Yoga originated in ancient India. It is a form of exercise that involves both the body and mind. It combines relaxation techniques, poses, meditation and breathing. Most people practice yoga to maintain their health and well-being. There are also those who practice yoga to improve physical fitness, lose weight, relieve stress and enhance overall quality of life. Some studies show that yoga can also improve health conditions like arthritis, joint pain and anxiety. The question we will try to answer is if yoga can really help with weight loss.
Top Yoga Poses for Weight Loss
The reason why yoga can help with weight loss is because studies found that yoga increases insulin sensitivity which signals the body to burn food for energy instead of storing it as fat. Yoga also lowers stress which prevents the release of the stress hormone cortisol. There is a strong link between cortisol and cravings for high-sugar and other unhealthy food aside from the fact that cortisol promotes the storage of fat in the abdominal area. Here are the top poses you can try for weight loss:
This pose is excellent for firming the abs, hips and thighs. Stand with your feet together, toes facing forward and your arms at your sides. Inhale and raise your arms above your head with your fingertips reaching toward the ceiling. While exhaling, bend forward from your hips and bring your hands to the floor while bending your knees. This is similar to the lunge exercise for the legs. Inhale then step your right leg back into a lunge with your left knee bent around 90 degrees. Hold for a few seconds then return to initial position and repeat with the other leg back.
This pose is for firming the shoulders, abs arms and back. The starting position is just like when you’re about to perform a push-up with your arms straight. Your hands should be in the area below your shoulders and your body should be aligned from the head to the heels. While exhaling, lower your chest to the floor while your elbows are bending back with your arms close to your body and your abs tight. Hold for a few seconds a few inches before reaching the floor. This is similar to the plank exercise for the core.
Benefits of Yoga
The main benefit of yoga is that it can help tone your muscles. It can also improve muscle strength especially with the advanced yoga poses. Yoga can also be useful for improving flexibility. Aside from these benefits, studies also found that practicing yoga can be effective in reducing lower back pain. Of course, you need a special yoga program to address this problem. A research in Brigham and Women’s Hospital also found that yoga can help treat insomnia. This is because it is great way to promote relaxation and reduce stress which is very useful when it comes to getting quality sleep. Although yoga can be used for weight loss, the results are not that considerate when used alone.
The Downside of Yoga
The main problem with yoga is that you need an experienced yoga instructor since wrong postures can cause adverse effects like back and joint pain. It would be best to enrol in a yoga class headed by a qualified instructor but this is usually expensive. When it comes to weight loss, the effects of yoga are slow. There are many better alternatives like exercise and weight loss supplements. Another disadvantage is that you need to perform yoga every day if your goal is weight loss.
The Better Option for Weight Loss
If you want to lose weight quickly, the best option is to reduce food intake, exercise regularly and take weight loss supplements. You just need to be very careful in choosing a product and make sure it is really effective and safe. Yoga is great for many reasons but it is not the best way to lose weight quickly.