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Yoga for Weight Loss - Fact or Fiction

Yoga for weight loss, really? Losing weight is easy, in principle. You simply need to burn more calories than you take in… period. What's so hard about that? In practice, the balancing of both sides of this equation is hard. Your calorie intake is represented by your diet. I would argue that eating right gets you more than half way to successful weight loss, but this article examines whether or not yoga can help you with the calorie burning side. Let's talk about burning calories.

How Are Calories Burned?

Most people don't think of using yoga for weight loss or calorie burning. When most people think about burning calories in a quick efficient way, they usually think of aerobic activities such as the classes, running or cycling. These activities do the main thing necessary to blow through some serious calories, which is elevate your heart rate. All of these activities are performed at a moderate level of intensity over a relatively long period of time. This explains why running at a moderate pace for a long distance is aerobic, but sprinting isn't. People recognize that yoga can be practiced over a long period of time, but when people think about using yoga for weight loss, they're unsure if it qualifies as a moderate level of work?

Yoga Can Be Aerobic?

The short answer is absolutely! However, there are only some styles of yoga that lend themselves to a high degree of calorie burning. Here's a short list:

1) Ashtanga (Power Yoga): As the nickname "Power Yoga" implies, this is a more hardcore, faster pace of yoga.

2) Iyengar: A lot of stamina is required for this style, as poses are often held for an extended amount of time.

3) Bikram (Hot Yoga): Time to sweat! It's done in a room temperature of near 100 degrees!

Yoga For Weight Loss - An Added Benefit

Research has also suggested another reason why yoga can be an integral part of a weight loss program… a better link between mind and body. This research suggests that this better link allows yoga practitioners to understand better the feelings and reasons behind our eating choices, and what our bodies actual need versus wants. This allows practitioners to be more "mindful" in their eating. By being more mindful in your eating, it becomes much easier to eating only when you are actually hungry, versus based on emotions.

Therefore it is clear from both research and my own personal experience that you definitely can use yoga for weight loss. You just have to ensure you find an appropriate program to follow, if you're reaching for more than just the right mental attitude!
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