Yoga and Weight Management

Yoga and Weight Management

Yoga is a gentle way to bring a balanced attitude to all aspects of life. Yoga can help you control your weight more effectively, whether you need to lose weight or to gain it. Yoga encourages concentration and strengthens willpower, and the techniques of Yoga are enjoyable ways to change your attitudes about exercise, diet, and self-image. With Yoga, you'll feel better about yourself as you follow a weight-management program.

Exercise. People who hate to exercise usually don't do it regularly. Yoga exercise is self-motivating because, after a short time of regular practice, one finds that the body actually enjoys practicing Yoga exercises. As the personality becomes quieter and freer from stress demands, the person finds more time to pay attention to inner feelings, needs, and thoughts. This makes a more complete, balanced person who can face stress with greater ease and strength. Although the exercises of Yoga will not take off inches as fast as more vigorous exercise, Yoga will improve your shape by stabilizing metabolism, improving posture and circulation, and toning muscles in the back, stomach, and legs. Yoga exercises release muscle tension and increase flexibility so that you feel more relaxed and poised.

Stress. The constant demands of stress greatly contribute to the body being out of balance. Through the practice of Yoga, you are able to choose how you wish to react to the stressors in your life. Many overweight people have learned to automatically reach for food as an escape from stress, for immediate comfort. Yoga changes your desires so that you are more likely to use a breathing or exercise technique instead of food when you feel stressed. You no longer want to harm yourself with destructive eating habits. Yoga meditation and breathing techniques are your best and fastest techniques for dealing with stress.

Meditation. The relaxation and meditation aspects of Yoga support all your behavioral goals. Regular practice of meditation helps build concentration and willpower, which helps you stick to calorie or portion allotments, or to a regular daily exercise program. Meditation also may help stimulate insight into the unconscious motivators of your eating behavior.

A word about diet pills and fasting. Yoga provides a type of motivation you can't get in a pill. When you want to take care of yourself, the things you do for yourself - exercise, good nutrition, getting enough rest - don't seem like a chore; instead, they make you happy. Fasting is discouraged in Yoga; it is not only stressful to the body but a form of violence to it. In Yoga, your body is your friend; if you treat it with respect, it will support you in everything you need to do.

A daily 30-minute Yoga program of exercise, breathing, and meditation will contribute to happiness, health, and well-being as you proceed in your weight-management program.

Courtesy of the American Yoga Association