Most of the evidence for the effects of yoga on weight loss is anecdotal or experiential.
Yoga teachers, students and practitioners across the country find that in their own bodies,
or with their students, yoga helps to support weight loss. Many teachers specialize in yoga
programs to promote weight management and find that gentle yoga practices often
help support weight loss. People do not have to practice the most vigorous forms of yoga
to lose weight. Many teachers find that yoga encourages development of a positive selfimage,
as more attention is paid to nutrition and the body as a whole. The positive effects
of yoga on weight may also have to do with reducing stress.
Stress is a significant factor for many people in an effort to maintain healthy weight.
Current research shows that chronic exposure to stress hormones stimulates weight gain,
particularly in the abdominal area. One of the benefits of a yoga practice in weight loss
is through reducing stress. Although this is an effect that has not been directly studied in
experimental research, yoga practice, especially techniques which focus on reducing
stress, can be an important component to a long-term weight management program.
So far, there has not been much research directly examining the effects of yoga on
weight loss. But a recent paper was published in the journal Alternative Therapies in
Health and Medicine which investigated the relationship between yoga practice and
weight management. In a lifestyle study of 15,500 adults in their 50s, researchers collected
information about 10 years of participants’ weight history, physical activity, medical
history and diet. The authors of the study found that regular yoga practice was associated
with decreased incidence of age-related weight gain; this was even more notable
in people who were overweight. This finding warrants further investigation of the issue, but
provides some motivation for teachers, students, and scientific researchers to continue to
explore yoga as part of a weight-management program