Does Yoga Help With Weight Loss?
If you live in Vancouver, I am sure that yoga has creeped into your life at least a little bit. There is no doubt that you pass at least one yoga studio or another on a regular basis. Or, at the very least, you’ve seen people wandering around the city and running errands dressed in yoga attire.
Since you are probably influenced by the idea of yoga whether you like it or not, perhaps you’ve wondered if yoga really keeps people in good shape. Maybe you’ve asked yourself, “Does yoga help you lose weight?”
The answer, like yoga, has a few different paths. Yoga and weight loss don’t quite go hand in hand like, say, daily gym workouts and weight loss. You might have an image in your head of a yogi (someone who practices yoga) in one of the more recognizable positions like downward facing dog or upward facing dog and have thought, “that doesn’t look that hard — how can that make me lose weight?”
Watch What You Eat
Simply put, weight loss occurs when you consume less calories that you burn in a day, plain and simple. But there are other factors involved, too. It also depends on things like your metabolism, or how efficiently your body breaks down the food you consume. What does this have to do with yoga? you’re wondering. We’re getting there.
One thing that yoga provides that most other forms of exercise don’t is practice in mindfulness. What that means is that while there are physical movements in a yoga practice, there is also a lot of focus on breathing and sometimes meditation. In return, many yogis start to turn that work toward other parts of their lives, which can eventually result in weight loss.
You see, most (not all) yoga classes don’t burn as many calories as some forms of exercise like jogging or other cardio activities. However, the habits learned in yoga can lead to healthier habits outside of class. Things like a healthier approach to diet, for example, or paying more attention to what your body needs rather than what it wants (veggies vs. potato chips).
Another way that yoga can help with weight loss by helping the mind is that it provides people with a tool for dealing with stress. Many people eat when they are feeling stressed, so yoga can help combat that unhealthy habit, as well, again leading to eventual weight loss.
Yoga Burns Calories
If that’s not enough for you and you are intent on burning calories, yoga still might be a good form of exercise for you. That’s because there are so many different styles of yoga to choose from. Some styles of yoga are quite slow and focus on stretching and breath work as mentioned — Hatha and Yin come to mind. However, there are other styles that have been adapted for and adopted by the western world.
For example, you can bet the house that five thousand years ago, there was no such style as Power Yoga. Today it is a very popular option. In these classes, the focus is more on increasing the heart rate, working up a sweat and burning calories. Another style that is more traditional but that has taken on the North American ideas of weight loss is Hot Yoga. These classes have their basis in a traditional style but take place in a room where the temperature is cranked up and you are sure to sweat like crazy.
Even with the more traditional styles where the caloric burn is slightly less, yoga still has great benefits in addition to mindfulness. It is excellent for maintaining a well rounded physique. Dedicated yogis will convince you that has great benefits in keeping the body flexible, increasing metabolism, maintaining bone strength and making muscles long and lean.
Yoga Practice For Weight Loss Takes Time
So while yoga might not have the immediate weight loss benefits of an extreme gym regiment, it focuses more on the long game. By developing mindfulness that lead to healthy habits, a person has a better chance of shedding weight and keeping it off, even if (and when) the physical practice falters.
If you are considering beginning a yoga practice for weight loss or any other reason, we understand that it can be an intimidating leap. Let us help you. Our wonderful staff at Naked Truth Yoga is here to guide yogis on their way to becoming the best they can possibly be.