A positive mental attitude is key to successful weight loss. But, as anyone who's ever tried to shed a few pounds knows that losing weight is hard, and keeping up your motivation is even harder. Yoga, an ancient discipline that tones and trains both mind and body, can help. Here's how.
The Physical Benefits of Yoga
Yoga is renowned for its physical benefits, which include increased flexibility, greater muscle tone and greater balance. Yoga can help you strengthen your muscles, raise your metabolism and contribute to weight loss. Yoga can increase balance and flexibility, making you less likely to hurt yourself during one of your fat-burning or strength-training workouts. Yoga can help relieve stress and tension by stretching muscles, can improve range of motion in the joints, and can correct postural imbalances that occur due to weight gain.
In addition, yoga can help increase your energy levels, making it easier for you to start and finish your workouts. Because yoga helps put you in touch with your body, it can help you learn to make better dietary decisions by helping you realize which foods strengthen your body and which weaken it. Some weight loss experts believe that yoga helps regulate your endocrine system to control sleep, appetite and mood. Yoga can also help improve digestion, to eliminate the constipation, water retention and bloating that may be contributing to your higher weight.
The Psychological Benefits of Yoga
On top of yoga's physical benefits, it's known to have psychological benefits as well. Yoga is known for increasing feelings of well-being and strengthening positive mental attitude, so much so that it's often used in conjunction with talk therapy to treat mood disorders like depression. Repetitive exercises like yoga have also been shown to have a calming effect and can help to manage anxiety disorders.
How Yoga Helps You Lose Weight
If you're trying to lose weight, chances are good that a negative mental attitude is your biggest obstacle. It's hard to change longtime habits, and many who are struggling to lose weight engage in negative self-talk when they fail to meet their weight loss goals. Yoga teaches self-acceptance, and can help you learn to love your body as it really is, rather than as you'd like it to be.
While this might seem counterproductive to a weight loss regimen, self-acceptance is key to maintaining a positive mental attitude while you're losing weight. After all, everyone's body type and ideal healthy weight is different. Self-acceptance can help you reach the goal weight that's right for you, and steer you clear of the dangers on the road to weight loss, such as eating disorders.
Many who do yoga furthermore say that it helps them feel more in control of their own lives and habits. Maintaining a positive mental attitude about weight loss can be difficult if you feel like a slave to your own weight. Yoga can help you understand that you can control your weight, rather than letting your weight control you.