Obesity Image by KarenYeomans.com


About

Clinical studies have suggested that yoga, as part of a healthy lifestyle, can be a useful obesity treatment; aiding weight loss, reducing BMI, reducing cholesterol and lowering blood pressure.

The more dynamic types of yoga like Ashtanga and Hot Yoga can burn a lot of calories, but yoga, mindfulness and meditation can go deeper; helping to change eating behaviours, alleviating depression, anxiety and stress, reducing psychological distress and improving quality of life.

Accepting yourself as you are and creating balance in your diet, body and your mind have been shown to be essential to a healthy relationship with food.

Yoga, whether fast or slow, can help to focus the mind on the present and on the internal journey, so we can identify unhelpful attitudes and behaviour patterns. If emotions cause you to overeat, meditation or mindfulness may help you build self-acceptance and create a calmer, more balanced mind.


What the clinical studies say

Yoga
  • Decrease in serum leptin levels
  • Improves postural stability
  • Improves quality of life
  • Reduced waist and hip circumference
  • Reduces BMI
  • Reduces cholesterol
  • Reduction in obesity-related inflammation
  • Stress reduction
  • Weight loss
Meditation
  • Alleviates depression
  • Decreases C-reactive protein
  • Reduces BMI
Mindfulness
  • Alleviates depression
  • Changes in eating behaviour
  • Decreases C-reactive protein
  • Reduces BMI
  • Reduction in psychological distress
  • Weight loss

The clinical studies

Pilot study: Mindful Eating and Living (MEAL): Weight, eating behavior, and psychological outcomes associated with a mindfulness-based intervention for people with obesity
Practice
  • Yoga
  • Meditation
  • Mindfulness
Abstract

Objectives:

The purpose of this study was to pilot a brief (6-week) group curriculum for providing mindfulness training to obese individuals, called Mindful Eating and Living (MEAL).

Setting and design:

Participants were recruited through a local Young Men's Christian Association (YMCA) in spring 2006. Data was collected at three time points: baseline, completion of intervention (6 weeks), and 3-month follow-up (12 weeks).

Intervention:

Six weekly two-hour group classes (with two monthly follow-up classes). Content included training in mindfulness meditation, mindful eating, and group discussion, with emphasis on awareness of body sensations, emotions, and triggers to overeat.

Main outcome measures:

Key variables assessed included changes in weight, body-mass index (BMI), eating behavior, and psychological distress. In addition, physiological markers of cardiovascular risk were evaluated including C-reactive protein (hsCRP), adiponectin, low-density lipoprotein (LDL), and plasminogen activator inhibitor-1 (PAI-1).

Results:

Ten obese patients enrolled with a mean BMI of 36.9 kg/m2 [SD ± 6.2]. The mean weight was 101 kg/m2 and the mean age was 44 years (SD = 8.7; range = 31–62). Compared to baseline data, participants showed statistically significant increases in measures of mindfulness and cognitive restraint around eating, and statistically significant decreases in weight, eating disinhibition, binge eating, depression, perceived stress, physical symptoms, negative affect, and C-reactive protein.

Conclusions:

This study provides preliminary evidence that a eating focused mindfulness-based intervention can result in significant changes in weight, eating behavior, and psychological distress in obese individuals.
Citations

62
Authors

Jeanne Dalen | Bruce W. Smith | Brian M Shelley | Anita Lee Sloan | Lisa Leahigh | Debbie Begay
Published

2010
Journal

Complementary Therapies in Medicine
Volume / Issue

18:6
Author's primary institution

University of New Mexico, USA
Short term health impact of a yoga and diet change program on obesity
Practice
  • Yoga
  • Meditation
  • Mindfulness
Abstract

Background:

Obese persons often find physical activity difficult. The effects of a yoga and diet change program, emphasizing breathing techniques practiced while seated, was assessed in obese persons.

Material/Methods:

A single group of 47 persons were assessed on the first and last day of a yoga and diet change program, with 6 days of the intervention between assessments. The assessments were: body mass index (BMI), waist and hip circumferences, mid-arm circumference, body composition, hand grip strength, postural stability, serum lipid profile and fasting serum leptin levels. Participants practiced yoga for 5 hours every day and had a low fat, high fiber, vegetarian diet. Last and first day data were compared using a t-test for paired data.

Results:

Following the 6-day residential program, participants showed a decrease in BMI (1.6 percent), waist and hip circumferences, fat-free mass, total cholesterol (7.7 percent decrease), high density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol (8.7 percent decrease), fasting serum leptin levels (44.2 percent decrease) and an increase in postural stability and hand grip strength (p<0.05, all comparisons).

Conclusions:

A 6-day yoga and diet change program decreased the BMI and the fat-free mass. Total cholesterol also decreased due to reduced HDL levels. This suggests that a brief, intensive yoga program with a change in diet can pose certain risks. Benefits seen were better postural stability, grip strength (though a ‘practice effect’ was not ruled out), reduced waist and hip circumferences and a decrease in serum leptin levels.
Citations

35
Authors

Shirley Telles | Visweswaraiah K Naveen | Acharya Balkrishna | Sanjay Kumar
Published

2009
Journal

Medical Science Monitor
Volume / Issue

16:1
Author's primary institution

Patanjali Yogpeeth, Haridwar, India
Yoga practice is associated with attenuated weight gain in healthy, middle-aged men and women
Practice
  • Yoga
  • Meditation
  • Mindfulness
Abstract

Background:

Yoga is promoted for weight maintenance, but there is little evidence of its efficacy.

