Yoga is great for flexibility and for that small group of people who meditate, but does yoga really help with weight loss, give you a better sex life, give you glowing skin, and help you sleep better? You bet it does!! To start, yoga will make you break a sweat, burn calories, and tone and shape your entire body especially if you practice one of the more vigorous types. But calorie burning is not where the bulk of yoga’s weight-loss power comes from. The greatest benefit of yoga is that it helps you get a handle on what your body needs to be healthy.
A study published in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association found a strong link between yoga practice and weight maintenance, and the researchers attributed it to “mindful” eating. Yogis, they say, learn how to stay calm in the face of discomfort, and this tendency spills over into other parts of their lives. For example, making it easier to turn down sugary or fried foods, no matter how tempting. The study found no such link between mindful eating and other types of physical exercise.
Mindfulness is a powerful thing, especially when it comes to weight. Scientists at the University of Rhode Island had 30 volunteers eat two identical meals in a lab. During one, they were basically told to shovel the food down with a soupspoon. At the other, they were instructed to eat with a teaspoon, pause between bites, and chew each mouthful 20 to 30 times. The volunteers practically inhaled the first meal in a whopping nine minutes. But when they lingered over their food, the meal stretched to nearly 30 minutes. And the added bonus: They ate 10 percent less. Researchers believe that when you eat more slowly, your body has more time to register fullness and satisfaction, so you stop feeling hungry before you dive into a second – or third – helping.
Researchers believe that when you eat more slowly, your body has more time to register fullness and satisfaction, so you stop feeling hungry before you dive into a second – or third – helping. Another crucial factor in yoga’s pound-melting ability is that it is proven to relax you. This actually has a positive effect on your waistline. Ever stress eat?? Stress causes cortisol levels to increase which in turn messes with signals that control appetite and feelings of fullness and may make you crave that something sweet after a big meal. But yoga can help reduce your stress and cortisol levels. Researchers measured levels of that hormone in female volunteers before and after they participated in yoga classes for a study published in the Medical Science Monitor. Their findings showed that the women’s cortisol levels decreased after taking yoga. Another study actually found that people who practiced yoga regularly for four years or more actually gained less weight over time than those who didn’t do yoga.
Need more convincing? In Women’s Health this month, where I found this information, they published these hot tidbits:
A hotter sex life! For a study in the Journal of Sexual Medicine, women’s sexual function was measured after participation in a 12-week yoga program. The aspect that improved most for women under 45 was the quality of their orgasms.
Glowing Skin! Stress can make many skin problems worse, from acne to warts. And a Cornell University study showed that when a person is under stress, her skin takes longer than usual to repair itself. As a proven stress reliever, yoga can help skin heal faster and stay clear.
Better sleep! After patients with sleep problems did yoga and meditation during the day, the quality of their sleep improved that night, according to a study reported in Medical Science Monitor.
If all these reasons have convinced you to start a yoga routine, here is the DVD that started it all for me.
This DVD shows three different levels and is a great start for someone who has never stepped foot on a yoga mat. Namaste.
Still Rockin’ It.