How Can “Om”ing and Bending Help You Lose Weight?

Jill Miller by Jill Miller | January 8th, 2009 | 27 Comments
topic: Fitness, Health & Wellness, Weight Loss, Yoga

Yoga has long been known to increase flexibility, reduce stress and improve well-being. But does all that “OM”-ing and bending have a significant impact on weight loss?

Bridge Pose with a Twist, from my Yoga for Weight Loss Workout Kit DVD

Bridge Pose with a Twist, from my Yoga for Weight Loss Workout Kit DVD

Losing weight is simple in theory but much more challenging in practice. To lose weight, you must burn more calories than you consume — in other words, eat less and exercise more. Practicing yoga certainly qualifies as the exercise component of this strategy, as yoga is a terrific calorie-burning exercise that strengthens and tones every muscle of your body, waking up deep muscles and using more of the body more intelligently than many other exercise modalities. (See one example in this clip from my Yoga for Weight Loss Workout from Gaiam.)

Yet while the math is clear on paper, once you begin your yoga practice with weight loss in mind, your mind can turn to a thousand other distractions to pull you from your weight loss goal.

This is precisely where the mental benefits of yoga step in to help with weight loss. Practicing yoga helps to increase your sensitivity to your inner signals such as hunger and cravings. There are physical components to both of these sensations, but true hunger to feed our body’s basic needs is a totally different experience than craving foods that do not nourish us. Yoga helps to slow you down mentally so that you can learn to distinguish between the urge to eat and the emotional impulses that sometimes drive us to eat to quell our feelings. Yoga can help us discern what we are truly hungry for, and knowing what makes us tick internally can help us lose weight by making better food choices.

Because yoga also helps you be totally present, it also helps you eat more mindfully — so you pay more attention to the taste of food and learn how to savor each bite instead of wolfing food down unconsciously. Yoga teaches you to feel true satiation instead of eating until you feel stuffed.

Couple that with the breathing and relaxation techniques yoga teaches us, and you have a system that acknowledges your total health every time you practice. Stressed out bodies are overloaded with cortisol, which packs on intra-abdominal fat. The stress-reducing properties of yoga help you relax more effectively so that fat cannot accumulate.

The physical changes from yoga are evident immediately: Your muscles burn, you break a sweat, you feel loosened up and relaxed for hours afterwards. But it’s the mental transformation that really keeps the weight off. A mind tuned in to the body’s deeper thoughts and feelings about itself is a mind that is no longer willing to accept extra weight or excess mental baggage.


  1. Hello,

    I am curious, do you know of any pilates exercises that can be performed using the yoga blocks?


    jodie | January 26th, 2009 | Comment Permalink
  2. Many pilates mat exercises can be performed while perched on top of the disc from my kit or yoga blocks. This forces your body to deeply engage the transverse abdominals (the cumberband shaped muscle wrapping around the deep core) so that you don’t “fall” off the disc. For example, try doing “The Hundred” perched on the disc or block, this will amplify the intensity of that exercise to a new degree. As a bonus, you can use the disc much like you would use a magic circle!

    Jill Miller | January 27th, 2009 | Comment Permalink
  3. [...] body awareness, which can help you realize when you are truly hungry and stop eating when you’re [...]

  4. [...] Check out Jill’s Yoga for Weight Loss Workout Kit from Gaiam and her related post How Can ‘Om’ing and Bending Help You Lose Weight? [...]

  5. [...] That may be uncomfortable, but it is only when we quiet our exterior chatter that we can deal with the inner chatter of our mind. By removing the veil of noise, we allow our true luminous selves to emerge (just like in weight loss!) [...]

  6. [...] Check out Jill’s Yoga for Weight Loss Workout Kit from Gaiam and her related post How Can ‘Om’ing and Bending Help You Lose Weight? [...]

  7. Are both 30 minute sessions of your yoga for weight loss dvd, plus the bonus core abs, to be used in one day and count as one 1 hour 15 minute session? How many times a week should I practice to see results?
    I quit smoking and have had digestive issues and weight gain ever since (4 months). My stomach is so distended that I actually look pregnant. My doctor recommended yoga and I really hope your DVD can help, but I want to be sure I am following the program correctly. Any info is greatly appreciated.
    With thanks.

    Michelle | February 17th, 2009 | Comment Permalink
  8. Hi Michelle,
    Congrats on quitting smoking! If you are just starting to exercise, I would recommend just doing one section per day for 10 days to 2 weeks. Throw in the Core bonus at least 4 times in order to carefully build up your core muscles. You will probably be sore for a while! Then as you build endurance and time permits, you can do both sections and add the core bonus every other day. You will definitely see results! To address your digestive issues and bloating, I would also recommend my other Core DVD called Yoga Link: Core Integration, you can find it here:
    There are many brilliant techniques on this nearly 2 hour video that will rearrange your core from inside out!
    Belly Blessings! Let me know how it works for you!

