Yoga Therapy and Body Mass Index
Written by Dr. Minakshi Welukar.
Regular exercise is a well researched tool to attain healthy weight and a fit body. However, Yoga is a new adjuvant therapy that is beneficial in controlling Body Mass Index (BMI) in a healthy way.
Today urban society is stigmatized with chronic diseases. Unhealthy lifestyle is the main reason for the occurrence of chronic illness. BMI, is a reliable indicator of physical well-being of an individual, as there is urgent attention in the alarming rise of such diseases. Yoga works wonderful in stabilizing BMI and in restoring health.
What is BMI?
Body Mass Index (BMI) is a simple index of weight for height. BMI is defined as a person's weight in kilograms divided by the square of his height in meters (Kg/m2). According to BMI value, individuals can be classified into different categories. BMI ranging from 18.5 to 24.9 is considered as a healthy weight. BMI less than 18.5 come under underweight and greater than 25 counted as overweight.
A BMI value tells you the chances of developing health problems and whether you are in good shape or not.
BMI and Health Risk
Underweight BMI indicates your diet is short of calories and vital nutrients. Caloric and nutritional deficiencies result in development of an array of health problems. Weak immunity, anemia, osteoporosis and hair loss are major problems with being underweight. Underweight women can encounter with irregular menstrual cycles, lack of period or infertility.
Overweight BMI suggests 'caloric imbalance' which means little calories are used for amount of calories consumed. Being overweight can increase your risk of development of Type 2 diabetes, heart disease, stroke, gall stones, sleep apnea and certain types of cancer. Women can experience irregular periods or difficulty in conception. Being overweight is associated with feelings of poor body image and can result in depression.
Yoga Therapy and BMI
Integrated holistic approach of yoga therapy purifies the body and mind. Yoga can control daily behaviors, produce self-awareness, boost personal growth and bring self-realization. This can help to improve eating patterns and promote self-control. Yoga has a promising effect in addressing a wide range of health conditions by stabilizing BMI.
Yoga Promotes Mindful Eating
While most other treatment modalities are concerned solely about the usage of calories to regulate BMI, yoga is concerned with mindful eating. Yoga cultivates an inner sense of awareness that will help to control eating behavior.
According to a study published in Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, regular yoga practice is associated with mindful eating, which has a vital role in long-term weight maintenance.
Having a calm mind and focusing on breath during challenging yoga poses can help to accomplish mindfulness. Mindful eating is awareness of physical and emotional sensations during eating. Increased body awareness, especially regarding sensitivity to hunger and satiety controls your eating patterns. Here you know what you are eating and when you have to stop. This minimizes the chances of overeating and helps to control BMI.
Hatha Yoga for BMI
A study published in the International Journal of Yoga mentioned that hatha yoga, a form of yoga with emphasis on physical postures, is a good way to lower the BMI.
Healthy Eating and BMI
Food contents are equally important as food quantity in achieving stable BMI.
- Eat fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, nuts and beans to get essential nutrients.
- Include fat-free milk and milk products in your diet plate for fulfilling calcium requirement.
- Eat lean meat, poultry and fish in a moderate amount only.
- Avoid foods with added sugar or processed foods such as cookies, pastries or cakes.
- Development and Validation of the Mindful Eating Questionnaire.
- Regular yoga practice is associated with mindful eating.
- Increased Hatha yoga experience predicts lower body mass index and reduced medication use in women over 45 years.
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