Imagine increasing your spiritual awareness while reducing your waistline. A recent study (funded by the National Centre Institute ) found that practicing yoga may help you do just this. The study-involving 15,500 healthy middle aged men and women-was led by researchers at the Fred Hutchinson Centre Research Centre and is the first of its kind to measure the effects of yoga on body weight. The researchers noted that a yoga practice had the greatest effect on those who were overweight.
”( These people ) lost about five pounds, while those who did not practice Yoga gained about fourteen pounds in a ten year period”, says Dr. Alan R. Kristal , the study’s lead author.
What accounts for yoga’s apparent fat-fighting potential? Kristal, a long time yoga student himself, suspects it could be increased body awareness more than the elevated physical activity.
” I think it has to do with the way yoga makes you more aware of your body. So when you’ve eaten enough food you’re sensitive to the feeling of being full, making it much easier to stop before you over-indulge”, Researchers noted that practicing yoga had the greatest effect on those who were overweight.
Study co-author and yoga teacher Denise Benitez, owner of Seattle Yoga Arts, offers the following suggestions for enhancing one’s yoga practice-tips that may be particularly helpful.
For those who wish to maintain or lose weight:
1. Practice in a room without mirrors, and pay more attention to your internal experience than to your outer performance.
2. Learn to feel more and more subtle sensations so that you become deeply involved in and curious about micro-movements.
3. Find an edge for yourself in your poses, where you are challenged but not overwhelmed. At this edge, practice maintaining a clear, open, and accepting mental state.
4. Permit yourself to rest during a yoga class when you feel overworked.
5. Pay close attention to what you are saying to your-self as you practice,and make an intended effort to appreciate your own efforts and innate goodness.
6. Go to the yoga studio faithfully, arrive early, and talk to a few people in your class before it begins.
7. Treat yours self: Buy your own yoga mat and bring it to class.
8. Realize that the development of attributes like patience, discipline wisdom, right effort, kindness, gratitude, and many others will arise from your yoga practice. These qualities create a steady and soft mind.
9. Find a teacher who offers a balance of gentleness and firmness and whose teaching inspires you to practice from your highest self.
10. Recognize that simply attending class is a major statement of courage, self- care, and positive momentum. Realize that you are inspiring others as you become more true to your deepest desires.