Yoga for weight loss: fact or fiction?

Yoga for weight loss facts

You might have heard that doing yoga regularly might help one lose weight. First things first: before you put on your stretchy pants and start doing sun salutations, it is essential to be sure that your expectations are reasonable. How efficient is yoga in promoting weight loss? The practice of yoga is known to have numerous positive effects on both the mind and the body. Let’s have a peek.

A concise history of yoga as a form of physical activity

In India, sometime between 500 B.C. and 400 A.D., a collection of aphorisms known as the Yoga Sutras served as the basis for the earliest written description of what we now refer to as yoga. These collections are the ones responsible for the initial definitions of yoga as a spiritual activity. The purpose of yoga was to liberate the practitioner from the shackles of active thought and distractions, so that they may focus their awareness solely on the divine and themselves.

How did we end up doing yoga in a wellness facility located inside of a suburban strip mall when we were just there? This is a very lengthy journey. We won’t go into detail about everything here.

The asanas, also known as postures, got its beginnings with a type of yoga known as Hatha yoga. Over the course of the centuries, this fashion went in and out of vogue. At the end of the 1800s, Europe was being taken over by fitness movements, which eventually made their way to India. Hatha yoga asanas, along with strength training and various other types of exercise, were incorporated into the development of nationalist fitness routines.

The origins of the contemporary yoga studio in Western culture can be traced back to Shri Yogendra, who established The Yoga Institute. The Bombay bourgeoisie were frequent attendees at his first yoga facility, which he opened in Bombay. 1919 was the year that he established his first location in the United States. It is possible that he was the first yogi to present a yoga practice that was not religiously affiliated (Newcombe, 2017). In order to differentiate it from the religious heritage that is associated with classical yoga, some people refer to this style of yoga exercise as “modern postural yoga.”

For weight loss, try some yoga.

For the vast majority of people, the only surefire strategy to lose weight and bring down their body mass index (BMI) is to burn more calories than they take in every day. The two extremes of the equation, burning and eating, can each be interpreted in a number of various ways.

Is it true that yoga is a good way to burn calories? The answer, in a nutshell, is that it is dependent. There are numerous styles of yoga, some of which are more conducive to physical activity than others. They range from gentle yoga poses designed for relaxation to more strenuous forms of exercise.

Vinyasa yoga

Meditation and controlled breathing are essential components of certain types of yoga. Some forms of yoga, such as vinyasa, place an emphasis not just on the asanas, but also on the exact transitions that take place between them. The body is kept moving throughout these forms, which provide a greater aerobic workout than simply holding poses would.

There are 11 positive effects that yoga has on both your physical and emotional wellbeing.

A more recent study that looked at adults who were obese revealed that the pace at which they exercised made a substantial effect. Over the course of three sessions, the participants lowered their time spent in each stance from six to three seconds. Researchers discovered that all speeds qualified as moderate level exercise and were good options for exercisers with obesity. Even though even the fastest pace was not the metabolic equivalent of walking, researchers found that all speeds qualified as moderate level exercise.

Bikram yoga

Then there is the practice of Bikram Yoga. Bikram yoga is practiced in a room heated to 105 degrees Fahrenheit with 40 percent humidity. The practice lasts for 90 minutes and consists of 26 different asanas. You may have heard rumors that experienced Bikram practitioners can burn 1,000 calories in a single session of the practice. This assertion is not supported by any scientific evidence. Studies have revealed that only a select few high-intensity cardiovascular sports, such as running, fast swimming, or high-intensity interval training (HIIT), can burn calories at that pace. However, many yoga instructors and personal trainers continue to recite it without questioning its validity.

Although practicing Bikram yoga, also known as hot yoga, does not come close to the amount of calories that are supposed to be burned, it is still an acceptable form of moderate exercise. A research conducted in 2014 on Bikram practitioners of varying levels of expertise indicated that during a typical 90-minute session, participants burned anything from 179 to 478 calories. That’s quite a large range, and it might be attributed to a number of different things. The participant’s level of experience was a factor that contributed to better outcomes, with more experienced practitioners burning a larger average amount of calories than less experienced practitioners.

What are the advantages of this over walking? That varies. We can apply the formula of 0.75 calories per kilometer per kilogram of body weight in order to calculate the number of calories that are burned during walking. According to the standards used in the United States, this equates to a little more than half a calorie per mile per pound. If he walked at 3.2 miles per hour while weighing 197 pounds, the typical American male would burn the same number of calories as the most advanced Bikram exercisers. For the same effect, a person weighing 120 pounds would need to move at a speed of 5.3 miles per hour, which is closer to a running rate.

