Does Yoga Help You Lose Weight ?

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The questions I’m asked more than any other; “Does yoga help you lose weight?”, and “Do you do cardio too?” 

There’s so many diet and exercise articles out there comparing
caloric burn and weight loss potential, strength training vs
cardio.  Anyone could find a research article to prove or disprove
 just about anything these days (just follow the money behind it).
I too, could offer you tons of great research articles and
good science that proves, yes, yoga will help you lose weight.
But I wont. 
Because each of us are unique
and each experience asana differently.
It depends on how we choose to practice yoga
that makes the difference… and how much we
take off our mats and incorporate into our lifestyle.
Speaking from my own personal experience however, and what
I’ve witnessed through the years from many students,
here’s what I can tell you:
Yoga has helped me and others lose weight and keep weight off.
It has helped shape my body like no other, hands down. Period.
And what I have found is that weight loss has less to do with
actual “caloric burn” and “strength and resistance training”,  
and is more a product of breathing (pranayama),
awakening to our patterns of behavior (swadaya),
keeping the nervous systems balanced, 
and growing positive nuero-pathways (mindfulness).
Is that what you had in mind when you began to practice? 
Probably not. You might not have even come if it wasn’t for the 
hype about losing weight and getting strong. 
But truth is, our yoga practice evolves over time, each day, a little bit.
It’s not an overnight fix.
I also want to say from what I’ve learned,
 it has more to do with our inner fire,
(agni) or think, inner “pilot light”. 
 It’s your body’s ability to take in and keep
more of what you need nutritionally, mentally, spiritually,
and burn-off more of what you dont.
But there’s not a research study on that.
I think it has a lot to do specifically with those yoga asanas
(twists, backbends, inversions) which are unique to yoga that help our
internal systems function more efficiently, even optimally,
that can contribute to weight loss… 
but some of the research is controversial on that too. 
What I can tell you unequivocally is that  
through the years,what I’ve noticed is that
when I’m not practicing regularly,
I’m not breathing as well, and I’m more reactive– ask my kids.
When I lack time to get quiet and focused each day,
I get thrown out of balance… I get totally grumpy, moody, and less motivated,
I dont sleep well, and am less enthusiastic.
(definitely related to weight gain- lots of research on that!)
More importantly, I dont make nutritionally the best choices I can,
and even indulge excessively, (yes me too)! 
But there’s a consequence to those choices,
and a very real chemical imbalance is the result –
research really supports that–
and increased stress hormones are allowed to proliferate the body
causing dysfunction and disease.
In those times, I’ll even crave sugar and carbs to fill the void. 
It’s no coincidence that during those times,
I hold on to excess weight (duh).  
We’re all aware of that thicker layer of belly area that
is a result of excess cortisol, from too much stress,
not enough balance. It’s real. 
And there’s definitely a TON of research to support that!
So I believe, as a complete mind-body practice, 
yoga can help you lose weight by giving you the
tools to manage stress, controlling the highs and lows, 
and control production of stress hormones.
It may help you sleep better too.
But depending on how we choose to practice
whether it’s with consistency and intention
physically, mentalyl and spiritually
will make the difference of what you get out of it.
Asana (poses) alone probably wont be enough.
In the end, we each have our own unique experience
and it may not be the same for you. 
Yoga makes no promises for weight loss, 
or any other benefit for that matter.
Only you can determine, how yoga can serve you.
And it’s only your personal experience that matters.
Have fun exploring!
Lisa 🙂

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East Cobb Yoga
Olde Towne Athletic Club
4950 Olde Towne Pkwy,
Marietta, GA 30068
View Map / Get Directions

tel: 404-245-5530

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