If you have a consistent yoga practice, you’re aware of the myriad of internal and external benefits you receive, like balance, strength, flexibility, and equanimity. But did you know yoga can also help you feel more confident and lose weight? We’re not talking treating yoga like an exercise regimen to burn calories. Instead, yoga can help you cultivate a powerful mind-body connection that supports weight loss or any other physical goals you might have.
When you move through a physical yoga practice, whether it is a vigorous Vinyasa flow or a mellow restorative practice, you focus on how you are feeling. Is your breath deep and steady or shallow and erratic? Are you angry, depressed, or at peace? Do you feel stagnant and heavy or light and vibrant? By taking the time to become more aware of your feelings, you can begin to process them fully instead of burying them. Emotional eating is common and many of us have made unhealthy choices like consuming fast food or too much sugar, which only masks the underlying issues for a short time.
Experts in Eastern philosophy and Western medicine agree that yoga relieves stress and tension. Yoga lowers cortisol levels––the “fight or flight” stress hormones that play a key role in everything from heart attacks to high cholesterol to insomnia. By providing a positive outlet for difficult emotions, yoga offers us a healthy way to manage the day-to-day stress we all experience. If we can soothe our nervous system and quiet our overactive minds, we are more likely to live in the present moment and treat ourselves with love.
Another way yoga can keep you feeling your best is by helping digestion, elimination, and enhancing metabolism. Whether you’re in a gentle Hatha class or sweating through Power Yoga, you create different shapes for your body that keep your physical systems running like a well-oiled machine. Twists and forward folds stimulate and compress your digestive organs, which helps prevent bloating and stagnation.
Vigorous practices like Ashtanga, Vinyasa, and Power Yoga move at a faster pace and require physical strength. You build muscle by using your body weight and the more muscle you have, the more efficient your metabolism is at burning calories. One pound of muscle burns about three times more than one pound of fat. So yes, you can skip a gym workout and practice yoga instead if you’re interested in the physical aspect. But those emotional and spiritual benefits will come with it too! Triple bonus!
These classes are more than just about how you look. They're about feeling good about your body, loving yourself, and working up a sweat. Enjoy!
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