Yoga for weight loss
Top benefits and exercises
Is yoga good for weight loss? Many people agree that it is good to combat stress and anxiety, or that yoga helps to improve health. But when it comes to getting fit, some have doubts that yoga helps to lose weight. However, you can definitely use yoga to become slim and fit. All you need to do is speed up your practice and do yoga exercises for weight loss.
Your yoga routine for weight loss will be different from yoga practice for stress relief. In order to lose weight with yoga you need to make your classes more dynamic, and perhaps more challenging.
If you want to lose weight with yoga, include the following basics in your daily routine.
1. Breathing exercises (pranayamas) for weight loss
You lose weight when the fat in your body burns. If you remember chemistry classes from high school, you know that to make this chemical reaction possible your body needs oxygen. This is why aerobics is known to be so effective for losing weight.
For the same reason, the lack of oxygen may slow down your metabolism. Unfortunately, many people cannot lose weight despite a healthy diet and regular workouts. The reason for that could be shallow breathing which results in low oxygen levels. This in turn slows down your metabolism and holds you from achieving your dream body.
You can top up your oxygen levels by practicing yoga breathing exercises called pranayamas. Not only will they immediately boost your oxygen levels and help your body burn more fat during the practice, but they also have a long-term effect. By practicing pranayamas regularly, you train your body to breathe properly, so your oxygen level always stays high.
2. Dynamic yoga sequences for fat burning
Just like with aerobic exercises, in order to burn calories, you need to move fast. This is especially important at the beginning of the practice. With a fast-paced sequence, you warm up your body and prepare it for power-building poses and stretching.
The most famous sequence in yoga is Sun Salutation or Surya Namaskar. This sequence consists of folds, launches, planks, and push-ups, so it tones your entire body. It is very popular among yoga practitioners. In fact, most yoga teachers all over the world start their classes with this sequence. However there are many variations of this complex, so don’t be surprised if you come across different versions of it in different schools.
Many professional instructors create their own sequences. This approach is especially popular in vinyasa yoga where you learn how to perform poses first and then bring them together in a harmonic flow. In this case, asanas are usually connected with a vinyasa - a set of moves, including chaturanga (low push-up), downward-facing dog, and upward facing dog. If you want to lose weight with yoga, perform these sequences at a faster speed.
3. Power yoga poses for weight loss
Power yoga exercises help you to build strength and make your body looking fit and toned. By building muscles you boost your metabolism. Your body needs a lot of energy to maintain muscles. So when your body is toned, you can safely eat more calories.
Power yoga is a modern umbrella term to name yoga practices that focus less on chanting and relaxation and more on getting fit. A lot of power yoga classes are rooted in traditional Ashtanga yoga but offer more variations and flexibility.
Compared to regular yoga classes, power yoga is more intense. It aims to build internal heat and increase your stamina. Power yoga poses include planks, standing strong poses, squats, and launches. Hold them longer to increase the heartbeat and burn more calories.
4. Stretching for shaping a beautiful body
Yoga helps to create a beautiful body through stretching. Of course, stretching alone doesn’t have immediate benefits for weight loss, but it is important to include this in your wellness routine.
First of all, as you start working out your muscles will get tighter. Tight muscles, especially in the chest, upper and lower back, and hips can cause poor posture. Adding some flexibility poses to your practice will make you more gracious.
Stretching will decrease muscle soreness. After all the planks and standing strong asanas, you may be very sore the next day. But flexing your muscles at the end of your practice will ensure, you feel good the next morning. This way you don’t have to interrupt your yoga routine waiting for your muscles to heal.
Stretching will also help you advance in your practice. Many yoga poses require flexibility. You simply will not be able to perform them without reaching a certain level. You will reach the results faster if you devote 10-15 minutes at the end of your practice to stretching your muscles.
5. Savasana for mindful behavior and healthy habits
This may seem hard to believe that laying down and relaxing can help you lose weight. But it becomes obvious if you consider the main reasons for weight gain, such as stress, anxiety, lack of sleep, and depression.
Stress is very harmful to you on all levels. This has very bad effects on your mental health and your social life. It can cause heart diseases, high blood pressure, and chronic pains. And it negatively affects your everyday habits.
Stressed and depressed people naturally suffer from a lack of motivation. They are more likely to fall victim to aggressive marketing of unhealthy foods. They often find themselves overeating and drinking way too much alcohol. They are generally more passive, so they don’t move or exercise much. No wonder, when we are stressed we immediately start gaining extra kilos.
Stress may also trigger weight gain as a result of the evolution. Our ancestors did not have so much food available 24/7. The main reasons for them to stress out were hunger and danger. The time has changed. Now, for most people stress is not connected with hunger. But due to genetic memory, our body reacts in the same way as it would thousands of years ago. It turns on energy-saving mode and starts storing energy for the future. So all those unwanted extra kilos are an emergency ration. It could be very useful thousands of years ago, but now not so much.
The entire yoga practice is very effective at alleviating stress and anxiety symptoms. But to reach better results it is recommended to combine yoga with meditation and relaxation.
Savasana helps to combat stress and stay mindful throughout the day. It teaches you to consciously relax, which is invaluable for stress management. The corps pose also helps you to reconnect with your body and be at peace with yourself. This means you will make more mindful choices when facing all kinds of temptations. If practicing regularly you will more and more find yourself choosing a fruit platter over a strawberry cheesecake, or going to bed early over watching another TV show series. Effortlessly.
Yoga for weight loss has a lot more benefits compared with traditional gym classes. On top of burning calories and strengthening muscles, you can also improve your posture, fix your breathing habits and alleviate stress.