Many women who enquire about yoga ask me if it helps with weight loss. I’m usually a bit reluctant to answer this question.
Some shallow websites promote top fat-burning yoga poses. They advertise that each asana (or pose) will help kick-start your metabolism and build up a lean muscle tone. But I guess the gist is much more complex than this.
I have contemplated addressing this question for a long time. The whole field of weight-loss or weight-gain is very complex: An understanding of the influence of genetic factors, lifestyle, individual willpower, and diet hereby is substantial.
Although I hold a doctorate degree, I am not a medical doctor. But having said all this, I personally do believe that yoga has the potential to be very transformative on many levels for you, with the physical body as a doorway to the more profound gifts of the practice.
Let me, therefore, share my experiences with you and introduce you to a possibly alternative approach to addressing the question of weight-loss.
This blog comes in 3 parts.
When I started out practising Ashtanga Yoga, I was ridiculously hungry after my practice. At that time I practised about 5 times a week, and I definitely had to eat more and sleep more.
#1: Do you sleep enough?
I have noticed that one essential aspect regarding weight-loss or weight-gain is lack of sleep. Whenever my schedule is super tight and I lack my nightly 8 to 9 hour sleep, my metabolism tends to slow down and I get constipated. Whenever I make up for the lack of sleep, my digestion gets fully back and I wake up hungry.
My clients mostly are professionals with families. Their agenda is usually full.
Some of you practise as early as 5.30am, and these sessions generally have a great quality and focus. But in order for me to get up at 4am, I also have to go to bed quite early.
Most of my clients are so-called short sleepers (measured by how long you sleep each night—5.5 to 6 hours or less qualifies you). According to Michael Breus, Ph.D., short sleepers have trouble losing weight.
On average, we need about 7.5 hours of quality sleep per night. The author of Beauty Sleep asserts that a five-hour sleeper who extends his or her night-rest to seven hours will eventually start dropping weight. A lack of quality sleep, therefore, can affect my figure.
Apparently, a lack of sleep alters our hormone-level. The two hormones that are key in this process are ghrelin and leptin. Whenever you are sleep-deprived, the hormone that tells you when to eat (ghrelin) increases, and the hormone that tells you when to stop eating (leptin) reduces. As a consequence you might eat more, while your metabolism slows down.
Gentle yoga stretches and breathing exercises before going to bed can help you enjoy a restful night. If you suffer from sleepless nights or find it hard to fall asleep, you may want to start practising the Alternative Nostril Breathing. Simply by practising a few rounds of this breathing technique on a regular basis, you may be able to calm down body and mind and improve your sleep.
Chi’s Yoga helps you ease daily stress. Sleep more and notice the changes in your body.
You are blessed!
Chi’s Yoga – Your yoga is yours only!
Read the 2nd part of this post here. Also make sure to give us your feedback and contact us on topics related to Chi’s Yoga you might want to read about at firstname.lastname@example.org.