Increased strength and flexibility are absolute benefits of practicing yoga regularly – but what about weight loss?
Most of us who practice yoga regularly are already living out its benefits:
Increased flexibility, stronger balance, powerful form and even working your way through chronic pain stem from a healthy and regular yoga routine.
But for those looking for muscle toning, definition, and fat-loss – does the practice of yoga, especially hot yoga, really help?
But the long answer requires a little more digging, along with a much more holistic approach to the weight-loss game itself.
While yoga is not, by all intents and purposes, considered a high-intensity workout, the benefits it has to the slimming and toning of your body when practiced regularly – outside of a mere relaxation and stretching mechanism – are undeniable.
According to this article in Time Magazine, hot yoga does increase your heart rate significantly, depending on the intensity-rate and longevity of a pose. The study followed a team of “healthy but sedentary young adults” with no prior experience for 24 sessions of hot yoga over an eight-week period.
The research noted that participants, “showed some modest increases in strength and muscle control, as well as a big improvement in balance. They also achieved a slight drop in body weight.”
Fellow of American College of Sports Medicine, Dr. Lewis Maharam reinforces that research in this LiveScience article, stating that to lose a significant amount of weight, an individual would have to concentrate on increasing their heart-rate while continuing to challenge themselves with poses of increased difficulty during their yoga regimen.
If you carve out time specifically dedicated to you physical wellness and form, you’re likely making better eating choices as well.
If you’re like the quarter of America’s population who report suffering from chronic stress or anxiety, it can be difficult to find time dedicated solely to your physical and mental well-being – let alone finding the energy to endure a challenging core strengthening exercise.
All sorts of external pressures keep us from achieving our fitness goals year-in and out. And while mentally scheduling time to dedicate to a regular workout routine may seem easy, actually showing up and keeping up week-after-week is another challenge entirely.
This feat may seem overwhelming, or nearly impossible in the long-term. Especially after coming out of the jagged holiday season with mix-matched schedules that oftentimes come with added responsibility and expectations from friends and family members.
But, what if there was a way to incorporate a sure-fire way to ensure that your days and weeks are filled with the energy and mental focus to tackle your goals?
According to this study published in Time, research from Duke University Medical Center found that “yoga does, in fact, have positive effects on mild depression and sleep problems.”
Cortisol is better known as the “stress hormone,” that impacts everything from your in-the-moment stressors, sleep cycles and even your metabolism. Taking a few moments out of your day to slow down, breathe deeply and let your mind and body recharge will set you up for a day of perseverance and clarity.
Not to mention, it will hinder your temptation to reach for an extra sugar rush or caffeine jolt, which can leave you feeling even more fatigued when their stimulating effects wear off and keep you wanting more.
Further, the practice of yoga has been linked to mental stability and focus. According to this study published in Time, research from Duke University Medical Center found that “yoga does in fact have positive effects on on mild depression and sleep problems.”
So, aside from countless mental and physical health benefits your yoga class already paves a way for in your body, mind and spirit, it may also help you out-perform in other areas of your life.
Begin with the right mindset with these poses to keep your cool in tense moments.
With looming deadlines, work demands, piles of laundry, family obligations and countless other directions the swell of life takes us, many of us start the day already in a hole of mounting demands, pressure, and anxiety.
So, what’s a busy person to do?
The answer may be found in taking a brief moment at the beginning of your day for meditating and striking a few relaxing yoga poses that help you reach that thankful, gracious and a fully-aware mindset.
How meditation can help reduce stress and anxiety throughout the day:
According to a recent article in the Washington Post, taking the time to meditate in the morning not only sets your day up to face its challenges, and help you reduce stress levels, it can also alter your brain.
The article explored a study conducted by Sara Lazar, neuroscientist at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School. Her experiment explored the changes in brain volumes of subjects who’ve never practiced meditation after eight weeks of developing the habit.
Lazar saw “thickening” in four regions of the brain involved with mind wandering, self-relevance, learning, cognition, memory, emotional regulation, perspective, empathy, and compassion.If you, like countless other adults, are finding yourself in this pattern of wishing the day
If you, like countless other adults, are finding yourself in this pattern of wishing the day to be over before it even begins, try these simple poses for a balanced, controlled life of action rather than reaction:
The famous resting state. Rest your knees to the floor and bring your chest to the top of your thighs. Stretch your arms forward and bring your forehead to the floor.
Lie flat on your stomach, arms by your side. Then bend your knees and stretch your hands back to meet your ankles. Lift your upper body and look straight ahead. Hold for 3-5 breaths.
Sit on the floor with your legs crossed. Bring one foot close to the inner-thigh and the opposite foot close to the ankle. Relax your shoulders and lengthen your spine.
Lie on your back and bring both knees into your chest, spreading both arms out by your side. Drop your knees to the left-side of your body, twisting your spine and lower back. Turn your head to face your extended right hand, lengthening your neck.
Repeat on the opposite side.
Throughout these poses, the most important thing to remember is to breathe deeply. Keeping these practices in mind will help you regain control of your emotions and help you start enjoying every moment of your day – starting at its very beginning.
