I absolutely love my yoga. It has changed me in so many ways. Yoga in its very own gentle way is so deeply transformative. And despite of keeping me sane in my crazy rush of life, it also has a very powerful grip on my waist line.
It is a true fact, however, that yoga does not burn a lot of calories. At least not the traditional form of yoga. Bikram or Ashtanga Yoga do account for a bit more of a burn.But even those more intense styles of Yoga cannot compare in terms of calorie consumption to other forms of weight bearing cardiovascular exercise.
So how can Yoga help you to shrink your waist?
Have you ever wondered why after a beautiful yoga session you feel like you are just coming back from a beautiful mini-vacation on a peaceful, very calming island? I do…every single time. Even in my own classes when I teach yoga to others I experience this relaxing bliss.
Yoga promotes relaxation
Yoga, both as in the form of performing certain physical asanas as well as in the form of Pranayama or breathing exercises, has the same physical response to our so stressed, agitated and more often than not overburdened nervous system. It is like hitting the pause button. And in doing so puts a break onto the fight or flight response loop we are finding ourselves captured in when running on high levels of the stress hormones adrenalin and cortisol. Lowering our stress levels, which is the effect yoga has on most of us, means also decreasing our levels of insulin and blood glucose. And this is good news for our waistline since there is a direct link between high stress or cortisol levels, insulin, blood glucose and increased toxic belly fat.
By helping your body and mind to find ways to stress less, your body produces a different cocktail of hormones which will make you less likely to crave and overeat on certain foods as well as to accumulate less adipose tissue around your midsection.
Yoga builds lean muscle tissue
Another physical effect yoga has on our bodies is of course that itbuilds strong, lean body tissue, in particular around those arms, back, glutes and core muscles and in doing so helps to speed up your metabolism. More muscle tissue looks and feels great: I definitely did not regret swapping my chicken wings against a pair of super toned arms! But, it also means your body is using more calories when at rest, just to keep its bodily functions going. And this is of course very helpful when you are trying to lose some extra weight.
Yoga promotes detoxification
Certain asanas, in particular twists and deep forward folds,as well as breathing exercises are also known to boost the body’s own process of cleansing. By squeezing the intestines, kidneys and liver and flooding your entire body with oxygen you help your organs work better and eliminate toxic waste material more efficiently. A body which is able to profoundly cleanse and rid itself of accumulated toxins, is of course one that not only feels amazing and glows with health, but also one that not easily holds on to extra weight.
Our body’s reactions to a regular practice of yoga, however, goes far beyond those physical changes, even though, they are without a doubt beautifully empowering and greatly beneficial on your journey toward a slimmer, happier you.
Yoga increases mindfulness and body awareness
Spending time on your mat will impact on the way you relate to your own body and it will increase your awareness of what your body needs and craves. Yoga teaches you mindfulness which means you are far less likely to use food as comfort, against boredom, to mindlessly overeat, or to use unhealthy junk foods in a desperate attempt tocreate energy.
I believe this is the most powerful change of all and the main cause why your yoga practice can have such a positive effect on your waist line. Being able to create different thought-patterns around your beautiful self, yourmeals and food habits is incredibly powerful. Replacing negative self-talk, with positive affirmations, understanding emotional issues or destructive habits, taking the time to smell and properly chew your food as well as mindfully planning out your meals in a way they best support your overall vibrant health, supplies you all the tools you need to turn your weight-loss story into a smashing long-lasting success.
So, my answer is yes, it so can. But maybe you should simply get onto your mat and dive into this life-changing waist-shrinking experience for yourself! Namaste!