Weight loss is a widespread goal. It is difficult to turn on the television, listen to the radio or just have a simple conversation with friends or colleagues without hearing advice, advertisements and opinions on the subject of weight loss. It has become an obsession. Some argue that yoga helps to reduce weight loss obsession. Is there any truth to this assertion?
Benefits of Yoga
The benefits of yoga are numerous. Yoga helps to build balance, flexibility, stamina and muscle strength. Those who practice yoga tend to sleep better, focus better and have greater inner peace. They feel stronger, happier and more relaxed.
Yoga has been around for thousands of years. It is rooted in a spiritual tradition that uses breathing and physical poses and movements to achieve a mind, body and spirit connection. In the Western world, focus is often given to only the physical aspects of yoga. However, when practiced as a way of connecting to one’s inner core, yoga has been known to lead to higher personal awareness and greater inner peace.
Weight Loss Obsession and Control
Weight loss obsession often involves a high degree of focus on controlling oneself. How much should you eat? What should you eat? How much exercise will you need if you eat what you really want to eat? These are all questions around self-control, often involving a push and pull internal fight, resisting desires and feeling overwhelmed by needs.
What is often involved with weight loss obsession is a focus on the number of pounds that need to be lost and an up and down battle with going on a diet, feeling deprived and then making up for it by consuming too many calories. Some who struggle with their weight complain that they do not even know why they eat, because they are not even really hungry. This is a kind of emotional eating, an attempt to use food to feel better.
Yoga and Greater Personal Awareness
Yoga assists with weight loss obsession by helping you to be in touch with your emotions. The various poses, breathing exercises and meditative aspects of yoga connect you with a deeper awareness of your own feelings. It is not uncommon for people to cry after a yoga session or feel a release of emotions. Many experience greater feelings of joy following yoga.
Many types of yoga emphasize deepening the breath. This action alone helps to stimulate a relaxation response. A stress response involves an adrenaline boost in the body. This is a process that may very well be in place when a person is obsessed with weight loss and is constantly worried about calories. The relaxation response in yoga helps to reverse these feelings, allowing a person to be more at ease.
While yoga may not be the cure-all for a person with weight loss obsession, when practiced regularly, yoga does lead to greater personal awareness. When more closely in touch with their feelings, a person may engage less in binge-eating and obsess less over weight issues. The inner calm that is associated with a regular practice of yoga often leads to wholesome and beneficial life choices.