2017 could be the year to combat your loss of bone density and flexibility.
Each year that passes is another year of toll your body has taken. Especially when it comes to bone mass and density, and flexibility. Studies show that these changes in the body can lead to a breakdown of joints leading to chronic pain, stiffness – or even more serious conditions like arthritis and height-loss due to worsening posture.But for older Americans – particularly for those who have a workout regimen in their weekly
But for older Americans – particularly for those who have a workout regimen in their weekly physical fitness routines – this doesn’t have to be the case. The good news is that it’s never too late to begin incorporating healthy routines into your everyday life and begin to combat the telltale signs of aging. Here’s how:
According to this article by the New York Times, “yoga puts more pressure on the bone than gravity does.” Meaning that when you work a group of muscles in your body against another, it puts the bone-making cells, osteocytes, to work.
And though the article states that it’s nearly impossible for adults to regain bone mass, a study from the collaboration of The Rockefeller University, Brigham and Women’s Hospital and New York University found that older adults incorporating just 12 minutes of yoga into their daily routine for one decade straight had “improved bone density in the spine and femur.”
Perhaps more so than any other physical activity according to the Huffington Post. It increases range of motion, particularly in the spine, and circulation of the spinal cord. This lack of range of motion leaves older adults more susceptible to falls or other injuries, and
This lack of range of motion leaves older adults more susceptible to falls or other injuries and could lead to a lack of fluid motion in daily activities.
For many of these unwanted symptoms of aging, yoga is a strong antidote. This year, make the decision to treat your mind, body and the future of your health well by incorporating a weekly yoga class into your life.
Suffering from migraines, arthritis, fibromyalgia or lower back aches? Give this mind-body practice a try.
100 million Americans suffer from chronic pain in some fashion or form every day, according to the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies.
It’s an epidemic in our nation that exceeds those affected by diabetes, heart disease, strokes and cancer combined.
For many, this is more than an everyday nuisance. It’s a colossal hindrance to your body and can have a major impact on your mental well-being as well.
Chronic pain can come in many different shapes, sizes and areas of the body, including migraines, arthritis, fibromyalgia and back pain.
The most common cures for these serious aches and pains?
Expensive trips to specialists and prescription medications relieve cases of extreme discomfort. To make matters even worse, these medicines are highly addictive; with middle-aged adults leading the statistics in the likelihood of prescription painkiller overdose rates.
So, what’s an uncommon cure for such a common problem so many older adults in the nation face in their daily lives?
An article released by the Harvard Medical School says practicing yoga can help, and even go as far as to relieve chronic pain.
The article references a study published by the Annals of Internal Medicine that surveyed 313 individuals suffering lower back pain.
Their research concluded that “a weekly yoga class increased mobility more than standard medical care for the condition” and that “yoga was comparable to standard exercise therapy in relieving chronic low back pain.”
How does it work?
Psychology Today says regularly practicing yoga has an opposing impact on brain structures triggered by the effects of symptoms such as depression, anxiety and impaired cognitive function.
Meaning: your brain has the potential to be altered by chronic pain. And with its focus on deep breaths and mental relaxation techniques, yoga can actually “increase grey matter in brain volume and white matter connectivity” for those who make it a part of their regular workout routine.
If You’re One of the Unlucky 100 Million:
Incorporating this practice into your life is a bona fide alternative, drug-free treatment to the aches and pains that ail you. Why not try a fun and even more importantly, an effective means to an end of your chronic pain?
Striking a pose goes way beyond the body. Here’s how yoga can help combat anxiety and depression:
Life is full of dynamic pressures.
Work, social expectations, daily commutes and finances – even fun activities, like hobbies and volunteer work – play large roles in how we allocate our time resources and mental energy.
Prioritizing room in your busy schedule for physical activity, ensuring a healthy diet and adequate sleep is difficult enough – but factoring in checks for your mental health?
Really, who has the time?
With the added pressures and demands of upcoming holidays with their mismatched routines and hectic traveling schedules, taking a break may seem like not only an unattainable goal, but some sort of cruel joke.
How is Stress Hurting Our Bodies?
The effect of mental strain on the human body is real, and according to The American Psychological Association, chronic. Stress in the United States is on the rise – with nearly four in 10 people reporting that they feel the strain every day.
Repercussions of this stress can manifest in several ways. The first and most seemingly innocuous symptoms come in the form of headaches, muscle tension and disrupted sleep.
But if left unchecked, these symptoms can bubble to the surface of your life in behavioral issues such as overeating, substance abuse, and “angry outbursts.” And the setbacks your personal health goals bear much more weight as a result.
How Can Yoga Help?
According to the Mayo Clinic, “a number of studies have shown that yoga may help reduce stress and anxiety. It can also enhance your mood and overall sense of well-being.” The practice’s focus on breathing and meditation not only relaxes the body, but also the spirit and overall sense of wellness.
And those battling depression, anxiety and even post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can benefit from the “tamed stress response” that comes with doing yoga regularly according to a recent study from Harvard Medical School.
This can help regulate stress, making it easier for yogis and beginners alike to combat its tell-tale tension symptoms before they even begin.