Objective:

To examine whether yoga practice is associated with lower mean 10-year weight gain after age 45.

Participants:

Participants included 15,550 adults, aged 53 to 57 years, recruited to the Vitamin and Lifestyle (VITAL) cohort study between 2000 and 2002.

Measurements:

Physical activity (including yoga) during the past 10 years, diet, height, and weight at recruitment and at ages 30 and 45. All measures were based on self-reporting, and past weight was retrospectively ascertained.

Methods:

Multiple regression analyses were used to examined covariate-adjusted associations between yoga practice and weight change from age 45 to recruitment, and polychotomous logistic regression was used to examine associations of yoga practice with the relative odds of weight maintenance (within 5%) and weight loss (>5%) compared to weight gain.

Results:

Yoga practice for four or more years was associated with a 3.1-lb lower weight gain among normal weight (BMI <25) participants [9.5 lbs versus 12.6 lbs] and an 18.5-lb lower weight gain among overweight participants [–5.0 lbs versus 13.5 lbs] (both P for trend <.001). Among overweight individuals, 4+ years of yoga practice was associated with a relative odds of 1.85 (95% confidence interval [CI] 0.63-5.42) for weight maintenance (within 5%) and 3.88 (95% CI 1.30-9.88) for weight loss (>5%) compared to weight gain (P for trend .026 and .003, respectively).

Conclusions:

Regular yoga practice was associated with attenuated weight gain, most strongly among individuals who were overweight. Although causal inference from this observational study is not possible, results are consistent with the hypothesis that regular yoga practice can benefit individuals who wish to maintain or lose weight
Citations

83
Authors

Alan R. Kristal | Alyson J. Littman | Denise Benitez | Emily White
Published

2005
Journal

Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine
Volume / Issue

11:4
Author's primary institution

Department of Epidemiology, University of Washington, Seattle, USA
Obesity-related inflammation & cardiovascular disease: Efficacy of a yoga-based lifestyle intervention
Practice
  • Yoga
  • Meditation
  • Mindfulness
Abstract

Obesity is a global health burden and its prevalence is increasing substantially due to changing lifestyle. Chronic adiposity is associated with metabolic imbalance leading to dyslipidaemia, diabetes, hypertension and cardiovascular diseases (CVD). Adipose tissue acts as an endocrine organ releasing several adipocytokines, and is associated with increased levels of tissue and circulating inflammatory biomolecules causing vascular inflammation and atherogenesis. Further, inflammation is also associated independently with obesity as well as CVD.

Keeping this in view, it is possible that a reduction in weight may lead to a decrease in inflammation, resulting in CVD risk reduction, and better management of patients with CVD. Lifestyle intervention has been endorsed by several health authorities in prevention and management of chronic diseases.

A yoga-based lifestyle intervention appears to be a promising option in reducing the risk for CVD as well as management of patients with CVD as it is simple to follow and cost-effective with high compliance. The efficacy of such lifestyle intervention programmes is multifaceted, and is achieved via reduction in weight, obesity-related inflammation and stress, thereby culminating into risk reduction towards several chronic diseases including CVD. In this review, the association between obesity-related inflammation and CVD, and the role of yoga-based lifestyle intervention in prevention and management of CVD are discussed.
Citations

1
Authors

Kumar Sarvottam | Raj Kumar Yadav
Published

2014
Journal

Indian Journal of Medical Research
Volume / Issue

139:6
Author's primary institution

Department of Physiology, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi, India
Randomized controlled pilot trial of yoga in overweight and obese breast cancer survivors: effects on quality of life and anthropometric measures
Practice
  • Yoga
  • Meditation
  • Mindfulness
Abstract

Purpose:

To obtain estimates of time to recruit the study sample, retention, facility-based class attendance and home practice for a study of yoga in breast cancer survivors, and its efficacy on fatigue, quality of life (QOL), and weight change.

Methods:

Sixty-three post-treatment stages 0–III borderline overweight and obese (body mass index ≥24 kg/m2 ) breast cancer survivors were randomly assigned to a 6-month, facility- and home-based viniyoga intervention (n=32) or a waitlist control group (n=31). The yoga goal was five practices per week.

Primary outcome measures:

Changes in QOL, fatigue, and weight from baseline to 6 months. Secondary outcomes included changes in waist and hip circumference.

Results:

It took 12 months to complete recruitment. Participants attended a mean of 19.6 classes and practiced at home a mean of 55.8 times during the 6-month period. At follow-up, 90% of participants completed questionnaires and 87% completed anthropometric measurements. QOL and fatigue improved to a greater extent among women in the yoga group relative to women in the control group, although no differences were statistically significant. Waist circumference decreased 3.1 cm (95% CI, −5.7 and −0.4) more among women in the yoga compared with the control group, with no difference in weight change.

Conclusions:

This study provides important information regarding recruitment, retention, and practice levels achieved during a 6-month, intensive yoga intervention in overweight and obese breast cancer survivors. Yoga may help decrease waist circumference and improve quality of life; future studies are needed to confirm these results.
Citations

43
Authors

Alison j. Littman | Lisa Cadmus Bertram | Rachel Ceballos | Cornelia M. Ulrich | Jaya Ramaprasad | Bonne McGregor | Anne McTiernan
Published

2012
Journal

Supportive Care in Cancer
Volume / Issue

20:2
Author's primary institution

Seattle Epidemiologic Research and Information Center (ERIC), Department of Veterans Affairs Puget Sound Health Care System, 1100 Olive Way, Metropolitan Park West, Suite 1400, Seattle, WA, 98101, USA

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