By Heather Ashare - Yoga Expert at DietsInReview.com
A pretty cool thing happens when you start doing yoga. Yes, you become more flexible. Yes, you become stronger. But a hidden gem that comes from practicing this ancient mind-body discipline is that those skinny jeans, a "when I'm 10 pounds lighter" future purchase, become a reality.
Yoga's ability to yield weight loss has less to do with its caloric burn, although some styles of yoga can really torch your metabolism, and much more to do with the sense of mindfulness it creates. Yoga increases awareness around what you are eating, how much you are eating and why you are eating.
A study in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association found that those who practiced yoga also invoked this kind of mindful eating during their meal times. The result was less weight gain over time.
Yoga's ability to tune the practitioner into their breath, their body, their thoughts and emotions enables the student to connect with the sensations she is experiencing, listen to them and then respond in a way that is self-explorative, rather than responding in a more reactive way.
You may love salt and vinegar potato chips or peanut M&M's, but by queuing yourself into how you are feeling, you are more apt to catch the feeling when you've had enough to feel satisfied, stop eating and walk away.
Yoga connects you to your body, rather than disconnects you from it. As women, we have stood in front of mirrors and dissected the width and look of our thighs, tummies or bums. This judgment separates our holistic self from our physical bodies. But yoga fosters this connection, rather than pitting one against the other.
This connection, instilled on the mat, is then transferred to the plate, where we have the opportunity to choose foods that support our entire well being, not just that temporarily fed emotional hunger or a sudden craving.
Even if you don't downward dog, you can still practice mindful eating. Follow these simple steps.
- Before you sit down to eat, think about what your body is hungry for, not what your mind wants.
- Ask yourself why you are eating. Are you eating because you're physically hungry? Angry? Happy? Lonely?
- Eat sitting down in a calm environment. Turn off TVs, cell phones, smart phones and computers.
- Put food on plates. Even if you're mindfully eating pizza, remove one slice from the box and place it on a plate.
- Every five minutes, pause and check in with yourself to gauge your level of hunger. When you feel satisfied, not full, stop eating.
September is yoga month! Learn more about this healthy practice:
A Beginner's Guide to Yoga
Most Popular Yoga Classes