The Role of Yoga in Weight Loss | BeLiteWeight | Weight Loss ServicesIn addition to relieving stress and increasing flexibility, yoga can play a key role in your weight loss program. Many experts have come to the conclusion that yoga works well as a complement to other weight loss strategies, such as making better food choices. A 2005 study of overweight men between the ages of 45 and 55 funded by the National Cancer Institute concluded that those who practiced yoga lost more weight than non-practitioners.

Yoga's ability to help people lose weight might seem surprising, since the standard forms of yoga involve slow and precise movements that do not burn off calories at the high rate of an aerobic workout. Some yoga experts point to the mind-body aspects of the discipline when making the case for yoga's weight reduction benefits.

They believe that practicing yoga leads to a more focused mind and can help people resist the temptation to make poor nutritional decisions. Yoga may also allow practitioners to get more in touch with their body and feel more full after a meal. And, of course, being aware of when you are full makes you less likely to eat out of stress.

A more strenuous form of yoga, known as power yoga, also appears to help the body lose weight. The result is an exercise session that comes closer to an aerobic workout and can burn off calories at higher levels than traditional yoga. A 90-minute session of power yoga, when combined with other disciplines such as dance or kickboxing, provides a very good cardiovascular workout.

Yoga may also improve endocrine functioning, which can lead to an improved metabolism. Specific yoga poses, such as the shoulder stand, seem to help thyroid gland functioning and promote a more optimal metabolic rate as well.

A good way to start a yoga program to complement your weight loss efforts is to find a yoga class in your area. You can also purchase a yoga DVD and workout on your own.