Yoga can help you shed pounds quickly. Since it builds strength and endurance, people can often lose weight simply by participating in yoga regularly.
I was surprised to learn that practicing yoga on a regular basis helps burn fat. Since it is so low impact, I found it hard to believe until I read research on the subject.
Once I discovered this, I became even more convinced of the benefits of yoga.
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Here’s what I learned after researching how yoga burns fat, reduce cellulite, and lose weight. These are my top five takeaways.
1) Yoga Increases Your Metabolism
The poses in yoga strengthen and tone your muscles and ligaments. This increases the metabolism of your body since more muscles use more energy to function efficiently than less toned ones do.
The faster your metabolism, the more calories you burn throughout the day, even when you are resting! If you are trying to lose weight or maintain your current weight, increasing your metabolic rate will help achieve your goals.
Any form of exercise burns calories, and you’ll burn more calories when you do workouts that use more of your body’s metabolic resources.
A study done by Touro Scholar had people do an 8 minute routine that included breathing techniques and simple yoga exercises.
They found that after the six week program, the basal metabolic rate, or the amount of energy your body uses to function when at rest, increased by 31.1 cc/kg in the group. This means that the group’s fat-burning capabilities more than doubled during this time period.
2) Yoga Improves Your Posture And Helps You Stand Taller
Most people tend to slouch during the day without even realizing it, which puts a lot of strain on the lower back and hips.
When you practice yoga regularly, you learn how to stand up straighter and how to lengthen the spine properly which reduces back pain and tightens the abdominal muscles which helps tone the waist line and reduces the appearance of cellulite on the thighs and buttocks.
By lengthening and strengthening the muscles of the abdomen, doing regular practice of yoga poses can help reduce belly fat quickly. It can also help you tighten the muscles of your pelvis and reduce the appearance of cellulite on your thighs and buttocks!
3) Yoga Lowers Stress Levels
Because it reduces stress and improves breathing, doing regular yoga practice can lower stress levels in your body. Lower levels of stress can lower your blood pressure and increase feelings of relaxation
According to Harvard Health Publishing:
“Yoga can decrease stress and cortisol levels, enhance mood, decrease anxiety and depression, improve sleep, and improve chronic conditions such as hypertension and diabetes, reducing the need for medications that can cause weight gain.”
As a result of stress, the hormone cortisol is increased in the bloodstream, which leads to an increase in abdominal fat, a decrease in muscle mass.
Stress also increases cravings for fat and sugarrich foods, leading to obesity.
So managing stress is a big part of losing weight. Many times people try diet pills, trendy food programs, and and the latest diets only to regain the weight they lost.
One of the reasons is they fail to manage the factors that really affect why they gain weight.
Managing stress levels also improves the quality of sleep you get which also helps with weight loss! When you have good rest at night it helps reset your hormones to help you burn more body fat throughout the day!
4) Yoga Improves Blood Circulation And Delivers Oxygen To All Body Parts More Quickly
You may have heard about hot yoga classes that are all the rage these days.
Hot yoga classes are challenging because they increase your heart rate during the poses and make them harder to do.
Increased heart rate during exercise increases blood circulation which increases the delivery of oxygen to all parts of your body more quickly. The more oxygen that reaches your muscles the faster you can recover from your workouts.
Plus, improved blood circulation helps with weight loss by speeding up the elimination of toxins from your system and helping to burn more calories by burning more stored body fat as well.
A study was conducted by the Sweat Box Yoga that found participants were able to burn off an extra 240 calories in an hour of hot yoga!
By improving circulation and reducing inflammation in the body, hot yoga also helps decrease cellulite by reducing fluid retention in the tissues of the body.
An added benefit of hot yoga is it releases endorphins in the body that make you feel good during and after your session which can motivate you to keep coming back!
5) Yoga Improves Insulin Sensitivity
Insulin sensitivity is the ability of insulin to transport glucose from the blood into cells of the body where it is used for energy.
If you have high insulin levels in your body, it indicates your cells are not responding to insulin properly. Over time insulin resistance can lead to type-2 diabetes where the body no longer responds to insulin and the pancreas has to produce more and more insulin just to maintain normal blood sugar levels.
Over time high insulin levels can cause weight gain around the belly area because of excess abdominal fat buildup.
Having low insulin sensitivity can also result in excess water retention around the midsection resulting in bloating and swelling of the legs.
According to author achel Zinman (Yoga For Diabetes) [affiliate link], yoga can help increase insulin sensitivity.
By doing regular yoga practice you can increase insulin sensitivity which helps with weight loss because your body will be able to respond to blood sugar better and release energy more efficiently into the cells of the body rather than storing it as excess body fat!
In the video below, Dr. Ben Kim shows a simple yoga routine you can do to increase insulin sensitivity.
By controling your insulin levels, you have a better chance of losing weight and maintaining your overall health.
As I mentioned above, it is important to manage stress levels in your life. When stress levels are high, cortisol levels go up which increases insulin resistance in the body as well as causing hormonal imbalances which can lead to increased belly fat!
These five tips should motivate you to make yoga a part of your overall health routine.
Start slow by just doing short sessions at home a few times a week and then gradually build up to longer sessions as you get more comfortable with the practice.
But keep in mind that even as little as ten minutes of yoga practice is better than no practice at all! It is so easy to incorporate into any lifestyle change you may be making like eating healthy or going on a juice fast!
I love how this practice helps me feel energized and clear my mind of negative thoughts and stress!
If you are looking for a great place to start (then expand your yoga routine), I recommend Yoga Burn. They currently have a 12 week challenge that is great for both beginners and moderate students.