Stress is an important factor in weight gain and loss.
The more stressed we are, the more cortisol hormone our body will produce. Cortisol is associated with overeating, deep abdominal fat and craving high-calorie fatty and sugary foods.
Considering the importance of reducing stress, as part of an overall lifestyle strategy, here are three yoga tips for weight loss:
1. Use the Breath.
Yogic movements are based on pranayama, or breath work. My class uses the breath of “ha,” based on laughter, to lower stress levels.
Deep breathing and laughter have been shown to increase relaxation, lower blood pressure, release endorphins and increase stress management skills.
The more we breathe during yoga, the more we will feel the benefits in our life. We’ll experience lower levels of the stress hormones that cause us to feel anxiety—especially causing us to overeat.
When we’re happy, weight loss is easier.
2. Use the Legs.
Yoga should raise our heart rate. Especially if we use the large muscle groups in our legs to move.
The more we use our legs, for jumping, dancing or balancing, the more calories we’ll burn!
As a laughter yoga instructor, I know the importance of releasing stress through laughter.
And as we all know, laughing tightens the abdominal muscles!
We can laugh our way to toned abs, burn calories and lower stress by using laughter yoga exercises.
William F. Fry, associate professor emeritus of clinical psychiatry at Stanford University, says “A belly laugh is internal jogging.” Laughing involves “a great deal of physical exercise and muscular behavior.”— 15 facial muscles plus dozens of others all over the body that flex and relax.
When we laugh, our heart rate increases, oxygenating the blood.
”Laughing 100 to 200 times per day is the cardiovascular equivalent of rowing for 10 minutes.” ~ William F. Fry
Other studies have found that laughter bolsters the immune system, regulates abnormal heartbeat related to stress, improves the respiratory system and relaxes muscle tension.
In summary, breathe, use our strong legs and laugh! We will be sure to soon feel the benefits as we relax more, lower stress, curb overeating, burn calories—bringing more peace and joy into our life, with the practice of yoga.
Author: Beth Bongar
Editor: Melissa Tamura/ Editor: Ashleigh Hitchcock
Photo: courtesy of the author