Yoga and Ketogenic Diet: Benefits, Considerations, and Tips for Best Combinations

If you have started your keto journey and you are also practicing yoga, there are good chances that you have already experienced some health benefits—maybe you didn’t even realize that the reason behind them lies in this powerful combination of lifestyles. Our minds and body are more interconnected than we usually realize. Still, the benefits of practicing yoga while also following a keto diet are likely to make this connection more apparent.

Yoga and the ketogenic diet can be a perfect combination. The keto diet reduces digestive issues and inflammation while boosting your energy – all of which improves your yoga practice. Yoga helps you lose weight, enhance motivation, and build strength – what you need to achieve your physique goals.

If you are thinking about trialing this combination, there is a lot more you should know about it. Read on!

The Ketogenic Diet: How It Works

The ketogenic diet is a revolutionary lifestyle embraced by an increasing number of individuals across the world. Simply, it consists of at least 70% of the necessary calorie intake derived from fat, 10% from carbs, and 20% from protein. So, it is a low carb, medium protein, high-fat diet.

Among the principal ingredients you will eat when on a keto diet, you can find eggs, cheese, butter, nuts, salmon, olive oil, and bacon. Vegetables are restricted, but some exceptions that are allowed in the keto diet include broccoli, greens, spinaches, and cauliflower.

The main goal of following this diet is to give your body a chance to enter ketosis. Once it has done so and it is fat-adapted, you will start seeing a rapid decrease in weight, higher energy levels, and enhanced ability to focus for longer.

The keto diet is appreciated for the incredible results it delivers, but it needs to be coupled up with regular exercise if you wish to see the results you had envisioned.

What Is Ketosis?

So, after following the keto diet for a few days or a few weeks, your body will start to adapt to the lack of carbs. This will cause the metabolic process our bodies use to ketosis. Ketosis is the metabolic process the body uses to draw energy from fat rather than from carbs.

Through the ketosis process, the fats ingested are transformed into ketones, which are then used by our bodies as the main source of energy for all functions. When your body has entered ketosis, you will likely experience higher levels or long-lasting energy and better mental clarity.

Additionally, ketosis will trigger a feeling of fullness that will last for longer. If you plan to experiment with intermittent fasting, this is likely to help you achieve the results needed.

The Drawbacks of Following a Ketogenic Diet

The keto diet, just like several other lifestyles and diets around today, has a few drawbacks that you should consider before starting. These usually last as long as your body needs to adapt to fats and carbs’ different intake. However, they might be influential factors that can influence your level of motivation while following this diet.

Some of the most common keto short-term side effects of the keto diet include:

  • Confusion, anxiety, irritability
  • Tachycardia
  • Excessive thirst
  • Frequent urination
  • Fatigue
  • Hunger
  • Lightheadedness and shakiness
  • Sweating and chills

Additionally, the keto diet might cause a temporary condition commonly called “keto flu.” The keto flu is a group of symptoms that tend to become more visible before your body adapts to the new diet. These include nausea, constipation, fatigue, sugar cravings, and headaches.

Yoga and the Ketogenic Diet: The Perfect Match

Practicing yoga while following a keto diet can be the best strategy to enhance both lifestyles. Indeed, yoga can yield unique benefits to your body and mind, and the keto diet can make you feel more energized and ready to face the hardest yoga postures.

Yoga can also be one of the best ways to keep up with your exercise routine, and improve your keto diet results, maximizing its benefits on your health.

Both yoga and the keto diet need to be followed religiously if you wish to see the envisioned results. Indeed, yoga is all about being on a journey towards the postures and mind frames you wish to achieve one day.

Similarly, the keto diet would not be effective if you cheat or drop out of it after a handful of days. In both cases, to see results, you will need to stick to your new lifestyle for a long time!

Below, you can find all the benefits of practicing yoga while following the keto diet. However, if you are short on time, and you need to find out more about the best type of training to take on while following a keto diet, watch the video below:

How Yoga Helps the Ketogenic Diet

When starting your ketogenic diet, you will likely experience a drastic drop in energy levels and motivation. This is only normal! Indeed, it is just your body trying to adapt to the new form of energy – ketones.

