You see fit people running, using the elliptical and sweating to lose weight. This might not look very appealing to you. You don’t necessarily need to focus on aerobic exercise alone, though. Doing the downward dog may help you lose weight too, as long as you’re watching your caloric intake and at least doing a small amount of walking or other aerobic exercise
How Yoga Contributes to Weight Loss
Yoga gets a bad rep for solely increasing flexibility, but yoga does burn calories. Not to mention, it has the ability to build muscle, which when a person builds muscle, they’re oftentimes losing fat in the process.
Many theories exist as to why weight loss occurs when you do yoga routinely. One theory is yoga consists of mindfulness, which eventually makes a person want to live better. That means, as you partake in yoga, you become more aware of yourself and your lifestyle. As you become more involved in this type of physical activity, you want to do more to change your lifestyle, which oftentimes entails your diet. It doesn’t hurt that you reduce stress when you exercise. Reducing stress may take away one of the triggers of your negative eating habits. Stress eating is very common and contribute to obesity statistics. Plus, you’re burning calories, even though you aren’t burning nearly as much as if you were doing cardio. However, you’re not working your body as hard, making it the ideal exercise for those who aren’t physically fit. It’s low impact, so even those with arthritis and other conditions that hinder one’s physical capabilities may participate. The exercises may be altered to your skill level.
Yoga as Transitional Exercise
We should coin the term “transitional exercise.” It’s the ideal way for someone who’s out of shape or overweight to begin exercising without getting out of breath or feeling overexert quickly. You have the ability to work at your pace and gradually increase to more complex positions. Eventually, as you progress, you’ll be able to utilize the flexibility and endurance you gained from yoga and move on to other exercises. Additionally, you can try other types of yoga that are more intense to increase the benefits. It’s truly an exercise that works for almost anyone because it’s low-impact. You don’t have to be the most physically fit, and you’re able to do it in your own home.
Which Yoga is Best for Weight Loss?
Any type of yoga is beneficial for weight loss since each variety tones muscles and can act as a stepping stone to more intense forms of exercise. However, some varieties are more geared toward weight loss because they burn more calories.
Bikram yoga detoxifies the body because a person sweats from the intense heat. The movements are intense as well. When combined with the element of heat, your body is getting quite a workout. Time magazine suggests that those who lead more sedimentary lives and do Bikram notice a more significant amount of weight loss when compared to those who are in shape and do Bikram yoga. The number of calories burned during Bikram is similar to brisk walking for the same amount of time. This type of yoga causes a person’s heart rate to climb significantly.
Other yoga types that provide the most amount of calorie burning are the ones that require continuous movement such as Vinyasa. It consists of challenging sequences, and people must oftentimes do yoga push ups throughout the class. Ashtanga yoga focuses on the core muscles, which is allows to build and tone the muscles.
What’s Power Yoga?
Power yoga is a form of Vinyasa yoga that consists of continuous movements and is commonly associated with Ashtanga. It’s much more intense than traditional forms of yoga, which enhances the number of calories burned per session. Rather than do the same poses in the same order, power yoga allows the instructor to make variations on the sequences to create a unique routine each time.
Tips to Enhance Your Yoga Session
The most important tip to enhance the benefits of yoga is to realize it isn’t enough on its own to provide a significant amount of weight loss. You must also watch what you eat. It’s important to select a diet that you’ll stick to that isn’t a fad. It’s possible to discuss with your doctor the best diet solution for you. Yoga must be more than just an exercise; the mindfulness of it should be used to make lifestyle changes.
When you’re performing yoga, it’s important to focus on the ab muscles. You need to make sure you’re doing each pose correctly, or you won’t receive all of the benefits, which can impact weight loss. Although you should never push yourself passed your limits, continuously increasing the difficulty allows you to continually tone muscles and even burn additional calories. The ideal yoga workouts last between 60 to 90 minutes when you’re attempting to utilize yoga for weight loss.
Written By: Christine DiMaria, a health and wellness writer and medical journalist. She has contributed to sites such as Angie’s List, Colgate, LIVESTRONG and Healthline.