Kaiut Yoga and Metabolism
There’s a story about metabolism out there that goes kinda like this:
The only way to boost metabolism to exercise harder and eat fewer calories. It’s gotta be strict and it’s gotta feel like deprivation.
While that story is running, most of us beat ourselves up, run ourselves into the ground, and get caught up in an unproductive cycle of shame and blame. It’s a no-win situation for most of us.
What if you could influence your metabolism by supporting your body and nourishing your system from the inside out? Would it be possible to improve metabolism with less effort?
Let’s begin with a few definitions and clarifications. Metabolism includes an array of processes. The Mayo Clinic defines metabolism as follows:
Metabolism is the process by which your body converts what you eat and drink into energy. During this complex process, calories in food and beverages are combined with oxygen to release the energy your body needs to function.1
Essentially, metabolism can be conveniently divided into two categories:
- Catabolism – the breakdown of molecules to obtain energy
- Anabolism – the synthesis of all compounds needed by the cells
Metabolism is often associated with weight loss/weight gain. Although the definition could be broadened to include all biologic processes that require energy (think breathing, digesting, sweating, circulation, etc).
For this particular blog post, let’s confine the definition of metabolism to weight management.
Don’t worry- we’re not going to talk diet, we’re not going to comment about food or hustle- we’re going to stay true to our origins as yoga teachers and share with you how we’ve seen the Kaiut practice support metabolism in surprising ways from both the physical, as well as, mental/emotional framework.
Weight management can be a rather unexpected benefit of the Kaiut Yoga practice. Since one would hardly call our practice high intensity it’s often not associated with weight loss [remember, most of us are stuck in that calorie in/calorie burn mindset]. When students notice the physical changes starting to take shape (increased tone and weight stabilization) they tend to wonder…. how the heck is this working?
Take a look at the following and consider all the ways that you can boost your metabolism efficiently.
- Pressure on joints affects all the surrounding tissues: Through the Kaiut Sequences we apply pressure on the joints. This helps to impact the joint itself- but it also has an effect on the surrounding soft tissue. This soft tissue could include nearby organs and even glands. Let’s take the hips as an example. When the hips become more mobile, it is conceivable that the increased blood flow could have a positive effect on the pelvic organs and glands. The organs and glands in this area are part of a feedback loop that can contribute to overall metabolism.
- Parasympathetic mode- switches your body into repair mode: To be at our best, we need both the sympathetic as well as the parasympathetic nervous systems to be healthy. In today’s society, most of us operate primarily from a sympathetic mode and, we rarely turn it off. Healthy digestion however is regulated from a more restful, parasympathetic state. Training the body and our mental framework to be restful supports the digestive process.
- Becoming more present with physical sensations and needs: Many of us have experienced moments of quiet meditation coming quite naturally in the Kaiut practice. These moments when we are simply present on the mat eventually translate to our day-to-day world. Students often say they’re better able to manage the many challenging day-to-day situations that are inevitable. Students comment that they notice that when it comes to nutrition, they start choosing foods differently as a result of their ability to be more present. Overall, students are better equipped to listen to what their body wants or needs versus impulses, stress or anxious habits (read: food habits, drinking habits, etc.)
- Self acceptance: A little self-love goes a long way. All that negative self-talk that is often an inevitable side-effect from the traditional “dieting” mode- is actually self-defeating. Adding in a few more self-care practices is a natural by-product of feeling better towards ourselves.
All in all, the beauty of the Kaiut practice is that you’re able to gain more time and experience in a movement practice- where you feel calm, restful, and allowing yourself to spend time with the parasympathetic nervous system. All of these small moments on the mat begin to add up and over time we accumulate more memories that allow us to resource ourselves differently in commonly stressful situations. When it comes to metabolism this could be the perspective that your body needs.
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1. Can you boost your metabolism? Mayo Clinic. Published 2020. Accessed March 16, 2021. https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/weight-loss/in-depth/metabolism/art-20046508