Yoga is an ancient physical, mental and spiritual practice that has taken off in popularity. But despite its resounding health benefits, many people hold true to their stereotypes.
Yoga is often mistaken for a “hippie” exercise or a mental health fad. Many people think it’s just about stretching and holding complicated poses. However, most experts agree that yoga works in different ways to promote health — and one of those benefits is weight control.
Yoga for Mindfulness
Mindfulness is referenced in almost every diet-based resource there is. That’s because it makes you more aware of your surroundings, which is key for weight control. Yoga is thought to be especially beneficial in this area for helping to slow the body and process thoughts. Some studies suggest that this may help with impulsive or binge eating, or even with physical activity.
Let’s say you always sit down to watch TV during dinner. If you take a few minutes before prepping dinner to practice yoga, you can better tune in to your body. You might realize that you’re not that hungry, or that your body may be craving certain nutrients. This knowledge can affect not only what you eat, but how (and how much) you eat.
Yoga for Mental Health
The brain and body are closely connected. How you feel mentally can also affect how you feel physically. For example, If you’re stressed, you’re probably fatigued and tight in the chest. If you’re relaxed, your heart and other organs (like your stomach) can work easier.
Yoga can release endorphins, ease muscle tension and relax you. It promotes longer, deeper sleep and reduces feelings of stress, anxiety or depression. It can also provide mental clarity, focus and concentration. All of these benefits are crucial to weight control.
Yoga for Physical Wellness
The ancient art of yoga doesn’t just heal the mind. Depending on the style of yoga you choose, you can reap many physical benefits. It has been proven to tone all kinds of muscles, increase metabolism and build flexibility. Slowed down movement can help restore muscles and relieve pain, and some styles that are more active can burn a surprising number of calories.
Tips for Getting Started:
- Consult with a healthcare professional before starting any exercise program.
- Identify what parts of your body/mind you want to improve.
- Research different styles of yoga for the benefits you’re seeking.
- Don’t feel pressured to try poses or styles you aren’t ready for.
- Look for classes in your area or take them at home using TV/videos.
- Start slowly and gradually build up your practice.
- A mat isn’t necessary, but can definitely come in handy.
- Don’t think that yoga is just for women or smaller body types.
For more information about this versatile exercise for weight, health and wellness, CLICK HERE.