You hear it all the time in the news, this celebrity or some other famous person claims to have lost weight with yoga, but can yoga really help you lose weight? The answer is yes and there are a couple of ways how.
Practicing any type of yoga will build strength and flexibility. Just by adding any form of extra activity into your routine you will burn more calories and move in the direction of your optimal body weight. If you plan to use yoga as your primary or only source of exercise, then certain forms of yoga will help more than others. To lose weight you need to eat healthfully and raise your heart rate so that you are burning calories aerobically at least 3 times a week for 90 minutes each time.
The type of yoga that will allow you to work out in such a manner is vinyasa flow yoga, sometimes called power yoga, or simply flow. Ashtanga yoga and Bikram hot yoga are other options for efficiently burning calories. In vinyasa flow or power yoga, you move through a series of sun salutations linking one posture to the next with each breath. The pace and difficulty differ based on the level of the class and the instructor. Often this form of yoga is done in a heated room but not always. Ashtanga is also based on a series of postures, many of which build one onto the other. Many of the postures are difficult to master but once you can do them correctly, you can develop a home practice which is always useful. Bikram yoga has the benefit of a very heated room (105 degrees plus humidity) certainly you will be sweating off the pounds.
In addition to the physical aspects of yoga, a mind body connection develops through a regular yoga practice that can help you lose weight. When you practice yoga regularly, you develop an awareness of your thoughts, emotions, habits and patterns. Through this, you can determine precisely what needs to be done, really done, for you to lose weight. You can become a witness to your thoughts about food, what drives you to eat when you do. It is then possible to alter your eating in a healthy way. You are more conscious and have the mind set to respect your body and make changes.
Through yoga, you also reduce stress and anxiety in your life and improve sleep. Stress and anxiety usually lead to eating more and eating more non nutritious foods. Deep breathing associated with yoga allows you to bring more oxygenated blood into the body which increases metabolism and helps the body process nutrients efficiently and burn more fat cells.
The best results come from a regular practice that combines all aspect of yoga, connecting to oneself through awareness, breath work and stress reduction, and the added boost from a vigorous asana practice.
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