However, now that you know that there is nothing to worry about, you should not consider this as an excuse to avoid exercising. Indeed, the low energy levels and fatigue are likely to last between a few days and a few weeks. Missing out on your workout during this period can set you back months!

Instead, this unique time will give you the chance to try something new that you would not have thought to like before – yoga. A regular yoga practice can be extremely helpful to help you lose weight, enhance the results of your ketogenic diet, and start building more muscles.

However, unlike most other sports and activities, yoga does not require you to jump or run around, which makes it so suitable for those experiencing the keto flu and low energy levels. The side mental and psychological benefits of yoga should also not be overlooked. Here are the benefits of yoga you should know about.

It Can Help You Lose Weight

Today, obesity is one of the conditions that represent a major threat to adults’ and kids’ health. The CDC reports that 42.4% of adults in the US in 2017-2018 were obese. This medical condition has led to an increased cost of medical care and solutions.

Instead, yoga proposes an alternative way to fight obesity, starting from strengthening the mind. The yogic management obesity strategy explains that thanks to a balanced diet, certain yoga postures, breathing techniques, individuals can learn how to control your body and mind.

When combined with the powerful keto diet, yoga can yield incredible health benefits that are always worth considering. However, the choice of your sport or activity to follow while on a keto diet should also fall on yoga for another reason – it won’t require you to run, jump, or lift weights.

So, you can continue training even during those moments of your keto diet, where you will feel sluggish because of the keto flu.

It Can Improve Your Sleep

One of the aspects we all tend to overlook when attempting to lose weight is the number of hours we have slept. Studies have found that individuals on a diet who cut back on sleep in a 14-day period were losing half as much fat they could have gotten rid of thanks to good sleep.

There are several reasons for this. Firstly, a lack of sleep leads to a change in your habits. Indeed, when you are sleepy or tired, you are likely to sleep in a little longer, order an often sugary coffee, skip the gym, order a takeaway (probably because you are too tired for cooking), and then go to sleep later.

This habit change is likely to lead to a much unhealthier lifestyle that will cause you to be less active and, potentially, eat more.

Additionally, a lack of sleep will severely impact your metabolism. Firstly, sleep deprivation will lead to stress, which will trigger the production of cortisol. This is a stress hormone that has the duty to signal to your body to store more fat.

Now that you have a better idea about why it is so important to sleep an adequate amount of time, you will also understand the importance of yoga in this equation.

As mentioned by the SleepFoundation, individuals who suffer from sleep disorders such as insomnia might benefit from a steady yoga practice. Indeed, performing poses such as the Corpse Pose at nighttime might help you fall asleep quicker and find more restful sleep.

It Can Reduce Stress

When you are stressed, your body produces high cortisol levels, a stress hormone that will tell your brain to store more fat. So, you will find it difficult to start losing as much weight as you expected when you are stressed.

Additionally, the same hormone will cause you to feel hungrier and crave unhealthy, sugary foods and drinks.

Since the 1970s, several ancient practices such as meditation have been studied for the positive effects they could have on the mind. Scientists in that period wanted to know whether these practices could help with anxiety and depression.

While yoga was left behind at first, it has become increasingly popular in the past decades. This is because this practice’s effects have shown to have the mental wellbeing and body of participants are unparalleled.

With the spread of stress-related disorders, the number of medicines and medical treatments on the market has also multiplied. And, with it, the need to find a more natural alternative. One of these is yoga.

Yoga is considered a natural anxiety relief, and it can relieve the effects of an exaggerated stress response.

It Might Build Strength, Range of Motion, and Balance

Aside from the huge benefits that this practice can yield on yogis and participants, it can also have significant effects related to the body’s wellbeing. Indeed, yoga can help you build muscle strength, extend your range of motion, and improve your balance.

If you have embraced the keto diet because you wish to improve your appearance, you might consider taking up yoga to define your muscle and shred off the extra weight. While you might decide to join mild or relaxing classes at first, yoga classes can become very intense and allow you to burn as many calories as you need to!

How Does the Ketogenic Diet Enhance Your Practice

As well as the benefits that the yoga practice produces on the keto diet, you should also consider those benefits produced by the keto diet on your yoga practice – if you have already been practicing. Indeed, if you are stuck in your practice and you wish to see new results soon, you should consider switching to a keto diet.

