods when they practice yoga often.
This is because unhealthy foods do not provide the sustained energy required for intense yoga workouts.
Yoga reduces your stress levels
Researchers have discovered that stress can have a very negative impact on a person’s health.
When a person is stressed the body will exhibit a flight or fight response, releasing adrenaline, epinephrine, and stress hormones like cortisol.
The release of cortisol is particularly bad if you are attempting to lose weight, because it changes how well your body metabolises food.
In fact, researchers have found that having high cortisol levels can make you gain weight more easily.
This is where yoga comes in.
Practicing yoga is one of the most effective ways to reduce your stress levels.
As you reduce stress, your cortisol levels come down and your body’s metabolic system functions as it should — helping you maintain a healthy weight.
Which forms of yoga are most effective for weight loss?
If your primary goal is to lose weight, you should choose a form of yoga that involves a high level of physical intensity.
Ashtanga yoga classes are ideal as they involve moving from one pose to another in quick succession.
This kind of workout will elevate your heart rate, place additional strain on your muscles and burn more calories.
The best forms of yoga for losing weight include:
Ashtanga yoga is a very common form of yoga in the West.
It was codified by K. Pattabhi Jois and is promoted as a modern type of Indian yoga.
Ashtanga means eight limbs, of which physical yoga postures are one limb.
Breath (pranayama) is another limb.
Ashtanga yoga uses sequences that involve a series of poses.
Once you learn the sequence, you can practice at home or on your own and increase the intensity as much as you like.
Power yoga is a form of Ashtanga Yoga that has become very popular in the past few years.
It is a high-intensity yoga workout that is focussed on building internal heat as well as increasing strength, stamina and flexibility.
Hot yoga is vinyasa yoga practiced in a hot room.
This form of high-intensity yoga will encourage you to sweat, which flushes toxins from your system.
Many studios offering hot yoga with use Bikram yoga — a series of poses created by Bikram Choudhury.
Another reason to choose one of the above forms of yoga is that they tend to have longer workouts.
It is common a ashtanga yoga session to go for 60 or 90 minutes.
This is a very intense workout that burns a lot of calories.
You will be losing weight and feeling fantastic before you know it!