Does yoga lead to weight loss? I’m going to answer this often asked question without going on and on about why I dislike the question itself. A caveat: I am not a doctor, dietitian, or naturopath – nor do I play one on the yoga mat. All the same, here we go. Does yoga lead to weight loss? I realize this is a controversial question, and my answer is a resounding yes.
- Yoga builds your mindfulness muscle. When we cultivate mindfulness on our mats through our breath, we can access the skill of mindfulness when staring in the freezer at the ice cream tub.
- Yoga connects you with your essence and higher purpose. When you tap into this connection, a potato chip’s grip on your mind dissipates. When you are up to something bigger, the “small” fades without effort.
- Yoga is movement. Movement = caloric movement & digestive fire.
- Vinyasa and power yoga are mindful versions of high intensity interval training. HIIT creates the ultimate burn in that it simultaneously stimulates bursts of aerobic activity balanced by total recovery (think rinse and repeat) and strength training.
- Yoga resets your nervous system. When you are in fight or flight (sympathetic NS activation), you improperly digest and fire. When we drop into a relaxed nervous system, our metabolism and digestive system operate optimally; using food as short-term fuel and detoxing our organs.
- Yoga improves sleep. Sleep enhances weight management. Not sure you buy it? Research the literature on sleep, and you’ll change your bedtime. I promise.
One last plug for yoga as a weight loss tool… I am a proponent of heated yoga. (And thus both of my studios are 84 – 94 degrees based on the class style). Heat builds stamina and flexibility. It elevates the heart rate and detoxifies the system. Heat reduces hunger and increases water thirst. All of these factors are positive contributors to weight management and loss.
Here’s the bottom line… yoga decreases stress, increases mindfulness, and reconnects us with our higher purpose. When this trifecta is in play, our desire to binge, nibble, snack, graze, and indulge is replaced by our desire to love, connect, breathe, and create meaning in our life.
Just ponder. And choose well.