It Supplies Long-Lasting Energy

On a high-carb diet, you are likely to feel full and sluggish after a meal, just to feel empty as soon as the digestion system is coming to an end. However, you might need to work or complete important tasks during this time. So, having with you a snack or fruit can help you.

However, in this way, you are bound to spend half of your day full and sluggish, and the other half hungry.

Instead, one of the main benefits of embracing the keto diet is that you can count on sustained energy. This process allows you to remain focused throughout the day and complete your daily tasks without the need or additional snacks or unhealthy foods.

This characteristic is especially convenient if you are planning to join your yoga classes later after work or in the middle of the afternoon. Indeed, the ketones stored will help you feel more energized and strong. So, you can finally attempt to perform those poses you did not have the string for until today.

It Can Reduce Inflammation

Inflammation is something that we all suffer from, to an extent or another. Generally, inflammation is the response that our immune system generates when entering in contact with an irritant such as a germ or foreign body.

Inflammation can considerably get in the way of your practice if it is not properly looked after. And, if you are not too happy about investing in medical treatments to reduce the effects of inflammation, then following a keto diet and practicing yoga can help you.

It Can Improve Heart Health

Both yoga and the keto diet can be extremely beneficial for your health. The first do so through nutrition and high-quality foods and ingredients. Instead, yoga might be a suitable choice because, through deep breathing techniques, you can send fresh blood and oxygen around your body.

Additionally, the practice can be an excellent way to increase your heart rate and restore your cardiovascular system’s functioning.

It Can Resolve Digestive Issues

The ketogenic diet has been seen to be extremely helpful in treating certain digestive issues that might commonly affect individuals. Whether this is intolerances, diarrhea, or just nausea, you can leverage this diet to find a long-lasting solution to your condition.

This factor can help you enjoy your yoga practice without pain or discomfort.

Meditation and the Ketogenic Diet

If you have wanted to see certain results from your keto diet, but they are a little late, don’t despair. Indeed, the diet works differently for any individual. This might depend on the quality of your digestive system or the quality of the ingredients used. Naturally, double-checking that you are using all suitable ingredients can be a starting point if you are unsure why you are not losing weight as expected.

However, dieters should also keep in mind that if their stress level is particularly high, they might struggle to lose weight anyway. Indeed, as we have seen above, your body will release cortisol, which will tell your brain to store more fat away.

So, now you can see how important properly managing stress for weight loss can be. And, if you have not been able to manage stress correctly, you might consider introducing some mindful meditation practice into your life.

Practicing meditation has been seen to be an effective way to keep stress and anxiety at bay and even change the brain structure of patients affected by depression. Introducing a meditation session in your routine is something that you can do extremely easily, especially as you can do it for as long as you want, anywhere.

Everything you will need to start practicing is a comfortable mat where you can sit undisturbed. And, of course, if you wish to leverage one of the many videos on YouTube, or subscribe to an application that can help you find the guidance you need, you can do so.

However, generally, introducing regular meditation practices in your routine is the best way to implement your yoga practice and become more self-aware and confident. Indeed, practices such as meditation and yoga can help you gain better control over your own mind.

Breathing Exercises and the Ketogenic Diet

When we think about breathing, we don’t often realize how important the way we breathe actually is. However, as you start to practice yoga, you will discover that Pranayama (or the practice of breath control) is one of the most important aspects of yogis and non.

During these sessions, you will learn different Pranayama techniques, such as alternate-nostril breathing. Each of the different practices aims to help you understand your practice better and set the day’s mood.

Indeed, some of the breathing techniques are exercising, while others are cooling or relaxing. In any case, once you have learned these techniques, you can experience benefits such as:

  • Lower stress levels in your body
  • Lower heart rate
  • Lower blood pressure
  • Relieving the symptoms of depression, stress, and anxiety
  • Improved diabetic symptoms.
  • Relieving chronic pain

However, among the most important benefits of this practice is the fact that you can start changing and improving your body’s response to stress and fatigue. Alternatively, if you have been working extremely hard, you might try such techniques to prevent burnout and improve your mood.

Just like in the case of meditation, everything you will need to try these breathing exercises is a comfortable seat and some time.

