Can Yoga help you lose weight? According to experts, regular yoga can not only influence weight loss in the physical sense but also help decrease stress related to weight gain.
When we are stressed we produce a hormone called cortisol which is linked to visceral fat and storing fat around the tummy region.
“Many individuals eat more when they are feeling stressed and yoga can help combat stress, which can influence one's energy intake," says Prof. Beth Lewis.
As someone who stores weight around this area, I was keen to understand if regular Yoga practice could help shift weight and decrease stress levels.
I decided to put an intensive yoga retreat to the test which included three yoga classes a day, plus meditation and vegan cuisine to see if this theory works.
My day started with a one-hour power yoga class at 8am followed another more gentle yoga class at 9am.
In the afternoon I did Yin Yoga which focuses more around holding the poses followed by guided mediation.
After three days of intense yoga and vegan food, I felt lighter, less stressed and had even shed a couple of kilos!
Although yoga may not be the most traditional way to lose weight, classes such as power yoga can burn up 400-600 calories an hour.
Certain yoga postures or asanas as they are known are also said to help with detoxification, therefore your metabolism works faster and is more efficient.
Yogi Jennifer Niles, who has been practicing yoga six to seven times a week has lost 38kg over one year.
“My weight loss was a direct result of a committed yoga practice coupled with a plant-based diet. No other exercise or gym equipment was required. I shed excess fat using nothing but a yoga mat and my own body weight,” she says.