Nothing in this should be taken to imply that a Bikram class is not a beneficial form of exercise. It is! However, a quick stroll at a constant speed can be just as effective, despite the fact that it is less social.

Additional styles of yoga

It’s possible that other types of yoga burn more calories than Bikram does. It does not appear that the warm room or the high humidity make a substantial impact in the amount of calories that are burned. There is some evidence that more strenuous forms of yoga, such as Ashtanga vinyasa yoga or any of its numerous offshoots (sometimes promoted as “power yoga”), may have a more significant impact on the cardiovascular system.

Even though yoga may not burn as many calories on its own as high-intensity exercise does, consistent yoga practice can promote flexibility and alleviate joint pain. Because of this, a person might be motivated to engage in additional training or lead a more active lifestyle in general.

The benefits of yoga extend far beyond the mere burning of calories. Some may be related to the management of weight. Let’s take a look at some of the other potential benefits of yoga for helping people reach their weight loss objectives.

Yoga and sleep

It might sound contradictory, but one of the most important steps in the process of reducing weight is to do absolutely nothing. That is not to mean that if you spend the entire day sitting on the couch, the fat around your middle will go. However, getting a enough amount of sleep each night is an essential component of leading a healthy lifestyle.

One study that looked at persons who were overweight or obese and were put on restricted diets found that reducing the amount of time spent in bed by 90 minutes per day, five days per week resulted to significant weight loss. The group that wasn’t getting enough sleep dropped a somewhat less proportion of their initial weight. More significant was the location where they misplaced it. For the group that continued their regular sleeping habits, an average of eighty percent of the weight loss occurred from reductions in body fat. In the study group that didn’t get enough sleep, more than 86 percent of the weight loss came from lean mass, while just around 17 percent came from fat.

According to the findings of a comprehensive meta-analysis, a shorter sleep duration may be linked to less healthy diets. The reasons for this are still being investigated at this time.

What exactly is the connection between this and yoga? Yoga has been shown in the vast majority of trials to improve sleep quality, even though it does not appear to be a treatment for insomnia per se. It’s not simply because you’re worn out from all the hard work, though.

Yoga and mental strain

There is often a correlation between stress and weight gain. Our ability to plan ahead and keep our impulses in check is negatively impacted when we are under stress. It can cause one to consume excessively, particularly unhealthy foods that are heavy in sugar or fat. Both sleep and activity levels can be negatively impacted by stress. This has the potential to generate a feedback loop, as stress can in turn lead to obesity. Would practicing yoga be able to break this cycle?

Yoga by itself may not be enough to alleviate tension and anxiety, according to the findings of certain studies. There is a lack of consistency among the studies that have been conducted to determine whether or not yoga has an effect on physiological stress markers such as standing blood pressure and heart rate.

There are occasions when it is not the exercise itself but rather the more general behaviors that can have a beneficial effect on stress. A comparison was made in a study that involved college students between practicing integrated yoga, which includes spiritual practice, and practicing yoga solely for its physical benefits. Although both groups reported improvements in their perceived mental health, only the group that participated in integrated yoga showed consistently lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol. According to the findings of another study, the aspects of yoga that looked to be most effective in lowering high blood pressure were not the poses themselves but rather the practices of controlled breathing and meditation. However, even back then, it was only effective when combined with other medications.

Concerning yoga’s effects on stress, more research is needed. However, there is one point on which almost everyone can agree: doing so won’t injure in any way.

Meditation and physical yoga.

It would appear that yoga encourages attentiveness in other aspects of life, such as decisions regarding eating. Although doing yoga won’t necessarily make you a vegan, the increased awareness of one’s body that comes with it may correlate with an increased awareness of what one puts into their body. Those participants in a big research of young adults in their early 30s who practiced yoga had a higher consumption of fruits and vegetables and a lower propensity for consuming fast food.

It could appear as though the same kind of person who would be interested in yoga would also be the kind of person who would eat healthier regardless. However, in follow-up interviews, ninety percent of respondents reported that regular yoga practice led to them developing more attentive eating habits. This could occur for a variety of reasons. It’s possible that the yoga group itself is a significant role, in addition to higher levels of mindfulness and self-awareness. It’s possible that being friends with folks who exercise regularly and eat healthily will motivate you to do the same if you join them for such activities.

The jury is still out on whether or not yoga can help people lose weight.

Therefore, will enrolling in a yoga class help one to shed extra pounds? However, attending the class rather than registering won’t count toward the requirement. Yoga is a terrific supplement to any fitness routine, but the amount of weight reduction you experience from it is likely to be less significant than what you could achieve through severe cardiovascular exercise. In addition to the positive effects on one’s physical health, it may also contribute to an overall improvement in one’s sense of well-being.