The debate over whether yoga is an activity that can help weight loss continues to this day. There are many who believe that because yoga does not have the same intensity to induce the massively increased heartbeat, nor pump out the same levels of sweat as the likes of jogging, lifting weights or playing tennis.
While it may be true that going on a 10-mile run, bench pressing 300 lbs., and playing 3 sets of tennis with the club pro, will all burn massive amounts of calories, it does not mean that yoga doesn’t have its place in any weight loss program.
The Principles of Weight Loss
The main reason anyone gains weight is the amount of energy they are storing up is greater than the amount of energy they expend. This energy comes in the form of the calories that the food and liquids we ingest contain. Any energy we do not use is stored in the form of fat, and when we are not using up that stored energy, our fat levels increase to where we become overweight.
There are two ways to promote weight loss, and they are eating fewer calories and doing activities that will burn them. Ideally, you should be following both paths. As this is not an article about diets, we won’t go into them, except to suggest that you do some research into healthy eating and lower calorie foods.
As for the second aspect, this is where an activity like yoga can play a huge part in weight loss, as it helps you burn calories. Some forms of yoga are more applicable to burn calories than others, which is why we recommend you follow a program which is specifically designed to burn calories.
Zoe Bray-Cotton’s Yoga Burn Challenge is one of those programs, which you can follow at home via downloadable videos or DVDs. That way you can see and hear exactly what you should be doing for each workout and thus maximize the opportunity to burn calories on every session you do.
How Yoga Helps Weight Loss
We know now that burning calories leads to weight loss, so let’s see how yoga does this. While there are many types of yoga, they are all based on the participant following a series of poses or workouts, as they are often termed. Almost all of these poses require a degree of movement, with some being more difficult than others.
In each yoga session the poses you hold will be burning calories, and the great thing about yoga is that because it requires you to maneuver multiple parts of your body, the fat loss will happen across your entire body. This happens because during a session it is likely that the different yoga poses you perform will involve moving every part of your body at least once.
If you do yoga regularly, perhaps two or three 30-minute sessions per week, this can provide the foundation for you being able to burn calories on a consistent basis. It may not be the massive calorie burn of some activities, but this routine is not impacting on your joints and less prone to tearing any muscles. With yoga, you burn the calories consistently and regularly, which is the ideal way in which to lose weight, rather than trying a crash diet, for example.
Yoga Helping You With Other Physical Activities
Another huge benefit of doing yoga is that it can enhance your ability to tackle other physical activities, exercise and sports. If you think about the physical benefits of yoga, each one of them can help bring your body to a level where other activities are easier, more enjoyable and done more regularly, which further adds to your calorie burning program.
Yoga’s physical benefits include increased muscle strength, muscle tone, and flexibility. There can also be improvements in your cardiovascular health, as well as a healthier raspatory system too. Add to these the greater sense of vitality that all of these physical benefits will undoubtedly provoke, then your levels of physical activity must surely rise.
Yoga’s Mental Health Benefits
Often weight loss relies as much on your mind as it does on what you are doing with your physical body. The fact is that no one ever lost weight without having the mental strength and motivation to see it through to their weight loss goals. Thankfully, yoga not only provides physical benefits, but every bit as importantly, it generates mental benefits too.
In truth, it is almost impossible to list them all, because each individual will have positive mental experiences from yoga, based on their current condition. However, some of the more common ones reported are lowering depression, reducing stress, boosting self-esteem, promoting mindfulness, and improving sleep patterns.
If you consider any of these, plus the many other mental benefits yoga can induce, then it is surely easier to follow a weight loss program with a healthy mind that yoga has helped to create, than one which is clouded with negativity, stress and low self-esteem, for example.
Getting Started With Yoga to Lose Weight
With all the benefits we discussed that yoga can provide, especially as it impacts positively on weight loss, we are sure you are ready to get started. It’s at this point many who are eager to get started hit the buffers, as they do not know where to start, and several questions arise.
- Should the go to yoga class or do it a home?
- Which type of yoga is best for weight loss?
- Do I need special equipment?
- How can I be sure that my yoga is helping me to lose weight?
No doubt there may be other questions in your head right now. To answer them, we suggest you start with a home yoga program that has been designed with the specific purpose of burning calories and thus helping you to lose weight.
It’s called the Yoga Burn Challenge and it has been created by internationally certified yoga instructor, Zoe Bray-Cotton. Zoe’s program is ideal for beginners, it follows a progressive path, and its No. 1 goal is to help you lose weight by burning calories with every yoga pose and workout it teaches you.