Yoga for Weight Loss: Mind Over Matter by Nicole M Fagone E-RYT
What is matter? When thinking of weight loss, it could be considered as weight in pounds or what we choose to eat. And in the interest of health and happiness, what we weigh and what we eat does matter. How does yoga affect weight loss and the choices we make regarding what we eat? Surprisingly, or maybe not so surprisingly for those of us who have already experienced this, it’s all in the mind. Yoga can truly change how our minds work. A favorite saying I repeat to my students is, “the mind follows the breath and the body follows the mind”.
It all starts with the breath. Often people associate yoga with flexibility. Yes, yoga usually does increase muscle flexibility, and the body can enjoy great benefits from that physical aspect. But yoga also offers flexibility of the mind. When the practitioner tunes into their breath, it brings presence and focus. More importantly, conscious breathing begins to flush the lymphatic system. The (not-so-talked about) system that clears toxins from our bodies. What is interesting about the lymphatic system (think of it as the sewer system of the body), is that it is primarily energized not by the pumping of the heart, but by breathing, exercise, stretching and moving. So, once the breath begins to deepen, so does the cleansing process. Thus, the body starts to cleanse toxins, and it operates more efficiently and subsequently, we feel healthier and happier.
When this positive shift begins via the breath and body connection, the practitioner will begin to notice changes in their overall state of being. Through this connection, yoga brings about a meditative, blissful state and an elevated presence of mind. Yoga is mostly about awareness. From how we feel on physical, emotional and spiritual levels, to how we talk to ourselves and others, to how we respond to life’s “ups and downs”, which usually extends to the quality of nutritional choices we make.
Perhaps most importantly, yoga teaches us to find love and gratitude AS WE ARE in the present moment. Yoga is all about relating consciously and compassionately to the Self, AS IT IS, on the mat. As we progress in our personal practice, our mind’s state will deepen and spill over into other facets of our lives and relationships, you can think of it as water for your soul’s garden.
So, if you’re considering trying yoga for weight loss, I will leave you with this thought. When one is in a more accepting and blissful state of present well-being, almost anything is possible. Set the calorie burning benefits of yoga aside, the bonus of feeling relaxed and empowered from an elevated presence of mind will almost always result in positive personal changes. Tap into your wealth of energy within. It’s yours and is positively there for the taking!