That moment when you take a seat on your mat, inhale deeply, and center into awareness… if you've been curious about whether your yoga practice can help you lose weight and transform your body, some experts say it truly can. There's just one important key to understanding how it works—but if you do, science suggests this can be a powerful means of trimming down for good.
Keep reading to learn how yoga can support your weight loss goals.
Take it easy
We'll start by saying that more intensive modalities of yoga, like power yoga and Bikram, might heighten your weight-loss potential from yoga just through the calorie burning that comes from aggressive movement, muscle engagement, and temporarily depleting the body of water (and afterward, you've got to remember to drink up!).
Instead, we're talking about milder versions of yoga, like vinyasa or Hatha, that engage the whole body, but also aim to amplify the connection between body, mind, and spirit. Research has suggested these arguably gentler yoga practices can be effective means of supporting weight loss…
Several studies have found associations between yoga and weight loss. Recently, Harvard Medical School's blog cited a study that found people who practiced yoga for 30 minutes once a week over four years gained less weight in middle adulthood than some of their peers.
The blog adds that those who were overweight and practiced yoga actually saw their weight decrease.
Fitness and nutrition pros explain
Dina Ivas, a formerly Brooklyn-based certified yoga teacher who's been instructing internationally during the pandemic, says she "absolutely" agrees that practicing yoga can make an impact on weight loss. "Ever since I began a regular yoga practice," Ivas tells Eat This, Not That!, "I became way more aware of habits like eating too fast, and started to truly enjoy slowing down and savoring a meal."
Los Angeles-based, board-certified holistic nutritionist Katie Bressack lends further insight to us on how this works. "A yoga practice helps you create a mind-body connection [because] the breath allows you to slow down and connect with the movement." Bressack says this "transfers to other areas of your life to more mindful eating, reduction in stress, and improved sleep—which all help support weight loss."
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