It is no secret about the many health benefits of yoga, with a plethora of evidence pointing towards yoga being a significant strategy in helping the body (and mind) alleviate a variety of ailments and health issues.  

But yoga and keto? Where does this ancient practice of physical, mental, and spiritual postures sit within the framework of a keto diet?

Considering that yoga is thousands of years old and the rise of a ketogenic diet is a relatively modern concept, it may be difficult to link the two in your mind. However, many argue that yoga and keto are the perfect pairing and make a wonderful combination for helping to achieve a healthy, happy mind and body union.  

The Biology Behind Ketosis

The keto diet is the most popular, talked about diet out there today. We’re talking zero/low carbs, high protein, high fats (healthy fats), zero sugar and the best bit… seems to be getting people impressive weight loss results. There is no shortage of keto groupies, to say the least. Instagram recipes, Pinterest pins, Twitter advice and to mention the numerous keto Facebook groups that are out there, in force, to spread the amazing ways of following a keto lifestyle and the huge benefits.

The keto diet pivots on the fundamental principles of consuming a specific balance of food in order to establish ketosis, which simply means that the body is metabolizing fat (as opposed to glucose) at an increased rate, converting fatty acids into ketones to help speed up weight loss.

On a regular diet, the first molecules we burn are carbs when our body needs energy, with fat as a backup energy supply. Ketones are naturally produced (in the liver) during this process and distributed within the bloodstream allowing muscles and body tissue to use them as fuel. The evidence suggests that the more ketones produced, the more fat is broken down and ultimately more weight loss. The keto diet aims to shortcut this process to burn fat faster.

A vital component of the keto diet is to consume healthy fats in significant volumes. These include Medium Chain Triglycerides (MCT’s), which can be found in oils derived from coconut or palm oil as well as dairy products. There are four types of caprylic and capric acid being the most common. Consuming fat in place of carbs also leads to a feeling of fullness. This is important for intermittent fasting during the ketogenic diet (if this is your thing) and also for portion control.

Dieting For Long Term Success

Deciding to go on a diet, and which diet to follow isn’t really just about sticking to a specific list of foods that you can or can’t eat. For it to be the most effective, a ‘lifestyle shift or change’ is required.

If you are contemplating adopting a keto lifestyle, you can certainly make other changes in your life that will ensure the diet is going to bring you the kind of results that you are looking for. Incorporating physical activity into your day-to-day regime is the perfect way to maximize great results. This is where yoga comes in. Yoga is an awesome form of exercise to complement the keto diet and see change quickly by toning your body as the weight falls off.

Losing Weight With Yoga And Keto

Yoga is not simply a way to stretch out and chill, the benefits are far deeper than that. The effect that yoga may have on someone’s ability to shed unwanted pounds and lose weight is far greater than we ever thought possible. Many studies suggest a strong connection between the mind and body and, our state of mind ultimately affects the ability to lose weight. The fact that yoga promotes and strengthens being in the present moment and mindful only increases the possibility of having a healthy mindset for boosting weight loss, eating correctly and exercising well to get good results.

A keto lifestyle places a strong emphasis on enhancing your body’s natural ability to become healthier and stronger. Yoga’s main philosophy is to create and build strength, flexibility, self-awareness, and balance to promote harmony between mind, body, and soul. The techniques you learn to relax to in yoga can help on many physical, emotional and mental levels which is exactly what you need when undertaking a diet that (for some) can take some adjusting to. The keto diet can undoubtedly test your mental process as well as physical should you be affected with any of the negative aspects of the being in ketosis such as the keto flu.

Aerobic Exercise Burns Fat – Just Like Ketosis

Yoga has many forms but the essential core element of yoga is to improve muscle strength, a range of motion, balance, core strengthening, and flexibility. Yoga is suitable for all age groups and is a great way of introducing your body to movement and exercise with very little negative impact.

If practiced properly, yoga is considered an aerobic activity that provides benefits associated with this form of moderate intensity exercise allowing you to work up a sweat. This type of exercise allows increased oxygen in the blood due to the fact that it relies on slower and more powerful movements as opposed to faster movements which generally spend oxygen faster. In addition, aerobic exercises stimulate the burning of fat sources more than carbohydrate sources. The combination of keto and yoga gives your body the optimal chance of reaching ketosis quicker and for sustaining it longer, therefore, achieving great results.

Keto, Meditation, and Stress

Managing stress is an integral part of succeeding on any diet, so of course, the keto diet is no exception. Weight gain is exacerbated when stress levels are high because when we are stressed our body creates cortisol. Cortisol is a hormone created in our brain that creates a warning to your body to compensate for any energy that may be lacking (even if you have not consumed that may calories).  As a result, your body starts to crave carbs or sweet things because these types of foods help release specific chemicals that enhance your sense of wellbeing and feel good factor. However, we all know that this feel-good factor only lasts short term and after the sugar/carb spike, we are right back where we started.

Unlike muscles, your brain cannot use fat as a source of energy. The relaxation techniques practiced in yoga provide a positive impact on the chemistry of the brain which should be an important consideration whilst doing the keto diet to ensure that the correct foods are consumed to achieve optimal physical health as well as mental well-being.

In the practice of yoga, breathing, also known as Prana, incorporates specific breathing exercises and meditation to help improve mental well-being to promote inner clarity, mindfulness, peacefulness, and calm. Regular yoga practice is a key factor in reducing stress.

So it is essential that you stay ‘chilled’ during the process of dieting. Yoga can play a significant part in helping a person manage stress.  

Intermittent Fasting On The Keto Diet

Intermittent fasting refers to a period of around 12 hours in the day when a person does not consume any calories. This is most easily done by not eating about 12 hours before you intend to wake up. This beneficial effect also enhances the experience of yoga, because early morning yoga is best done on an empty stomach.

Can Keto Supplements Help?

Once you’ve begun to follow the keto diet meal plan, and you’ve gone ahead and started yoga, there are still more things you can do that will help to amplify the results. There are a number of keto supplements available on the market right now that work to replenish lost electrolytes, speed up results and help ensure that you do not suffer from symptoms related to keto flu. These can prove invaluable if you choose a top quality supplement. There are a variety of supplements on the market and are formulated to provide a range of benefits depending on fitness levels, type of keto diet you are following, age and body types. These are designed to support the foodstuffs you are eating and the exercise you are doing. They are not instead of.

Our Keto and Yoga Take Home

It would appear that keto and yoga are cut from the cloth. OK, so that’s perhaps a slight exaggeration but if the keto diet is for you, then adding yoga to the mix should be a real consideration for you because it can enhance the great results, faster.

The aerobic element provided by yoga helps to provide added support for the fast burning of fat (as opposed to glucose) for energy and essential for achieving ketosis for optimal fat burn.

Whilst any diet can cause stress, a ketogenic diet causes noticeable changes in brain structure and it is essential to promote a calmer and more relaxed mindset which can be achieved through meditation that can form part of your yoga practice.

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