In today’s stressful, constantly-moving society, millions of people have found refuge in yoga. Their practices help them find inner peace, decompress, and even become happier people.
However, not all of the benefits of yoga are mental. It’s clear that going through the various poses, from Downward Dog to Cobra, is an excellent way to keep your body in good shape. Your muscles are forced to hold difficult poses and are therefore strengthened by the practice.
The question is, where do the physical rewards of yoga stop? Can practicing yoga daily help you shed those extra pounds, or does it simply make you more flexible and less stressed? Let’s look at some information provided by experts to find out.
If you’ve never practiced yoga before, you might not know that there are different variations of the activity. You can do everything from a smooth, simple flow through relaxing poses to a hardcore, power hour where everything is pushed to the limit.
When it comes to figuring out how yoga affects weight loss, it’s important to consider vinyasa flows over other kinds of yoga. A vinyasa will challenge your muscles and leave you sweating, which means it’s especially adept at burning fat off. The more you go through your vinyasas, the more you’ll find that the fat leaves your body and stays away.
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According to an associate professor at the University of Minnesota School of Kinesiology, you can certainly link yoga to weight loss. Like any other physical activity, yoga can help you to burn calories and boost your metabolism.
However, the key point is that only regular yoga practice can noticeably influence weight loss. Stretching on your living room floor and calling it “yoga” once a month is hardly going to make a difference. Yogis who stay trim and keep fat off are going through vinyasa flows or power hours on a daily basis.
Because yoga is not a high-intensity form of exercise like running or biking, you’ll need to do it as frequently as possible in order for your body to really begin changing. Doctors recommend going through your practice at least four to five times a week in order to really physical notice changes.
Practicing yoga on its own probably isn’t enough to help you achieve your dream body, but when the activity is paired with a nutritious diet, the real magic begins. The food and drink you consume play a huge role in how effective your yoga practice is, and most individuals will need to manipulate both their physical and caloric practices in order to lose weight.
The best physical results will appear once you begin eating foods that give you energy and boost your metabolism. Stay away from bad carbs, sugar, and processed foods. Instead, reach for snacks and meals that are high in protein, low in calories, and packed with vitamins and other nutrients. You’ll find that when you’re eating right, your yoga practice will have more power to alter your body’s weight and appearance.
It’s no secret that practicing yoga can substantially decrease your stress levels, but what you might not know is that stress can drastically affect your struggle with weight. People who are dealing with constant worry, anxiety, and tension tend to have a very difficult time shedding unwanted pounds.
By engaging in yoga and working to clear your mind, you’ll give your body a chance to decompress both mentally and physically. This method of dealing with stress will allow your body to focus on other things, like sleeping well, eating right, and burning calories. Therefore, if someone says that yoga is really only beneficial for your mind, tell them that your state of mind and your body’s weight go hand-in-hand.
In short, the answer to the question “can you really lose weight doing yoga?” is a resounding yes. When you practice intense yoga multiple times a week and pair your physical activity with beneficial meals, you’ll notice that your mind and body seem to feel a lot lighter.
New to yoga and don't know where to start? Try our 31-Day Yoga Challenge to learn form on the most popular yoga poses.