Does Yoga Help With Weight Loss? 5 Ways Yoga Can Help You Lose Weight

Most people don't practicing yoga to lose weight. Let’s face it: most of us don’t think exercise helps burn fat unless sweat is pouring off our brow and we’re struggling to catch our breath. After all, the mantra of the fitness world seems to be no pain, no gain.

But yoga takes a different focus: heal and balance the whole body, which in turn will promote a healthy body composition. Yoga offers a more holistic approach to weight loss, acknowledging that being overweight is more than the tired calories-in/calories-out equation. So, does yoga help with weight loss? I think the answer is a definite yes.

5 Ways Yoga Can Help You Lose Weight

#1 Yoga is a Fantastic Workout

This is only part of why yoga is so beneficial, but I want to address it first because many people tend to think yoga is just a leisurely session of stretching exercises. Let me tell you, this is not the whole picture. Yoga includes everything from twists to headstands, and while some of the poses are relatively easy, others will challenge your muscles in surprising ways. I was pretty sore after my first yoga session, and I hadn’t even felt as if I’d pushed myself very hard. So yoga is not for sissies or cop-outs who don’t want to do “real” exercise--it’s a serious activity that requires a good dose of discipline.

#2 Yoga Really is For Every Body
Yoga For Every Body (With Over 35 Routines)Yes, many professional yogis have sleek, lean figures that intimidate the rest of us, but that doesn’t mean you have to be skinny to do yoga. You don’t even have to be in shape at all. Yoga is actually perfect for those who are just starting to exercise, because it gently conditions the muscles and teaches important breathing techniques that will help you as your fitness level improves. And for someone who is used to driving themselves with high-intensity workouts, yoga offers an important lesson in challenging your body by slowing down and focusing.

#3 Yoga Aids Cleansing and Detox

While manufacturers would like you to think detoxification is something you can package in pill form and sell for $60 a bottle, there are plenty of ways to improve your body’s natural cleansing abilities without popping pills. Yoga focuses on cleansing and revitalizing the organs, the digestive system, the circulatory system and the lymphatic system. All of these contribute to natural detoxification and cleansing. This is part of why yoga is such an invigorating, restorative exercise. Detox is an important part of losing excess fat weight, and yoga offers a simple, natural and safe way of incorporating detoxification in your everyday life. (Isn't the idea of practicing yoga for weight loss starting to seem like a good idea?)

#4 Yoga Helps You Live in The Moment

A good yoga workout includes more than just rearranging your limbs into a few different poses. You also learn to free yourself from distractions and focus on exactly what you are doing in a given moment. This not only makes your workout more effective, but if you take what you learn on the yoga mat into real life, you may find your eating habits improving. We often give into cravings or overeat when we’re feeling distracted, anxious, deprived or emotional. Yoga encourages mindfulness and self-awareness, which can help you make better food choices for the right reasons.

#5 Yoga Teaches You to Appreciate Your Body

At the peak of my own dieting loop, my entire self-worth revolved around my appearance. I felt better about myself when I was thin, and hated myself when I gained weight. Many times I felt like I was at war with my body, and I regarded it as an enemy I had to outmaneuver and defeat. It was only later that I realized I needed to take care of my body and in turn it would be able to take care of me. The is central in practicing yoga: learn to listen to your body and appreciate what it does for you. Your body is a complicated piece of equipment that performs a myriad of tasks every day to keep you up and running. Give it some love!

Beginning Yoga: Where to Start?

Yoga For Weight Loss for BeginnersWhen starting yoga to lose weight, a yoga class is a great way to begin, since you’ll have someone nearby who can help you learn the poses and make sure you’re doing them properly. However, I’m not much of a class person myself and prefer to learn at home with DVDs. Books are useful, too, but I think videos give you a better idea of how to get into and out of positions. A good yoga DVD will also show plenty of pose adaptions so you can still do the workout even if you’re at a beginner level. And once you've mastered the easier poses, yoga has plenty of room to advance so you can further condition your muscles and tone your body.

The post is part of Real Food Wednesday hosted by Kelly the Kitchen Kop this week!

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