Seems like the onset of summer brings on our most critical eye. Hot weather and less clothing result in an amplified awareness of those ever so common stubborn bits of the body. Those pesky fat deposits that tend to settle in around the pelvis, buttocks, and thighs of women; and around the bellies of men; never seem to fully vanish despite your best intentions and determined goals. Regardless of the length of time you held that plank, or the amount of resistance you added to those weights, or the level of intensity to which you amped up your cardio, it seems those pockets of unwanted anarchical cells cling to the body for dear life. Amirite!? Well, thank gawd for yoga – because despite your meaningful fitness regime, those tenacious thighs, butts and guts will refuse to surrender to your wishes without the internal mental exercise of an everyday yoga practice. While a wonderful Vinyasa flow class will deliver a body altering physique, toned muscles, youthful mobility and a sculpted frame it has one major advantage that most other forms of exercise cannot boast – stress relieving mindfulness.
Cortisol is an important hormone that your body uses to maintain blood pressure and stimulate your metabolism. This hormone naturally rouses your fat and carbohydrate cravings for fast energy and balanced blood sugar levels. Yay, it serves a purpose! However, cortisol production is greatly increased during times of stress and anxiety and can add sneakily distributed unwanted pounds in your troubled areas. When your cortisol production outweighs the body’s needs of regulation the result is weight gain.
Enter yoga. Not only a natural and holistic means to preserve the aptness of your body goals; the practice of yoga; with its combination of intentional movement, controlled breathing, and mindful thinking; sparks a significant increase in serotonin, which in turn breaks down that unsolicited cortisol. So next time you’re feeling frustrated with a couple extra tenacious pounds remember your yoga’s breath work, meditation, visualization, and mindful body connection is the best way to rein victorious in defeating the thighs, butts and guts of a stressful existence.