Does yoga help lose weight? This question is frequently asked on an everyday basis and indeed yoga does help with weight loss. The real question is HOW does yoga help with weight loss and it all begins with the hypothalamus inside the brain. But first, before we take a look into the brain we need to look at the many different types of yoga out there: Anusara, Ashtanga, Bikram, Hatha, Iyengar, Jivamukti, Kripalu, Kundalini. Now each classification of yoga is suppose to be different and offer different ways of practicing yoga, however just picking one of them will begin your journey to weight loss! Specifically, Hatha is very popular in the United States and offers many different styles, which are listed above in the text, in one regime. To begin with, the ideal way to practice the Hatha Yoga is to approach the practice session in a calm, meditative mood. Sit quietly for a few moments, and then begin the series, slowly, with control and grace, being inwardly aware as the body performs the various poses selected for the practice session. Do not overdo or try to compete with others. Take it easy and enjoy. In a matter of a month or less you will begin to see that yoga does actually help with weight loss. Now you might say “how does that help with weight loss?” When practicing yoga it helps relax the mind, therefore reducing stress and ultimately eating healthier food, which leads to losing weight. Lets dive in a little deeper with scientific research. Remember how I said the hypothalamus in the brain plays a role in weight loss? The hypothalamus coordinates both the autonomic nervous system and the activity of the pituitary gland, which releases cortisol. Cortisol in the body is a natural mechanism that helps control stress, however too much stress over an extended period of time can over load the production of cortisol and create serious problems to your health. In other terms a person who is stressed for an extended time period will result in negative behaviors like eating unhealthy food. In addition, the higher the stress levels the more the body is going to increase fat storage. Still not convinced? Lets take a look at a study done that involved teenage boys aged 12-15; their body composition, cardiovascular endurance, and anaerobic fitness were all evaluated before the experiment. The experiment group did one-year of yoga training, 45 minutes per day, for 3 days per week, while the control group maintained sedentary through those times. The results showed that the experiment group improved in all measures with the loss of weight the greatest (Balk, 2011). Lastly, I can say that for me yoga helped me loss weight. Yoga did not only help me loss weight but it gave many other benefits such as reduce stress, a positive out look in life, and internal confidence. In addition, check out the program that I posted below to get you and your health, jump started! This program worked great for my girlfriend (I tried it too a couple of times with her and wow what a workout) and the best part is that you can do it at home!
Darold Shrewsbury, B.S. in Health
Reference: Balk, J. L. (2011). Yoga for Weight Loss. Alternative Medicine Alert, 14(5), 49-53.