It is well known that meditation can help with weight loss. However, you can also use meditation for weight gain. It all depends on the type of meditation you do.
Research has shown that meditation can both increase and decrease metabolic rate. The metabolic rate is the rate at which the body burns calories. It can be affected by body size and composition, gender, your, and energy needs based on how active a lifestyle an individual lives.
The metabolic rate has long been associated with weight because the more calories you burn the quicker you lose weight.
There are many weighs to influence the metabolism. Mayo Clinic says, “You can control how many calories you burn through your level of physical activity. The more active you are, the more calories you burn… some people with fast metabolism are probably just more active, and maybe fidget more.”
Meditation and mindfulness, which are both practices centred around focusing the mind, can either increase or decrease your metabolic rate. Speaking to WebMD, Herbert Benson, MD [founder, Mind/Body Institute at Harvard Medical School’s Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center] has stated that because meditation stimulates the relaxation response it “helps decrease metabolism, lowers blood pressure, and improves heart rate, breathing, and brain waves.”
MRI brain scans have revealed that meditation can increase activity in areas that metabolism and heart rate. This research was based largely on Buddhist meditation techniques, the majority of which involve sitting still.
Generally speaking, when we relax the metabolic rate goes down, especially if we are inactive at the same time. This is how meditation can help with weight gain. It induces the relaxation response, which decreases metabolism, so we put on weight (assuming the rest of our lifestyle remains the same).
However, this is not true of some meditation techniques. Indeed, certain types of meditation can cause us to lose weight because they actually increase metabolism. Of course, this is the case with active meditations like yoga, tai chi and qigong. But it also true of some stationary types of meditation.
Research published by the National Institute of Health has shown that the deep meditation techniques used in yoga can lead to increased relaxation, reduced oxygen consumption, and reduces metabolic rate . A study published by the National Institute of Yoga shows that “long-term practice of yoga [and yogic meditations] leads to lower metabolic rates and probably greater metabolic efficiency mainly due to reduced sympathetic activity and / or stabilized nervous system.”
Essentially: The best meditations for weight gain are ones that lead to long-lasting relaxation.
Any long-lasting relaxing meditation method will help with weight gain.
However, this is largely besides the point.
We don’t meditate in order to influence metabolism. We meditate to gain control of the mind and, thereby, of our actions. So, while you can lower metabolism with meditation to gain weight, it is better to focus on the other aspects of meditation.
Meditation increases our conscious awareness, so we are more able to do the things we need to do in order to be healthy. That’s true whether you’re trying to gain weight or lose it.
Meditation empowers us to take control of our live by changing our thoughts and feelings. This is precisely why meditation helps with eating disorders.
In a study published on the International Journal of Eating Disorders, Margarita Sala et. al. revealed that mindfulness leads to a decrease in eating disorders because it reduces the impact of harmful thinking habits around food. This study was not focus on weight gain. However, the truths it highlighted are highly related. Both weight loss and weight gain are often based around our thoughts. For instance, consider anorexia, of which HealthDirect.Gov states, “People with anorexia nervosa have an irrational fear of gaining weight.” It is the fear (the emotion and thoughts) that cause the problem. Meditation gives us the power to control those thoughts and feelings, and thereby to overcome the psychological problem what causes abnormal weight.
As you can see, there are two ways in which meditation helps with weight gain. It can help to reduce metabolic rate, which will naturally increase weight gain. And it helps us to control the thoughts and feelings that cause eating disorders.
The best meditations for weight gain, therefore, are ones that are highly relaxing and thereby stimulate the relaxation response to decrease metabolism, and ones that increase awareness of thoughts and feelings. Some example of such meditations include: mindfulness, Zen, Anapanasati, and most Buddhist meditation techniques.