spring is in the air and that means each week a little more skin will come out of hiding. it’s time for a reality-check and we have to put down the fork and get moving. while it’s true that abs are made in the kitchen not the yoga studio or gym, cutting exercise out of a weight loss equation is making a hard job near impossible. contrary to common belief, you don’t have to run laps or chain yourself to an elliptical trainer in order to boost your metabolism and burn calories. you can actually do that just with yoga alone.
the idea that yoga poses are used only for stress relief is a prevalent myth, but flowing from yoga pose to yoga pose can also boost metabolism, helping you burn more calories throughout the day. it’s true that doing asanas to soothing music will not burn 500 calories an hour like spinning. but boosting your metabolism and giving your body the ability to burn fat faster might give you more long term bang for your weightloss buck.
everyone has a different rate of metabolism and how fast it is depends on several factors including age, gender, and physical activity level.
the breathing techniques used in yoga poses help improve oxygen intake and warms up your body, in turn increasing the speed of your metabolism. yoga also stimulates and strengthens your endocrine organs, which further spurs metabolic rate.
moreover, the poses are designed to melt fat deposits by stretching, compressing and twisting the body. yoga also benefits digestion and circulation and helps build lean muscle mass. overall, yoga is actually an all-encompassing way to help increase your metabolic rate.
- digestion. the digestive tract is located in the abdomen. asanas focusing on the core help organs function properly.
- circulation. when the circulatory system isn’t working right, metabolism slows down. deep breathing during yoga can improve circulation.
- muscle. more muscles means more calories burned. more calories burned means a higher metabolic rate.
how fast your metabolism is and how efficiently you burn calories are affected so many things we have no control over: gender, genetics, age. it is important to focus on what we can do to make a difference, and that is largely nutrition, exercise and sleep. while all types of yoga will help, these asanas are particularly good at revving up the calorie burn:
- twists, like marichi, boost metabolism by massaging the endocrine and abdominal organs.
- backbends, like bridge, up fat-burning ability by opening the lungs and anterior spine thereby increasing breathing and oxygen exchange. camel is a thyroid-stimulating pose and helps with hormonal imbalances that can slow metabolism.
- inversions, like headstand, bring blood to the brain, clearing lymph nodes and flushing toxins. plow helps balance the metabolic system by increasing circulation in the thyroid, adrenal and pituitary glands.
- core, like boat, speeds metabolism by strengthening the abdominal muscles and improving balance and digestion.