    Jill Miller | February 18th, 2009 | Comment Permalink
  9. Hi,
    Great site!!!!! Good health is very important with the high cost of medical coverage. We need to have a healther lifestyle by taking care of our health eating and exercising. I am a cancer survivor and I know. Our health is our greatest asset. Keep up the Good Work!!!!!

    yvonne | June 26th, 2009 | Comment Permalink
  10. Hi,

    nice site and nice information about how to loss weight.As i’m currently using Gaiam weight loss work-out kit…and follow the instructions by Jill Miller.The DVD is excellent and this yoga kit is really helpful.It’s my suggestion to start yoga from today.

    Poonam Parab | September 8th, 2009 | Comment Permalink
  11. Hi, I have a question. Can I pregnant woman do yoga?
    and how to loose weight after pregnancy?

    kathalina | September 16th, 2009 | Comment Permalink
  12. Pregnant women should always consult first with their doctor before doing any type of exercise program, including yoga. Give your body time to heal after child birth, and then begin slowly to address the weight gained during pregnancy. Your doctor should give you the green light in order to make sure your body is ready for it.

    Jill Miller | September 16th, 2009 | Comment Permalink
  13. Great post Jill!! I love to incorporate yoga into my programs, people are often times surprised at how much they love the centering of an intense yoga session. I fell in love with it a few years ago and enjoy weaving it into my high-intensity workout routines to help my muscles grow and recover. What I’ve discovered more often is how much it helps my mind and spirit recover too!! Thanks for a great site.

    Coach Chelle | July 26th, 2010 | Comment Permalink
  14. I’ve read som much stuff about diets for losing weight and most of them completely ignore the exercise factor. To me it just makes sense that you have to do some sort of exercise to lose weight. For a start getting out and exercising removes you from the vicinity of food! And you feel better at the end of it. Thanks for the post.

    Jenna | July 26th, 2010 | Comment Permalink
  15. Is there a way to do too much yoga? Because there is possibility for injury if you exercise too much weight lifting. Is it the same thing with yoga or can you exercise it for as long as you want?

    John | September 26th, 2010 | Comment Permalink
  16. You can absolutely injure yourself by overdoing ANY form of movement, or exercise, and physical yoga postures can create wear and tear on the body just like lifting weights. Proper form is critical, and paying attention to your own pain signals is very important too. Consult with a reputable teacher in your area who has experience in yoga therapeutics to help if you are unsure of “how much is too much.”

    Jill Miller | September 29th, 2010 | Comment Permalink
  17. Hi all

    I agree with this. Yoga plays an important roll for losing a weight. Thanks for sharing this information.

    kaylee | October 5th, 2010 | Comment Permalink
  18. Not only will this help you stay in shape physically but also emotionally. We all need some reflective, quiet time.

    Louise | November 15th, 2010 | Comment Permalink
  19. Hi all

    I agree with this Oming and Bending are very useful for losing the weight. I have used both the last few years and got benefits from both these exercise.

    ishu | December 29th, 2010 | Comment Permalink
  20. Eating mindfully is so key. Check out my blog at about this as part of a book reivew of Thich Naht Hahn’s Savor. Love it!

    Santosha Wellness Group | February 19th, 2011 | Comment Permalink
  21. Hi,
    I recently bought Jill’s weightloss kit and there was no dvd in the kit. I don’t know what to do as the store doesn’t have anymore kits and I really want the workout. I can’t find the dvd anywhere. Any suggestions?

    Letecia | February 22nd, 2011 | Comment Permalink
  22. I tried yoga and was amazed at how much energy you consume. It always looked so easy and relaxing until i tried it.

    Anonymous | April 25th, 2011 | Comment Permalink
  23. try OM-ING and bending in a heated room… then come to me and ask if it’s good for weight loss.

  24. Yoga for weight loss makes sense, to me. My Aunt, practiced yoga in the 60’s and 70’s could not believe I would suggest such an approach to yoga. She feels that yoga is beyond the “superficialness of body image”. My response is that yoga is about holistic health and maintaining a healthy weight plays an important part. Yoga might be one of the healthiest ways to loose weight in big part because of the mindfulness. After struggling with an eating disorder for over a decade it was yoga that helped save me. I learned to listen to my hungry/full cues, I learned patience, I learned a gentler way to strengthen and sweat and I learned to open up and get to myself.

    Lisa S. | May 19th, 2013 | Comment Permalink
  25. Do yoga for YOU and the rest will follow! Doing yoga can do so much more than just help you lose weight – it can help you feel less stressed, sleep better, feel better about yourself and the world around you…that´s a win-win-win situation if I ever heard of one! ;)

    Kate | November 15th, 2013 | Comment Permalink
  26. Hello, all the time i used to check webpage posts here in the early
    hours in the dawn, for the reason that i like to gain knowledge of more and more.

  27. Weight loss a great factor and it has no easy way. But I believe that Om”ing is really very helpful to reduce weight. But we need to practice this with carefully.

    Kelly Romagnola | April 6th, 2014 | Comment Permalink

Post a Comment

If you want to show your picture with your comment, go get a gravatar!