Need to Lose a Few Pounds? Yoga Can Help
Is yoga part of your weight loss plan? Although yoga is often associated with flexibility and improved muscle tone, regular sessions may also help you shed extra pounds.
How Yoga Helps You Lose Weight
Yoga involves slow, precise movements that appear deceptively simple. In reality, mastering and holding poses expends more energy than you may realize. Calories Burned HQ estimates that you'll burn 200 to 600 calories during an hour-long yoga session. The exact number of calories burned will vary depending on the form of yoga you choose, your weight, and your body type.
If you practice yoga five times per week, your muscle mass will probably increase. Increased muscle mass helps you burn more calories and drop extra pounds. The effect continues even when you aren't practicing your asanas. Strengthening and toning your muscles also offers important benefits for your health. Your center of balance will improve and will be less likely to experience injuries that can prevent you from exercising.
Yoga Offers a Holistic Weight Loss Approach
Yoga benefits extend far beyond simply burning calories. The discipline's mind-body approach can also help you decrease stress eating and become more in tune with your body. Meditation, an essential part of your yoga practice, encourages mindfulness, the ability to focus only on the present. During meditation sessions, you'll repeat a mantra or focus on an image that will allow you to clear your mind of distracting thoughts.
When your mind is clear, your awareness of your body grows. This new awareness can encourage you to develop healthier eating habits and may instill a renewed sense of discipline that will help you stick to your exercise schedule. Thanks to your newfound awareness of your body, you may find it's easier to resist indulging in a jumbo bag of potato chips or a high-calorie restaurant meal.
Has stress eating contributed to your expanding waistline? Yoga offers an excellent way to lower your stress level naturally. In fact, participants in a study on yoga and meditation reported less depression and anxiety and an increase in mindfulness at the end of a three-month yoga retreat. When researchers tested participants' blood, they noticed a threefold increase in brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), a protein that keeps nerve cells healthy. They theorized that the increase led to increased feelings of wellbeing. The study appeared in the June 26, 2017 issue of Frontiers in Human Neuroscience.
Which Type of Yoga is Best?
Although any form of yoga can help you burn calories, some are better choices than others if you want to lose weight. Longer classes or those that involve vigorous activity will help you burn calories faster and increase muscle mass. You may want to try one of these yoga classes:
- Ashtanga. You'll learn a series of rigorous poses that will increase your heart rate and circulation during an Ashtanga yoga class. Poses are performed in the same order during every class.
- Vinyasa. Vinyasa yoga uses the same demanding poses as Ashtanga yoga, although poses aren't performed in the same order. You'll focus on seamlessly moving from one pose to the other while maintaining proper yogic breathing.
- Hot Yoga. Hot yoga is performed in temperatures ranging from 85 to more than 100 degrees. This popular form of yoga can help you burn body fat, increase circulation, improve flexibility, and remove toxins from your body.
If you're a yoga novice, you'll want to master basic poses in beginner yoga classes before moving on to more complex classes like those mentioned above.
Are you interesting in losing weight through yoga? Contact us, and we'll help you determine which type of classes offer the most benefit for you.
Calories Burned HQ: Yoga Calories Burned Calculator
Frontiers in Human Neuroscience: Yoga, Mediation and Mind-Body Health, 6/26/17
WebMD: Yoga for Weight Loss, 7/21/06
LiveScience: 5 Experts Answer: Can Yoga Help You Lose Weight, 11/8/11
U.S. National Library of Medicine: Evidence-Based Complementary Alternative Medicine: A Different Weight Loss Experience, 8/1016