Yoga is a spiritually rooted discipline which provides better health and well-being through techniques and activities including breath control, meditation and various bodily postures. Originated in India over hundreds of years ago, it’s a widely popular form of activity world over now to bring about a constant but well-founded long-term health benefits. Interestingly, yoga is a Sanskrit word meaning ‘union’ – symbolizing the various aspects it binds together – not just the physical stretching or the postures but mindfulness and importantly, our breath – creating a harmony that gives us inner peace.
As with any other discipline, yoga has various types which vary in intensity and benefits it may bring – a typical session can vary anywhere from 30-to-90 minutes. While consistent yoga practice has proven to bring a more balanced flexible body, a calmer mind and a well-founded inner peace – benefits like weight-loss through yoga are a constant debate.
More often than not, the way this question ‘can Yoga help in weight-loss’ gets structured, it invariably compares practicing yoga to pumping iron or running or other ‘seemingly’ more physically active forms of body movements to achieve weight loss. As with any other form of activity, it’s never just one action that brings a beautifully attractive slimmer version of you (contrary to lot of those television commercials!!!) To achieve sustainable weight-loss and improve your ‘body’ – one needs to look at the complete picture – bringing a physical activity which affects your body AND bringing a change in your food intake in conjunction AND making a lifestyle change to be conscious of these things. You can sweat out in a gym for an hour but no use if you are binging on a bar of chocolate late night watching TV. Never going to work!!!
Making these changes and bringing results require a more fundamental thinking, and that’s where including Yoga in your life helps a lot.
- Practicing yoga helps one become more conscious of their self – breath exercises helps your breathing which have positive effects on your optimal food intake.
- Some of the more intense yoga ‘aasans’ (as the postures are called) are better known to be helpful in burning more calories than the others. More intense sessions like a 90-min Hot Yoga or a Power Yoga can help one burn roughly same or more calories as a 5K running session (of course, depending on the individual characteristics, and body weight etc)
- Yoga also helps in de-stressing your mind, and that makes a calmer ‘you’ – which also helps to avoid bad food intake and a general appreciation and more self-control of what you are eating and not eating.
One should not treat yoga as THE weight-loss technique but should try to include yoga in your journey of becoming a better ‘you’. The discipline of yoga brings about a combination of a balanced relaxed mind, a better body and a more aware self, and that is going to help you over a longer term wherein losing weight would be just one of the milestones on the way. Namaste !!!