Earn Focus. Save Time.
All-in-all, adding yoga to your workout routine is scientifically proven to help alleviate stress and help you focus on what truly matters in your life. Grab control of your stress and take back your time and energy. Take a break, and thank us later.
Can Yoga Really Keep Me Young?
Apart from spiritual benefits, studies show practicing yoga wards off tell-tale signs of aging.
It’s no secret that the implementing regular exercise into your weekly schedule along with maintaining a healthy diet can have significant impact on your weight-loss goals and overall sense of wellness.
Not to mention the added benefits of a clear and focused mind for your day-to-day.
But, did you know that incorporating the practice of yoga into your weekly exercise regime can actually weigh in on your well-being outside of weight loss? In recent research, various studies suggest that yoga can actually combat the tell-tale signs of aging.
Here are a few ways yoga can have an effect on anti-aging, and leave you feeling younger each time you roll out your mat:
We’re not just talking about wiggle room in your weekly schedule. We’re talking about the prolonged stretching, reaching and poise that weekly yoga classes incorporate into your everyday.
The stretching that you experience during poses in a yoga class improves blood circulation to your body’s muscles and helps them move effectively. This not only gives you the best bang for your buck as far as exercise is concerned, but it also can improve your performance in your other favorite activities.
Plus, this increased range of motion can have a tremendous sway on the future of your body.
Back Bone Connected from the Hip Bone
Over time, our bones begin to deteriorate. And, unfortunately, conditions such as osteoporosis are out of your control as far as genetics and age are concerned.
Further, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, millions of Americans aged 65 and older fall each year; one out of five of those falls cause serious injuries such as head trauma or broken bones. But it should come as no surprise that an active lifestyle and healthy eating habits can work to reverse the affects aging has on your body.
This article in The New York Times suggests that implementing a yoga routine can have a major impact on strengthening bone health, posture, reduced physical stress and the avoidance of serious injury as a result.
What Were We Talking About, Again?
Life is full of enough distractions when you can remember where you left your keys.
While some of the specific neurological benefits of meditation are unknown according to research in Biological Psychiatry, meditation can actually impact the brain in many positive ways.
A study referenced in this Live Science article suggests that not only did participants aged 55 years and older experienced improvements in visual-spatial memory, but also saw improvements in anxiety and depression symptoms after three months of yoga training.
Feel Good. Look Good.
In the end, yoga has countless mental and physical benefits. There’s a positive feedback loop to incorporating healthy habits into your weekly routine, and it’s never too late to start.
Starting a new lifestyle journey? Follow these principles to get through the studio door.
Often the hardest part of any new endeavor is simply starting.
There are many factors that could hinder an “aspiring yogi” from committing to the practice all together: like a lack of general flexibility, a fear of the unknown or potentially awkward poses.
With countless YouTube tutorials and DVDs at the world’s disposal, it can be easy to fall into the temptation of chocking the art up to a simple hobby and practicing yoga in the comfort of your own home.
And though that’s not necessarily a bad thing – many who attend our classes make the decision to stretch and strengthen when they’re out of the studio – yoga is more than a hobby. It’s a lifestyle practice. It’s worth doing well, and certainly worth making the investment to learn from a professional yoga teacher.
Dedicating time in your week to attend a class with a certified yoga instructor will take you deeper into the training with every class. Keeping these tips in mind will help you break free of the sometimes-intimidating stigma of beginning a brand-new routine, and get you ready to start your yoga journey with the confidence the practice requires.
Intimidated By Real-Life Stretch Armstrongs
The first name of the yo-game is to keep your eyes on your own mat. We’ve all seen how comparison has the power to rob us of our hard-earned happiness and peace.
However, yoga makes no room for comparison. Following the instruction of a yoga teacher requires your sole focus on your mind and body. Relax, and try not to let your eyes wander.
Take it Pose-by-Pose
Unless you’re already a strong gymnastic athlete or have had extensive flexibility training in the past, you will likely not master a 10-point handstand in your first yoga class. That’s perfectly okay.
The greatest gift of the practice of yoga is its ability to strengthen your core and flexibility over time. This is a lifelong endeavor that can take several years to master. Practice giving yourself grace if you’re feeling less-than in the midst of others who have likely had far more experience.
Strengthening and Conditioning for a Variety of Athletic Performance
An article published by Harvard Medical School, states incorporating yoga into your weekly workouts will improve your cardiovascular health, and lead to a healthier BMI range.
Many who decide to take up yoga do it for the benefits in their go-to sport. According to Shape, athletes can expect to see vast improvements in not only flexibility, but strength, balance and recovery as a result of yoga.
If you’re hesitant about beginning yoga, try to view it as a simple means to conditioning for a stronger athletic performance. Or as a step to a greater sense of well-being.
So, Roll Out your Mat and Stretch Your Skills
Hot House Yoga welcomes anyone who wishes to incorporate the spiritual and artistic practice of yoga into their weekly schedules. We offer classes for students at any level, and include a special introductory rate for newcomers.
Rolling out your mat in our studio will help you commit to healthy changes that will benefit your all-around health, mentally and physically.