Yoga may not be the first thing you think about when it comes to losing weight.
If you’re overweight and you want to drop those pounds ASAP, your first thoughts might be HIIT workouts or running...high impact, fat shredding routines.
And there’s absolutely nothing wrong with those!
But for some folks, those types of workouts can be dangerous, hard on their heart and joints. It can also be pretty deflating when you’re unable to complete those harder forms of exercise because of excess weight.
This is where yoga for weight loss comes to the rescue!
Yes. Yoga can help you lose weight, tone, strengthen, and build stamina while also protecting your joints. If you’re interested in trying out a yoga class specifically designed for those of you who need to drop some pounds or are just starting out in the world of workouts, try my Yoga for Obesity class on myYogaTeacher!
But, as we’ve said before, yoga isn’t just for a specific body type. It’s for every body type. So don’t think you have to be overweight (or not) to jump in!
You’re wondering how these two go together, right? Yeah, I thought so!
One of the major health benefits of yoga is self-awareness, mindfulness. People who practice yoga regularly become much more aware of how they’re feeling physically, mentally and emotionally.
There’s no shame at all in admitting that you grab those bad-for-you foods when you’re stressed, sad, mad, or tired. Or any other range of emotions.
Food releases endorphins!
However, studies have shown that practicing yoga and mindfulness does in fact help you resist overeating and comfort eating. You are more likely to recognize when you’re full, eat slower, and choose food options that are better for you.
Which leads me to #2…
Did you know that quality sleep is associated with weight loss? True story.
Sleep deprivation, restriction, and low quality of sound sleep negatively impacts your weight, mind and emotions. And that is a disastrous combination! We eat more when we’re sleepy and trying to stay awake.
Think about it. What do you eat or drink the most when you’re tired? Sodas? Fast food? Twinkies, Oreos, or some other sugar filled junk food? What do you eat or drink when you’re super emotional or need more mental clarity?
When you don’t sleep well, you often don’t eat well.
Yoga has a ton of health benefits. One of them is better sleep! Yoga particularly helps those who are overweight sleep better. Being overweight itself can hinder good sleep. Snoring, being unable to get comfortable, aches and pains associated with being overweight. All of those are reasons you may not be getting good sleep. Or enough sleep.
There are several types of yoga for weight loss. There is also yoga to help you sleep better, such as yoga nidra or yin yoga! You can find lots of classes to help with sleep, including mine, at myYogaTeacher. Grab your 2-week free trial here!
Yoga burns calories for sure! Which is exactly what you need to do to get in better shape and lose those unwanted pounds.
There are certain types of yoga for weight loss that are more effective at burning those calories than others. Power yoga, ashtanga, and vinyasa are three of the most common.
But if you’re a beginner and really struggling with weight gain or limited mobility due to injury or excess weight, a yoga class specifically for overweight yogis might be more beneficial for you to begin with. All the poses will have modifications. It’s a slower practice and there’s more guidance with alignment. Also, you may feel more comfortable and confident in a class that you know was designed with your body type and struggles in mind!
As you progress in your practice, you’ll feel much better about trying other types of yoga and poses that are meant to make you feel the burn and sweat it out! You’ll shrink physically but grow mentally and emotionally.
Long term exposure to stress or stressful situations leads to increased cortisol levels. When cortisol levels are high for extended periods of time, it can lead to obesity.
High cortisol levels have specifically been linked to excess abdominal fat and increased appetite. Of course, what does almost everyone do more of when they’re stressed? Eat! This act of eating more during stressful times has been proven to be directly correlated with our reaction to high levels of cortisol.
How do we combat stress in a healthier way?
You guessed it. Yoga and meditation!
A regular yoga practice will reduce your stress levels, which, in turn, reduces your “comfort eating” and consumption of unhealthy foods. In essence, reducing stress reduces weight!
Many overweight people are in pain.
Your cholesterol and blood sugar may be perfect. Your blood pressure is pristine. Your doctor says your heart looks great. But your body hurts.
A hurting body doesn’t want to exercise. But exercise helps a hurting body not hurt.
It’s a vicious cycle.
Yoga helps you lose weight, yes. But it also cures various aches and pains, no matter what that pain is due to. Whether your knees and back hurt because you’re overweight or because of previous injuries, yoga can help!
And when we hurt less, we move more, right? When we move more, we burn more calories, strengthen muscles, gain more flexibility, reduce pressure on our joints, and are less likely to get injured or be in pain in the future.
And that’s the kind of cycle you want to be in! It’s the kind we all want to be in!
If you’re struggling with a few extra pounds or…well, more than a few, yoga is there for you. We can do it together in my Yoga for Obesity class, where I’ve created a practice that is perfect for every body type. Not a member yet? Get your myYogaTeacher 2-week free trial here and have access to 35+ different yoga classes every single day!
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