Do you think the only way to burn fat and lose weight is to suffer through long cardio sessions? Guess again. There is another way to make the progress you want to see and feel good while doing it. Yoga is a group of physical and spiritual exercises that helps sculpt your body and instills calm feelings in your mind. You can use yoga to achieve a healthy weight. Here’s what some of the science says about how this works.
So what is yoga exactly? Yoga originated in ancient India, and the Ministry of External Affairs in India says, “Yoga is essentially a spiritual discipline based on an extremely subtle science, which focuses on bringing harmony between mind and body. It is an art and science of healthy living.”
In simpler terms, yoga is a practice of physical exercise combining bodywork and breathwork. It is a spiritual practice with physical benefits.
Good sleep is essential for your health – and for weight loss. A lack of sleep may shift your hormones and increase your appetite, causing you to eat more calories. Inadequate sleep also amps up cravings for unhealthy foods. This is partly because when you aren’t rested, your brain loses some of its impulse control. That’s why you may find yourself craving high-carb snacks when you haven’t slept.
Furthermore, when you don’t sleep, you lose energy. Without energy, your desire to exercise will decrease and you may gain weight. Yoga helps with this by calming the mind and increasing your ability to relax. There are several studies that support this. For example, in 2014, one study from Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine reported that in a group of older adults experiencing insomnia, yoga improved sleep quality. And in 2021, the International Journal of Yoga published a study citing that not only is yoga good for sleep, it also improves cognitive function and stress.
Another way yoga helps improve sleep is by lowering cortisol levels. Cortisol is the stress hormone that slows down your metabolism and increases cravings. The Indian Journal of Psychiatry reported significant cortisol drops in people with mental health challenges who practiced yoga.
There are many types of yoga – and some of them burn more calories than others. Power yoga – or vinyasa yoga – is a type of yoga that is designed to build strength, endurance, and stamina. Vinyasa yoga also flows from posture to posture quickly. This type of yoga is often performed at “hot yoga.” Hot yoga is done under hot and humid conditions, helping you burn more calories. Hot yoga classes can burn up to 500 calories in one 90-minute session! Hot yoga is also known as Bikram yoga.
Even if you don’t participate in a fast-paced yoga session, you still burn calories. Plus, yoga helps increase your muscle strength, tone, and flexibility. This makes movement easier – and when your muscles are stronger they burn calories more efficiently.
A big part of yoga is the act of mindfulness. You can use yoga to become open and aware of your life experiences, actions, and decisions you make. That includes awareness of healthy eating.
Mindful eating helps you use mindfulness to discover cravings and physical cues while eating. Mindful eating also means that you eat without distraction, and you eat until you’re full. It isn’t always easy to know when your body is full – but yoga can help you reach a heightened state of awareness around what you put into your body. This helps you eat healthier and nourish your body. Think of it as a new way to practice self-love and self-care!
And if you have trouble de-stressing and unwinding to achieve this state of mind, make sure you try Teami Restore to help you feel calm and recharge.
One of the biggest benefits of yoga is that with enough practice, it may improve your outlook and mental health. Yoga increases calm feelings, confidence, and helps you feel more connected to your body. Establishing that connection can help you love your body more. And when you love your body, you’ll want to take care of it with nourishing foods, activity, and positive self-talk.
The great thing about yoga is that anyone can do it. Your size and ability do not matter. There are poses for everyone from beginners to advanced. And if you find that you can’t do a pose, it can likely be modified. That’s the beauty of yoga – you can do what you can when you start without pressure. The important part is that you go into your yoga routine with an open mind and excitement.
For beginners, a 20-minute yoga practice is a good place to start. This will help you build strength and flexibility and avoid injuries. If you want more variety during your workout, use yoga as a warm-up or cool-down for another low-impact exercise, such as swimming or walking.
If you’re wondering how to start your practice, you can work with a private yoga instructor, attend a yoga class, or start at home by looking up yoga practices for beginners on YouTube.
If you want to mix up your workout routine, try something new, or get back into working out altogether, yoga is a great place to start. You’ll not only improve your mind but also your body and spirituality! We want to see your best yoga poses if you give it a try – tag us on Instagram using #thankyouteami to share your best yoga tips and poses with us!