Yoga for Weight LossWhatever your level of fitness, Yoga is an excellent addition to a healthy lifestyle. But is it effective for losing weight? Many argue it is.
Few people would deny that yoga offers physical and mental benefits in the form of stress management, mental calm, limberness, strength, balance and better blood flow. But as it turns out, it may also effectively aid in fat loss.
In 2005, a medical study led by a researcher and yogi named Alan Kristal, DPH, MPH, a trial involving 15,500 healthy, middle-aged men and women found that the overweight individuals who practiced yoga lost 5 pounds during the same period at which non-yoga practitioners gained 14 pounds.
Types of Yoga for Weight Loss Beginners
There are a variety of Yoga disciplines, and the best one for you depends on a variety of factors including age, body type and fitness level. Some are physically demanding and intense cardio workouts while others are serene exercises of stillness and mental focus. Here is a rundown on the types of Yoga you can try.
This form of yoga focuses on posture, balance and breathing techniques. Hatha is a slower, gentler form a Yoga and is recommended for beginners so they can learn to control breathing and perform basic postures that form the foundations of all Yoga.
This type of yoga is faster paced and rhythmic. It focuses on coordinating breathing with movement in a dance-like choreography often accompanied with beat driven music. It is designed to raise the heart rate and provides a great form of cardio that lovers of endurance exercise and HIIT (high intensity interval training) will enjoy.
This yoga concentrates on precision of form and posture. It is more advanced than Hatha but slower than Vinyasa. It incorporates props such as ropes and straps and yoga blocks and develops core strength that allows the body to maintain balance while holding difficult postures.
This consists of a series of 6 choreographed sequences of poses meant to be performed in a specific order. You move from one pose to the next in a controlled manner while focusing on building internal heat.
Bikram is a high-intensity workout performed under sweltering conditions. Bikram classes are practiced in a room heated to 105 degrees and 40% humidity. It consists of 26 poses performed in a 90-minute session and can be very strenuous especially for novices.
6. Hot Yoga
Hot yoga, like Bikram, is performed in a heated room but isn’t constrained to the 26 poses Bikram has. The elevated heat increases the depth of stretching. It combines the benefits of saunas with flexibility.
This form of yoga differs from the others in that it introduces an additional element to the traditional yoga movements: chanting and singing. This is more mentally challenging and requires intense breath work and repetitive vocalizations for the purpose of unlocking untapped energy and achieving transcendence and heightened self-awareness.
Yoga Weight Loss Stories
Jennifer B. Niles, an author, yogi and health coach wrote a post on the MBG website detailing the significant health and weight loss benefits she experienced with Yoga. She wrote:
Less than one year after practicing yoga six to seven days per week, I lost a total of 85 pounds. My weight loss was a direct result of a committed yoga practice coupled with a plant-based diet. No other exercise or gym equipment was required. I shed excess fat using nothing but a yoga mat and my own body weight.