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Can yoga really be effective for losing weight?

Q: Can yoga really be effective for losing weight? I don't want to have to do the "hot yoga" to get results. But can I really burn enough calories just through stretching?

A: Yes, yoga can be an extremely effective way for losing weight -- in fact, I've seen many of my students literally shrink before my eyes from week to week! -- but it's not necessarily because of calories burned.

Rather, here are 7 reasons yoga why is a great activity for shedding pounds:

1. Yoga helps dial down stress.
That means that those pesky stress hormones like cortisol and adrenaline are flushed out of your system instead of hanging around, promoting fat storage at the belly and hips.

2. Yoga helps to balance your hormones.
In other words, your thyroid (which governs your metabolism) begins to operate at its best. Other hormones governing fat storage and fat burning are also optimized, making it easier for you to naturally shed those pesky pounds.

3. Yoga promotes a sense of deep well-being.
Translation? You're less likely to turn to food as a pick-me-up, because you're already feeling great, due to an increase of endorphins and serotonin, the feel-good brain chemicals!

4. Yoga can help with a great night's sleep.
The evidence is irrefutable: lack of sleep equals excess pounds. When you're sleeping better, the hunger hormones are kept in balance.

5. Yoga develops better body awareness, acceptance and appreciation.
Instead of fighting your figure, you start to befriend your body. Why ruin all that self-appreciation with sugary donuts and fried foods? You naturally begin to treat yourself with greater respect, and that means consciously selecting what it is you choose to eat.

6. Yoga teaches that all things -- including food -- are infused with (varying levels of) prana, or life force energy.
The more you practice yoga, the more naturally and effortless you begin to nourish yourself on all levels with the highest amount of prana possible. Fast foods, frozen foods, and junk foods begin to lose their appeal.

7. With yoga, you learn to rely on more "self-awareness" and less on "self-discipline". Your relationship with your body, food and dieting begins to naturally, automatically and effortlessly come into balance.

At my wellness/detox/yoga retreats, I teach a program I developed called "The Yoga of Eating". Women who have previously struggled in the past with body image, weight and dieting issues have felt themselves set free with the simple, step-by-step system that changes the way they look at food forever. More details on my retreats are at http://www.PeggyHall.com

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