Yoga Lifestyle Change and Weight Loss

yoga lifestyle change

By Dr. Paul Jerard, E-RYT 500, YACEP

As of today, when searching through Google Scholar there are 65,700 results regarding “Yoga for Weight Loss.” We have no shortage of studies at this time. Here’s a theory for you. After all the research about Yoga for weight loss, we know that Yoga lifestyle is a factor, but we don’t know exactly why. It’s not the number of calories burned. It reminds me of Aesop’s Fable: “The Tortoise and The Hare.”

 

Walk or Run?

Here’s a spin on the story: The Hare can run and he will lose weight, but when he gets to the finish line, he burns the same amount of calories as the Tortoise at the finish line. In other words, if you travel a mile on foot, you burn approximately 100 calories, whether you walk or run.

Yoga for Life

Now, here’s another spin: If the Hare made a Yoga lifestyle change, his body would be in good shape in his senior years. At the same time, he might develop a daily practice and enjoy his Yoga lifestyle. The key is to look at the long-term objective and never give up. Well, that’s one more happy ending.

 

New Student Needs

Granted, students come to classes for many different reasons. Sometimes, new students ask, “What does a healthy, active Yoga lifestyle change look like?” We’ve all heard about the importance of exercising for longevity and good health, but what are the daily habits that make up this lifestyle? Yoga is a great way to help students control weight, but it’s a way of life.

Marathon Mindset

Compared to going on a diet, Yoga can be practiced anytime, anywhere. It can also promote strength, flexibility and increase your energy level. There are many “Yoga workouts” that have been created to target specific parts of the body and/or individual health conditions. Holding Yoga poses is a low-impact form of exercise on the physical level, but during the process, self-awareness is stimulated. Enhanced awareness and mindfulness set the stage for controlled eating and continued practice.

 

Power of Transitions

In Vinyasa Yoga, much credit is given to the transition from one pose to another. The theory is movement burns more calories than holding poses. Of course, this makes sense and Vinyasa flows average 400 to 500 calories burned per hour. Yet, Hatha Yoga practitioners average 175 to 300 calories burned per hour. Additionally, there have been more flows added to Hatha Yoga classes within the past 20 years.

Food for Thought

As you already know, Yoga is not just an exercise. However, when anyone starts to practice and stays on the path, results happen. At the same time, changes are not usually noticeable first. Nevertheless, changes happen to one’s emotional and mental health, long before newfound muscle tone can be seen. To believe in one’s self and move in a direction of forward progress is a mystery to many people. Yet, experienced Yoga practitioners know exactly what they want. In challenging times, that is not easy with so many distractions.

 

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Research

Pandit DP, Upadhyah A, Goyal P, Sharma D. Effect of short term yoga on body weight, BMI, body fat percentage & blood pressure. Indian J Clin Anat Physiol. (2019) 6:179–82.

Jakicic JM, Davis KK, Rogers RJ, et al. Feasibility of integration of yoga in a behavioral weight-loss intervention: a randomized trial. Obesity (Silver Spring). 2021;29(3):512-520.

Govindaraj R, Karmani S, Varambally S, Gangadhar BN. Yoga and physical exercise—a review and comparison. Int Rev Psychiatry. (2016) 28:242–53. 10.3109/09540261.2016.1160878

McIver S, McGartland M, O’Halloran P. “Overeating is not about the food”: women describe their experience of a yoga treatment program for binge eating. Qual Health Res. 2009;19(9):1234-1245.

Hendriks T, de Jong J, Cramer H. The effects of yoga on positive mental health among healthy adults: a systematic review and meta-analysis. J Alt Compl Med. (2017) 23:505–17. 10.1089/acm.2016.0334

McDermott KA, Rao MR, Nagarathna R, Murphy EJ, Burke A, Nagendra RH, et al. . A yoga intervention for type 2 diabetes risk reduction: a pilot randomized controlled trial. BMC Complement Altern Med. (2014) 14:212. 10.1186/1472-6882-14-212

Chauhan A, Semwal DK, Mishra SP, Semwal RB. Yoga practice improves the body mass index and blood pressure: a randomized controlled trial. Int J Yoga. (2017) 10:103–6. 10.4103/ijoy.IJOY_46_16

Pandit DP, Upadhyah A, Goyal P, Sharma D. Effect of short term yoga on body weight, BMI, body fat percentage & blood pressure. Indian J Clin Anat Physiol. (2019) 6:179–82.

