By Faye Martins
When we practice yoga to raise metabolism, it is also good for releasing stress. Lowering chronically high levels of stress in your life will help you to speed up your metabolism, have more energy, increase the functioning of your immune system and sleep better. Furthermore, cortisol is one of the main hormones found in the human body that revs the body up under internally or externally stressful situations. It is known as the flight-or-fight hormone. It is equally important to understand that a sudden release of cortisol can give you a quick burst of energy and enhanced mental ability. However, consistent stress can raise blood sugar levels.
Sequences for Burning Calories
Sequences are a group of yoga poses practiced in a specific order. Years ago, the public scoffed at the idea of yoga to raise metabolism. Nevertheless, Sun Salutations are a safe way to raise your heart rate and metabolism. Ultimately, Sun Salutations are not a speed exercise. Practicing this sequence as a short marathon and breathing steadily will carry you a long way. This will help stimulate the body and burn hundreds of calories over an hour-long session. Sun Salutations are also a mild form of cardiovascular exercise which helps students cope with stress, anxiety, and depression. Of course, poses within the Sun Salutation sequence also target areas such as the arms, abs, glutes, and legs.
Slow Flow Vinyasa Yoga
Practicing movement-based yoga can be an excellent way to increase metabolism and burn fat. Slow flow vinyasa yoga is a type of yoga that passively burns calories. To be sure, this practice consists of postures compiled in a sequence. This type of yoga also builds strength and flexibility. Movement is continuous, but the pace is much slower than in a typical Vinyasa class. It is important to realize, that the purpose of slowing down is to lower the amount of impact on the joints. For example, a lunge back may be advised instead of a jump back. Specifically, movement is taking place, but the pace is controlled to lower injury risks.
Around the world, Hatha yoga has become the most practiced style. In fact, this style has been around for centuries, but only recently has it been famous for its health benefits. Hatha yoga focuses on breathing, physical postures, and meditation, all of which can literally regenerate the body from the inside out. This type of yoga seeks to balance your physical and mental energies through fluid movements and poses that stretch and strengthen your muscles. Hatha yoga holds postures longer than Vinyasa-style classes, but Hatha flows do exist. Frequently, the warmups in Hatha classes contain Sun or Moon Salutations. To explain further, Hatha Yoga has evolved rapidly and has many practitioners worldwide. To clarify, not many students practice Hatha yoga to raise metabolism, but it will do the job.
However, if your level of cortisol is too high, too much of the time, you will be predisposed to gaining weight, particularly in the abdominal area. High levels of cortisol make you crave calorie-dense, salty and sugary foods. Unremitting high levels of cortisol also lower the functioning of your immune system, raise your blood pressure, increase a predisposition toward heart disease and overtax your adrenal glands, which may lead to fatigue, irritability, and depression. On the positive side, yoga to raise metabolism can help one shift away from an unhealthy lifestyle.
The satisfaction hormone, leptin, also directly affects the functioning of your metabolism. Leptin acts on leptin receptors in the hypothalamus to give you a feeling of fullness after you have eaten. Additionally, Leptin helps the body to regulate appetite, caloric intake, and energy output. With that said, Leptin and cortisol are intricately connected in the human body. A rise in cortisol levels actually increases a rise in the release of leptin. However, if leptin levels are too high, too much of the time from overeating and/or stress, the body becomes accustomed to its signal of satisfaction. In other words, the brakes may no longer work as well. Both leptin and cortisol affect the release of each other. Chronically high levels of leptin are associated with cardiovascular disease, obesity, chronic inflammation, and metabolic syndrome.
Leptin also affects how much fat your cells store and your subjective experience of hunger and fullness. Leptin affects the HPA axis which helps your body to handle stress. When your cortisol and leptin levels are balanced and in the normal range, your body and mind will function optimally. You will be better able to not sweat the small stuff, handle stress well and lose weight more easily. An active lifestyle and a healthy diet are two of the main keys to keeping these important hormones balanced. Practicing Yoga to raise metabolism and lower your stress levels through exercise, helps practitioners by keeping a manageable schedule and practicing relaxation techniques. This will also help to keep your cortisol levels in check and protect your body’s sensitivity to leptin.
What About Relaxation?
Will pranayama, meditation, or relaxation help? Most people laugh at the idea of relaxing in order to raise your metabolism. The truth is, relaxation will help because it reduces stress, depression, and anxiety. All three issues can reduce metabolism levels. Better concentration also boosts your metabolism. Many types of relaxation exercises have been proven to increase metabolism and fat-burning activity for up to five hours a day. Another key point to consider is insomnia causes weight gain. A healthy lifestyle includes pranayama, meditation, relaxation, and sleep.
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