Yoga and Weight Loss

As a woman and living in an Asian country, our body appearance and weight is one of the most concerned and talked about issues in our life. And some might start yoga for helping their weight loss. But, is yoga truly beneficial for weight loss? Are we really able to lose weight relying on yoga practice?  
The most common theory for weight loss is reducing our calorie intake and increasing our calorie consumption. If you want to get rid of 1kg of your body weight in a week, it is said that we have to cut down 3850 calories in a week, which is about 550 calories a day, and is about ¼ of our daily recommended calorie intake. So if you reduce it without any exercise, it seems to be unrealistic and possibly unhealthy…Then, how much do we burn in physical yoga exercises? According to  this article, yoga practice burns about 250-300 calories per hour, that means if you physically practice yoga an hour EVERYDAY, you could possibly lose (only) 0.5 kg in a week. So for successful weight loss, they recommend controlling calorie intake if yoga is the primary exercise! How surprising!
Then, how should we control calorie intake? If you start practicing yoga, it might worth looking at some ‘’yogi’’ ways of making plans for controlling your calorie intake. One of the ways we can build this, is through the yoga philosophy of Gunas, ‘the fundamental of quality or attitude’ of Prakriti (Material). There are three type of Gunas; Sattva, Rajas, and Tamas, and you can find these qualities or attitudes everywhere, in a person’s attitude and mind, and even in food.
Sattvic food can bring you more purity, strength, energy and peace in mind.  Fresh and natural food, non-processed food, or cooked food with ingredients retaining their shape are categorised as sattvic food. Rajasic food is something stimulating your body and mind, such as spice, sugar, coffee, tea, convenience foods, snacks, and tobacco. Tamasic food is the food which makes you dull and lazy, such as processed, fermented, fried, heavy, or canned food. Meat, fish and alcohol also belong to tamasic food as they make you lazy and energyless in the end. So in Yoga, as you can guess, it is recommended to avoid Rajasic and Tamasic food. This can bring inner peace to our mind and body as diet plays an important role in both.
Those tamasic and rajasic foods are high in sugar, salt, and chemicals, which we should try to reduce our intake of not only for weight loss but for our own health. You do not want to be lazy after taking tamasic food as you want to be energetic to burn more calories in your daily life. Some might think rajasic foods would be helpful to boost your energy but in the end, this will fluctuate your mind and could lead to a tamasic mind. Categorising Gunas in food is not probably scientifically proven, but you might feel that this is the best way for controlling your diet.  As yoga is not only about physical practice but also a part of our life, why don’t we try it?
200Hr YTT weekday Sep 2015

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