While yoga continues to experience a modern renaissance in popularity with new yoga classes popping up all over the nation each year, the practice and benefits of yoga have been experienced for thousands of years. It’s no wonder yoga has maintained its popularity when you look at its incredible positive impacts on your health. From increased flexibility to stress reduction, yoga benefits your body both inside and out. However, one benefit that’s attracting increasingly more people to various forms of this exercise is weight loss.
Yoga provides gentle aerobic exercise, making it a more accessible way to burn calories for a wider range of people. Aerobic benefits are especially effective for those who have never taken part in a regular exercise routine or have low activity levels, but even athletic individuals can benefit from yoga’s aerobic effects. When practiced regularly or in combination with other aerobic activities, yoga can rev up your metabolism, helping you more easily reach the calorie deficits necessary to burn fat towards not only losing weight but keeping it off.
Yoga is incredibly effective at increasing both strength and flexibility using your body’s own weight for resistance. Strength training through yoga helps you lose weight in two main ways. First, it builds muscle tissues, which in turn burns more calories to maintain than fat in your body. Second, working muscle tissue results in a calorie burn even after you finish a yoga class due to excess post-exercise oxygen consumption, or more simply put, the extra calorie burn needed to return oxygen to its normal resting levels in your body.
Yoga can also impact weight loss by helping control stress hormones often associated with weight gain. Yoga’s dual components of exercise and stress reduction help reduce the release of a hormone called cortisol, according to studies from the Thomas Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia. Cortisol is a stress-related hormone that causes weight gain by both increasing your cravings for unhealthy food and encouraging the storage of the foods you eat as fat. During the Philadelphia study, participants consistently had their cortisol levels drop after a yoga class through moves like Halasana (Plow Pose) and Vrksasana (Tree Pose). This means that not only will you feel a reduction in your stress levels after class, but your weight will be positively impacted as well.
Whether you’re an experienced yogi or you’re researching options for your first yoga class, one of the greatest benefits of yoga is that it can be modified for all fitness levels. This makes yoga accessible to anyone with an interest in experience yoga for weight loss or any of its many other health benefits.
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