Cramer H, Lauche R, Haller H, Steckhan N, Michalsen A, Dobos G. Effects of yoga on cardiovascular disease risk factors: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Int J Cardiol. (2014) 173:170–83. 10.1016/j.ijcard.2014.02.017

Related Resources

The YOGA MIND:

52 Essential Principles of Yoga Philosophy to Deepen your Practice

by Rina Jakubowicz

RESTORATIVE YOGA FOR LIFE:

A Relaxing Way to De-stress, Re-energize, and Find Balance

by: Gail Boorstein Grossman

YOGA: THE PATH TO HOLISTIC HEALTH

by B.K.S. Iyengar

TEACHING YOGA: Essential Foundations and Techniques

By Mark Stephens

See our testimonials to find out what our graduates have to say about teaching Yoga sessions and living a Yoga lifestyle.

 

Weight Loss As a Side Effect of Pleasurable Yoga Practice

By Helena Lucas

Alongside feeling great and having fun, weight loss where necessary comes naturally to students through consistent yoga practice. This is triggered by stimulation of specific body organs and glands directly involved in weight loss/regulation processes through postures, by producing optimal adjustments in your metabolism, by regulating your intestinal transit, and by building up your muscle tone making it easier to rid off excess fat from firmer areas. Also by enhancing detox processes, by promoting a relaxed state whilst increasing your awareness and focus, and by shifting your attitude towards increasing positivity.

 

Metabolic Process

The yoga lifestyle in great part aims at optimizing your endocrine system. Here, your thyroid gland plays a central role in weight loss/regulation and is responsible for the smooth tempo of important body functions and metabolic processes. The yoga Shoulder Stand stimulates your thyroid gland by bringing an increased supply of blood into your throat area. This and other inverted yoga postures, whereby organs and glands which are normally above the pumping heart are positioned below it, improve your blood circulation and the functioning of glands and organs.

Internal Movement

Regular bowel movements are essential for health and for needed weight loss. The yoga Abdominal Lift in the standing and all-fours position acts as a massage for your stomach, colon, intestines, liver, kidneys, gall bladder, and pancreas. Alongside a proper diet, this yoga exercise relieves constipation.

 

Habits

Yoga practice includes breathing techniques (pranayama) to promote expulsion of toxins through your breath, burning of excess fat, and relaxation a la par with heightened awareness and focus. Tension relief through yoga practice permits compulsive eaters to replace their harmful habits with more constructive ones while achieving their desired weight loss. As you learn to listen to your body, you become acutely aware of what types of food do more good or harm to your life force. Here comes a breakthrough enabling your weight loss and optimization of energy levels by unmasking food allergies so as to avoid foods that have the most detrimental effect on your health. These vary from one individual to another and can range from oranges to wheat- any food type can do it.

Eating Habits

As your yoga practice promotes cleansing of your organism, your body becomes increasingly efficient at nutrient uptake from ingested food. You will meet your daily requirements from a more moderate ratio of balanced food, avoiding the need to overeat or cause harm to yourself through deprivation for weight loss. When your brain chemistry is unbalanced your mind and body crave nutritionally deficient foods. You eat junk and crave more junk. As a healthy mind automatically generates happy thoughts, a healthy body secures healthful foods. Imbalances in serotonin and dopamine neurotransmitters, responsible for a great extent of addictions, can be improved through the intake of certain good foods. Important brain chemicals are produced from specific amino acids contained in the proteins we eat. Doctor John Gray goes into comprehensive detail on this matter in his enjoyable read ‘The Mars and Venus Diet and Exercise Solution’.

 

Optimal Weight

Your body’s metabolic processes are unique. You will thus benefit from a unique combination of effects offset by yoga practice’s powerful techniques. Grasp this all-important truth: “Only I can determine through experience what amounts and type of food work to fuel my healthy body, and what amount of exercise I require to maintain my beautiful figure.” Your unique bone structure determines your optimal weight. Definitely do not attempt to evaluate your attractiveness or well-being through universal charts in fashion magazines. This could bring you not only frustration but serious physical problems too.

Self-Maintenance

Look to your proportions, work on toning your muscles and on making your skin taut and firm, develop an erect posture and move with grace and balance. Achieve this through a pleasurable and simple yoga lifestyle starting today. Your radiating vitality, harmony, and confidence are what others perceive as your unique appeal. This makes you, as an individual, universally attractive.

 

About the Author

Helena Lucas is qualified in psychology and is engaged in the practice of alternative healing techniques and treatments. She has traveled throughout Europe and Africa to care for rescued chimpanzees in primate sanctuaries, always sharing her bed with her two cats Fairy and Aisha on board. Be it in the jungle or metropolis, Helena greets each sunrise through Yoga lifestyle for strength and motivation.

2 thoughts on “Yoga Lifestyle Change and Weight Loss”

  1. Thanks! I feel really comfortable with this post. This explains a lot because the amount of movement doesn’t explain the great results. I tend to buy into the idea of a yoga lifestyle change for weight loss. It’s more about practicing for longevity than short term weight loss. With a marathon runner’s attitude, results happen over time.

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