Becoming Happier and Healthier Through Yoga and Weight Loss

Demolish the Dieting Lifestyle

Frustrated by those extra pounds that you can’t seem to get rid of no matter what? Tired of going on restrictive diets, exercise regimes, or weight loss supplements that don’t really work?

Life does not have to be torturous in order to have a healthy weight. There is another cheaper and healthier solution to losing weight and being happier. The not-so-secret answer to your problem is by adopting a lifestyle change.

So what does a lifestyle change mean? It means identifying the habits that are causing weight gain and tailoring a specific plan to replace it with a healthier habit.

As humans are creatures of habit, it might be challenging to transform too many things at once. To be successful in your endeavor, it is best to start small and take one step at a time.

Yoga is one of the best ways to jump-start your journey towards being healthier. This practice has become increasingly popular in the Western world as a system of physical exercise. However, yoga is more than just physical exercise in India where it is originally from– it is mainly practiced as a meditative and spiritual discipline.

What is Yoga?

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Yoga is a form of meditative practice that celebrates the union of the mind and body. It has been practiced in ancient India for more than 5000 years and has an all-encompassing historical origin.

There are many varieties of Yoga paths with each one having a different style. The most well-known yoga style in the West is called the Hatha Yoga.

The practice of Hatha Yoga focuses on attaining the union of mind-body-spirit through breathing exercises, physical postures, gestures and meditation. Although it is relatively new compared to other Yoga paths, it has been extensively practiced by Western and Indian teachers due to its strong positive benefits, gaining millions of followers as a result.

The best yoga for beginners is the Iyengar, which is slow-paced and is suitable pregnant or injured people. Other paths of yoga like Jivamukti or Anusara are best for exploring spirituality and meditation.

Another yoga style called Power Yoga has been modified by an American named Baron Baptiste to incorporate more strength and flexibility in its routine.

Yoga and Mental Health

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The positive health benefits of yoga, especially in mental health has been proven by many scientific research. According to statistics, people are getting more anxious and depressed each year.

Although researchers are unable to pinpoint the reason, it is mainly attributed to the changes in modern life. A study done on women who suffered postpartum depression experienced a huge improvement in their quality of mental health after about 2 months of doing yoga twice a week compared to women who did not practice yoga.

Yoga can be used as an effective tool to control stress and practice mindfulness– a way to quiet the mind chatter or endless to-do lists. A report presented at the Anxiety and Depression Association of America Conference on 2015 shows that yoga lowers cortisol( a stress hormone) especially among women prone to having mental health problems.

Another study done on 52 women between ages 25 to 45 with mild to moderate anxiety and depression shows that those who performed yoga twice a week experienced improvement in mood, weight loss, and better anxiety control.

The practice of yoga in promoting a positive outlook in life is shown from a study done in Brazil where university students reported feeling great after their yoga session. Positive emotions are being inhaled and negative emotions are exhaled in a yoga practice, leading to peaceful state of mind.

Focused breathing and movements promotes an increase in oxygenated blood flow towards the brain and body leading to improved cognitive functions and fewer depressive symptoms.

Yoga and Physical Health

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Yoga has been proven to improve cardiovascular health. A study done was done on 182 middle-aged Chinese adults suffering from metabolic syndrome. After practicing yoga for a year, they managed to lower their blood pressure and lose weight.

Yoga also helps to improve chronic neck and low-back pain. Since yoga has a strong focus on balance, flexibility, and posture, it is no wonder that regular yoga practice is good for your spine health.

According to the Israel’s Medical Association journal, yoga therapy relieves chronic back and neck pain due to the relaxation of muscles from breathing in and out when holding a pose. Besides that, yoga also lowers the risk of cancer and controls blood sugar levels.

People are becoming increasingly aware of the importance of having good health because it is indeed true that if you don’t have health, you don’t have anything. Instead of just focusing on weight loss as an end-goal, a better approach is to focus on attaining a wholesome wellness profile.

Parting Words

One must take note that making a lifestyle change takes time and may require support. The weight loss resulting from a lifestyle change may happen gradually, but it is long lasting unlike weight loss from a diet or exercise regime.

Likewise, the health benefits from yoga is obtained if it is practiced regularly and being made part of your routine. Do your research and find out what yoga style best suits your needs and start small to ensure consistency.

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