Is yoga good for weight loss

The main method of losing weight is creating a calorie deficit where you reduce your energy intake (diet) and increase its expenditure (exercise).

The main goal of training in this scheme is to increase calorie expenditure. This means that the more intense and longer you exercise, the more calories you burn and the faster you lose weight. In this regard, yoga is practically useless.

Half hour workout burns from 120 to 178 kcal depending on body weight. About the same amount can be spent for half an hour of leisurely walking (5.6 km / h).

Light running at a speed of about 8 km / h will burn twice as many calories.

But at the same time, yoga can still have a positive effect on weight and body composition.

Analysis A 2013 study showed that out of 17 yoga-based weight loss programs, 13 helped participants to adjust the percentage of fat and muscle for the better, even if the weight remained unchanged.

Similar data were obtained in a later review2015: Of eight randomized controlled trials, six confirmed the benefits of yoga for weight loss.

New year later analysis 10 scientific papers found that yoga is effective in reducing body mass index in overweight and obese people, but does not work for those whose BMI is in the normal range.

There is also some evidence that yoga helps maintain weight in the long term. In one research analyzed the lifestyle and weight of 15.5 thousand people between 35 and 40 years old.

It turned out that doing yoga for four years reduces the risk of getting fat. Slender people (BMI – less than 25) who practiced this system of exercises gained an average of 1.4 kg less than those who did not exercise. As for the overweight subjects, training helped them lose about 2.2 kg in four years. Overweight people who ignored classes gained an average of 6 kg in the same time.

Thus, yoga can help those who are very overweight, but are in no hurry to lose weight and are ready to immerse themselves in the practice for the sake of health and pleasure.

But even then, there is no undeniable effectiveness, since many of the studies in the reviews above included few participants and had methodological problems. For concrete conclusions, more high-quality scientific papers are needed.

In terms of existing research, scientists suggest that people lost weight not through increased calorie expenditure, but through other mechanisms.

How yoga can help you lose weight

Reduces stress

A high degree of nervous tension is often leads to weight gain – both due to “jamming” with sweets and other junk food, and due to hormonal changes.

Under chronic stress, people have persistently elevated levels of cortisol, a hormone that promotes accumulation of fat in the abdomen and prevents it from being lost. Moreover, even in case calorie deficit.

Regular yoga practice reduces the level stresswhich in the future can help get rid of excess fat reserves.

Improves hormonal profile

Yoga also affects other hormones responsible for energy metabolism in the body. In one experiment found that experienced yogis had 36% more leptin and 28% more adiponectin than beginners.

Leptin is responsible for suppressing hunger, while adiponectin maintains insulin sensitivity. Decreased levels of these hormones lead to weight gain, obesity and the development of metabolic diseases.

Teaches mindful eating

If you’re used to eating dinner while watching TV or your smartphone, it’s easy to miss when you’re full and eat more than your body needs.

Conscious eating strategy apply in the treatment of eating disorders, and it helps as well as psychotherapy and educational lectures on the subject. Moreover, this approach increases the pleasure of eating and makes it easier to control eating habits.

By learning to be mindful through yoga, people start notice how hard and unpleasant it becomes after overeating, are learning it is better to track the onset of satiety and finish the meal exactly when you have eaten, and not when the food in the plate has run out.

How to do yoga for weight loss

Train regularly and fully

get busy yoga for 60 minutes a day, at least three times a week.

You can have shorter sessions, such as in the morning or during the day, but three times a week, find an hour of free time for a full workout.

Unlike running or strength training, yoga does not require a long rest to recover, so you can safely arrange sessions for 1-1.5 hours daily.

The longer and more often you practice, the better for weight loss and overall health.

Combine different aspects of practice

Yoga includes not only holding asanas, but also elements such as breathing and meditation. And although they are often flavored with spiritual and religious content, it is not at all necessary to think about chakras and imagine lotuses.

Both breathing techniques and meditation (concentration on an object or event) have a positive effect on the central nervous system, help relieve stress and more effectively deal with it in everyday life.

By supplementing physical exercises with breathing and concentration techniques on your body or thoughts, you increase benefit from yoga practice.

Don’t Forget About Mindful Eating

Over time, yoga classes will help you feel better about your body and give up unhealthy foods and overeating. But if you want to lose weight faster, you can take a step in this direction before it happens on its own.

Choose a time when you can be alone, take your time and put all your attention on food. Turn off the TV, put away your smartphone and books.

Take small bites and chew slowly. Concentrate on food – feel its taste, structure and smell. Try not to be distracted by extraneous thoughts and stay in the present moment.

Monitor your sensations to understand when saturation has come. And don’t be afraid to leave food on your plate – you don’t have to send everything that’s there to you.

You can also try the following methods:

  • Take the cutlery in your non-dominant hand or try eating with chopsticks.
  • Set a kitchen timer for 20 minutes and try to spread your meal over that time.
  • Before opening the refrigerator or food cabinet, ask yourself if you are really hungry. If you’re not sure about this, try doing something like reading, walking, or breathing exercises. If the hunger was not physiological, but emotional, during the session it will leave you.

Is it possible to lose weight fast with yoga?

Yoga is a long-term health and weight management project. This practice does not lead to rapid weight loss, especially in people with a BMI within the normal range.

If you get on the scales every morning and measure volumes, looking forward to when the extra weight will go away and the cubes will appear, you will most likely simply be disappointed and abandon the classes, recognizing them as ineffective.

Yoga is suitable for those who are tired of constant diets and exercises that do not bring pleasure, who want to accept and love their body, make friends with it and learn to listen to it.

If you need to shed a few pounds for an event, or you’re aiming for a sports magazine cover figure, consider other options for physical activity. For example, a combination of cardio and strength training or high-intensity interval training.