Practicing yoga for weight loss is possible!
Weight loss is complex. On a very basic level, the objective is that you must consume fewer calories than you burn. People turn to yoga for many reasons, but for some, it’s the only workout they need. There are certain types to look out for if weight loss is your goal, but know that yoga is so much more than a physical regimen. Yes, it increases strength, balance and flexibility, but it also helps you connect on a deeper level with yourself, encourages patience, possibility and perspective. And that’s not even the half of it.
Generally, types of yoga that are best for weight loss are the more kinetic and active types of yoga as they will burn more calories. Here are three different types, plus more insight on how yoga can help transform you in more ways than just physically.
The Big Three: Ashtanga, Bikram, and Vinyasa
Choosing among the active types of yoga styles will promote your weight-loss goals. Active yoga includes more movement, more difficult poses and a focus on strength and cardiovascular fitness.
Vinyasa features uninterrupted movements from one pose to the next, with low pushups or chaturanga between other challenging sequences. It is important to look for the Vinyasa classes that have “power” or “core” in it, as some may focus on a cool flow or stretching. The beauty behind Vinyasa is that they offer plenty of variety, so the key is finding the right instructor that offers challenging classes.
Ashtanga, on the other hand, is more militant, and uses strength training with arm balances and core strengthening movements. If you are looking for something more routine, Ashtanga may be the route for you. It does place emphasis on the purpose of each movement, with history, meditation and focus as its centerfold.
Bikram (or hot yoga variations) uses 26 preset poses done in rooms with temperatures exceeding 100 degrees—you will sweat in this class, and the heat allows you to stretch to your muscles limits. It’s important to drink plenty of water, especially in these classes!
Optimize Your Yoga Routine
It may be best to sign up for yoga classes that ask you to engage in periods of prolonged, (60 to 90 minutes) intense movement so that your muscles can develop strength, contract, breakdown and grow. Doing your high-intensity yoga routines three-to-five times each week will help you to create a healthy habit that in time will contribute to your weight loss in the aggregate. Yoga activities will help you to burn calories, but they will also help to build lean muscle that will sculpt your body over time.
Better Body Awareness
Yoga classes integrate mind-body awareness that can support weight loss and positive body image—the idea is not to fix something that’s wrong with you, it’s to work continually to enhance yourself, which will spill over into other aspects of your life such as your relationships, your job and how you see the world. In yoga classes, you’ll be asked to be mindful of your breathing and general sensations. You may learn to eat more slowly, to savor each bite, and stop when you become full to avoid overeating. If yoga classes help you to feel more at peace and less stressed, you may be less inclined to eat or drink when you feel anxious. In time, you are likely to find that this type of benefit is the most valuable as better body awareness, and better self-awareness overall will condition you to be more attracted to making healthy choices naturally- rather than always trying to force yourself to stick to a healthy regimen of diet and exercise.
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