Can yoga help you lose weight ?Abhishek Sharma
Yoga has become a fad today and many people believe that this no-strain, easy to do exercise can help them lose weight. But does it actually work? Can yoga help you lose weight for real? Researchers and fitness experts are divided on the verdict and it has been a topic of much debate because millions of lives are at stake. Some people hold the view that basic yoga is not vigorous enough to initiate the fat burning process because simple breathing exercise can’t boost the metabolism. While others argue that yoga can indeed help you lose weight because it stimulates all the glands and organs to improve your digestive mechanism. Let’s take a look at it from both sides and find out how can yoga help you lose weight.
How can yoga help you lose weight
The first and foremost rule of weight loss says you have to reduce your calorie intake and increase your calorie burning rate. In other words, you have to create a calorie deficit. Yoga does help up to a certain extent but it burns far fewer calories at a much slower pace than traditional exercises like cardio and jogging. To raise your heart rate to the level of a vigorous exercise that promotes sweating and weight loss, you will have to do very difficult and dynamic styles of yoga like ashtanga which can be quite hard to do for an average person. It is laughable when people claim that someone they know lost 20 kg weight by doing 15 minutes of simple yoga like pranayama and hatha yoga each day. In fact it is said that laughing will actually burn more calories than such passive yoga techniques so might as well laugh to keep your heart rate up. The truth is that losing weight is only possible by doing power yoga, which requires a lot of stamina and flexibility to perform ‘aasanas’ or postures for at least 60 to 90 minutes each day. One such example is the headstand or sirsasana which is considered very effective for losing weight because it stretches your intestines and helps to move the food more efficiently but it can also cause serious injury to the neck if performed incorrectly. Clinical trials of yoga as an intervention for weight loss have also shown that you will have to practice high intensity yoga with high frequency to see any real change in your body. Knowing all of this, it is natural that a few questions may arise- Will you be able to do these risky yoga aasanas on your own or will you require the costly services of a trained yoga instructor? How can yoga help you lose weight without breaking your neck or burning a hole in your pocket?
Yoga trainers say there is no need to risk twisting your neck while trying hard aasanas just to find out how yoga can help you lose weight. If you are unable to cope with the difficulty level of power yoga, there are other safer alternatives like guided nutrition plans and Ayurvedic medicines that work wonders to show slimming results quickly. If you are overweight and have a suppressed metabolism then Ayurvedic medical science would attribute this to kapha dosh, which is an imbalance within the physiological sytems of the body. According to Ayurveda, losing weight is a process that begins internally and it cannot start unless you correct the imbalance within the body first. The first step towards restoring lost balance is to supplement your diet with powerful herbs such as guggul and vidang which naturally raise the metabolic rate to burn calories faster. Once the metabolic fire is restored in your belly, you will be able to utilize the true potential of yoga for accelerating the process of losing weight.
Yoga is an intrinsic part of Ayurveda and it would be unfair to say that yoga doesn’t do anything for weight loss. It does, but only when high intensity yoga is practiced and complemented with the optimal diet suggested by Ayurvedic principles. They key is to combine the physical benefits of natural herbs with the mental benefits of yoga. Yoga can heighten your sense of mindfulness about the body by making you more aware of what you should or shouldn’t eat, but ultimately it depends upon the inherent properties of the foods that you consume. Some Ayurvedic formulations such as Triphala have a unique property that they will automatically satiate your hunger for hours and you wont feel hungry again and again. When you consume such Ayurvedic herbs along with nutritional meals rich in whole grains, vegetables, fruits and nuts, your body will naturally reduce its energy intake while increasing its energy expenditure, thus creating a calorie deficit. Consistently do this for a week in addition to moderate level yoga and you will notice changes that show how much weight you have lost.
I hope I was able to answer this question about how can yoga help you lose weight. If you know about any other methods of losing weight that show positive results, please do share with us in the comments.