Is yoga for weight loss a myth or reality is a question frequently asked by people with obesity. Exercise is of three categories: stretching, cardiovascular and strength training. A balanced workout with all three training types is the most effective. During research for my book Natural Solutions for Obesity, I looked at the scientific studies that validate the role of exercise in bringing about weight loss.

Let me share with you a few of these studies:

After 12 weeks of a dietary regimen for weight loss combined with aerobic and resistance exercise, it was observed to prevent the average decline in fat-free mass and muscular power. The regimen augments body composition, maximal strength, and maximum oxygen consumption compared with weight loss induced by diet alone. (Kraemer et al., 1999)

The yoga results on individuals were comparable in that such individuals showed significant muscle strength and endurance improvements. Still, there is no significant gain in weight loss in a control group on a weight-loss dietary regimen alone. (Mahadevan et al., 2008)

Yoga training for a short period of six weeks can significantly improve respiratory muscle strength and endurance. (Mahadevan et al., 2008) Regular yoga practice causes weight loss among overweight individuals. (Kristal et al., 2005) A review has shown that yoga is an appropriate and potentially successful intervention for weight maintenance and obesity prevention. Yoga helps reduce the risk of diseases in which obesity plays a significant causal role. (Rioux et al., 2013) Besides weight reduction, yoga helps treat binge eating, which contributes to obesity. (McIver et al., 2009) This brief scientific study review supports the contention that yoga for weight loss takes place for real.

Pranayama, or breathing exercises, are also said to help in reducing weight. A few scientific studies indicate that kapalbhati (a breathing exercise in Pranayama) could help decrease abdominal obesity. A small trial with overweight doctors who performed kapalbhati did show body mass index, and abdominal skinfold thickness decreased significantly. (Kekan, 2013)

Asanas (physical exercise postures) performed standing are appropriate for people suffering from obese conditions. Begin the exercise regime by doing the yoga series of warming-up exercises. These start from the neck, then to the spine and arms.

Practicing yoga regularly can help create a healthier lifestyle, supporting weight loss.

Yoga can be an effective way to burn calories, build strength, and increase flexibility. Certain styles of yoga, such as power yoga or vinyasa flow, can be more physically challenging and lead to increased calorie burn. In addition, some poses, such as the plank, downward-facing dog, and warrior III, can be particularly effective for building strength and engaging multiple muscle groups.

Moreover, practicing yoga can also help reduce stress levels and promote mindfulness, which can help manage emotional eating and make healthier food choices. Practicing mindfulness can also help cultivate a more positive body image and a healthier relationship with food and exercise.

That said, weight loss is not just about exercise; a healthy diet is also essential. A balanced diet rich in whole, nutrient-dense foods and low in processed foods can benefit weight loss. Combining a regular yoga practice with a healthy diet and other forms of exercise can effectively support weight loss efforts.

Once you have warmed up the body, you can follow this up with the following yoga exercises:

Tadasana – standing posture

Vrikshasana – tree posture

Ardha chakra asana – half-wheel posture

Trikonasana – triangle posture

Yoga asanas should always include breathing exercises called pranayamas. Kapalbhati pranayama works best for obese individuals.

Additional reading:

Natural Solutions for Obesity

Natural Solutions book tri-series

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