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How Does Yoga Affect Metabolism?
You may be familiar with the benefits of yoga, including reduced stress and increased flexibility, but did you know that yoga can be great way to increase your metabolism? Metabolism is a body’s ability to change food and other substances into energy and materials otherwise useful to the body.
Each person has their own metabolic rate, which is affected by their lifestyle. As you become more active, your metabolic rate increases, which assists in weight loss. By focusing on different areas in the body, yoga can target the systems that are holding your metabolism back.
Indicators of a slow metabolism include a poor digestive system and a lethargic liver. When these two organs are not functioning properly, the whole body suffers, including your metabolism. Because both organs are located in the abdomen, yoga exercises focusing on your core are a great solution.
Surya namaskar is a yoga exercise that will increase your heart rate while toning your tummy. Poses that strengthen your abdominal muscles also strengthen your digestive organs, allowing them to be used to their full potential.
Another contributor to a sluggish metabolism is poor circulation. When the body is not receiving blood at a healthy rate, all of the organs are affected. Using yoga breathing exercises can increase circulation with the added benefit of boosting your immune system.
An example of a fairly advanced yoga technique used to improve circulation is Bhastrika, also known as bellows breath. It builds the stomach muscles while increasing circulation to the entire body. With improved circulation and a stronger immune system, your body will enjoy increased metabolism and be more resistant to illnesses that would otherwise slow you down.
Properly executed yoga strength-training poses help build targeted muscle groups. As your muscles increase in size and density, you will burn more calories with less effort.
A great yoga exercise for strength is Ashtanga. With its intense and quick poses, it is ideal for increased muscle mass. Be warned, however: Ashtanga can be difficult. Even beginner routines are intense but worth the effort invested in learning the style and poses.
One of the overall goals of yoga is balance: balance of the mind and body. Many of the poses and “types” of yoga are created with this goal in mind. As you combine breathing with the poses, you begin to create an awareness that will transform your body. Your increased awareness should lead to healthier lifestyle choices, resulting in a healthier mind and body, including increased metabolism.