Take a look at our article about Pranayama if you want to dig deeper into the subject.

Yogis on a Vegetarian Keto Diet: What You Need to Know

It is worth considering that yogis are generally vegetarian. This is because they embrace the practice of Ahimsa or the no-harm principle. So, because of their compassionate choice, these yogis will not eat meat or fish.

While this principle is not mandatory, it is worth getting to know it. If a yogi follows this principle but would still like to try the keto diet’s benefits, some resources can help you implement a plant-based keto diet.

However, it is recommendable for stricter versions of such a diet to get in touch with an expert nutritionist. These professionals will be able to explain to you the difference between a well-crafted diet and a medium-quality DIY nutritional regime. Don’t forget that the food we eat greatly impacts our wellbeing. So, picking a high-quality nutritionist who can help you in the choice is paramount.

Best Yoga Practices to Combine With Keto

If you have not started your yoga journey yet, but are impressed with this practice’s benefits and you would like to bring it into your routine in the next few weeks, it is worth checking what classes are available in your area. However, for a more general indication, you can find the common yoga types below.

Anusara

Anusara – which literally means “go with the flow” – is an invention of John Fried, who conceptualized it in 1997. While some more ancient types of yoga practices are older and dating back to over 5,000 years ago, this particular one can be considered recently modern. Unlike those older versions, Anusara yoga is characterized by less rigid and suitable poses for beginners.

Ashtanga

Ashtanga is one yoga practice dedicated to those yogis who are more expert or advanced. Indeed, it is often a more intense and vigorous yoga style that will require you to have more refined yoga abilities to feel comfortable in a class.

The term Ashtanga means “eight branches” or “eight limbs,” and this practice aims at building on standard yoga practices. The result is a class can help you build strength and tone your muscles.

Bikram

Bikram – or Hot Yoga – is a type of yoga practiced in a studio in which temperatures reach over 100℉ or 37.7℃. If you have been struggling with your joints or ligaments, this yoga type is ideal for getting them to warm up. However, generally, these classes are reserved for more advanced yogis.

Dru

Dru is not among the best-known yoga types, but it is one of the most gracious ones. Indeed, if you see participants from the outside, it will almost look like a dance performed by the yogis. Since this type of practice does not precisely focus on each posture’s look, but rather encourages a free movement or ecstatic dance, it is a suitable option for beginners.

Hatha

Hatha yoga is one of the classic forms of yoga, and it is practiced in almost every studio. It focuses on the three main pillars of yoga practice: breathing, meditation, and postures. As this is one of the most practiced yoga versions in the US, it can be an extremely convenient starting point to learn all the basics of yoga in a fun environment.

Yin

Yin yoga is one of the softest, yet efficient yoga practices out there. You are likely to notice yin yoga classes in most studios, but they often happen at sunset. This practice mainly focuses on low-impact or seated postures. Since it can be extremely gentle, this practice is suitable for those individuals who are just recovering from an injury.

If you are joining a yin yoga class, you can expect meditation and stretching practices. However, if you have picked your class to be in a beautiful location, you will also be able to enjoy the sunset.

Vinyasa

Vinyasa is sometimes referred to as “power yoga” or “fitness yoga.” It has excellent workout potentials and can help you look after your cardiovascular system like no other yoga practice. Usually, participants in these classes are more experienced than beginners because the class can get intense.

However, it all depends on your level of fitness, as some classes might be found for your level of training but not for your knowledge of yoga. In any case, it is always worth trying a new class.

Conclusion

If you have been following the keto diet and you are now trying to find a sport or activity that can help you achieve your physique goals a little faster, you should consider yoga classes. This discipline can help you strengthen your muscles, improve your mindset, and enhance your flexibility and range of movement.

Additionally, one yoga class can help you burn calories and contribute towards the beneficial effects delivered by the keto diet. On the other hand, you can’t count on high energy levels during your first days on a keto diet. In this case, yoga can help you keep up with your fitness goals.

Sources

Sita

Mother of three and Yogi of 20+ years and 200 Hour Certified Yoga Teacher. I am also a Certified Thai massage therapist and I have taught Gymnastics for more than 10 years. In the last couple of years, I've been a big promotor of intermittent fasting.

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