We all have our insecurities; the aspects of our bodies that we wish we could change. Often, it's the stubborn belly fat that doesn't seem to shift. Whilst it is normal for us all to have a layer of fat keeping us warm and protecting our organs, excess fat can be an indication of more dangerous elements such as higher visceral fat. Too much visceral fat can lead to health issues such as diabetes, or heart disease. But this is something we can change, and Yoga can be a powerful tool.
Yoga is traditionally a spiritual discipline based on an extremely subtle science, focusing on the harmony between the mind and body. It is both an art and a science within healthy living, but not often referred to specifically as a tool for weight loss.
Yoga focuses on the overall wellbeing of our mind and body - but a wonderful byproduct of the positive energy your body absorbs via regular practice, means your bodyweight can also fall into harmonious alignment.
What type of Yoga is best suited to Weight Loss?
Different styles incorporate different types and levels of physical postures (asana), breathwork (pranayama), chanting and meditation. While certain types of yoga are based on set routines, others are varied, the great thing is that there is no singular one-size-fits-all practice.
Yoga isn't traditionally considered an 'aerobic' exercise, but different styles also provide more of an intense experience and a level of power that can encourage calorie burn.
Vinyasa yoga for weight loss
If you're looking to gain strength, flexibility and a real refresh of mind and spirit may find joy in Vinyasa Yoga. The emphasis on integrity of the breath and proper form and alignment can be attained through individual modifications or variations to make your practice both accessible and appropriately challenging for you.
Iyengar Yoga is a calorie burner!
If you are interested in learning more about anatomy and the details of asana - Iyengar Yoga will enhance, advance, and maximize how much you can get out of any form of yoga practice.
Iyengar a particularly intense style of yoga, so not always best if you're brand new to the Yogi world, but you'll certainly feel its benefits.
Up the intensity with Power Yoga
Sequences are designed to push you physically, generating detoxifying heat and sweat, exercising your muscles and lungs, whilst challenging and training your endurance.
Power yoga can have a real athletic focus. There is more emphasis on the flexibility of the body than increasing the speed of breath.
How to include Yoga Practice into your Day
You can add Yoga can to your daily routine simply by setting aside 45 minutes a day. But when is the best time to do your "Yoga routine/flow"?
There are advantages to practicing yoga at different times of the day, but ultimately, it comes down to what suits best for your routine.
Are you an early riser?
- Taking your practice first thing in the morning can be the perfect way to set yourself up for the day.
- Your mind is fresh and clear
- Your body is well rested from a good night's sleep
- Starting the day with yoga can set the tone for your day
When you feel good, you continue to make those positive decisions throughout the day. This can extend to your food choices and help you tackle any potential stressful problems head-on.
Example yoga poses for a morning routine include: Supta Padangustasana, Eye of the Needle -- Sucirandhrasana and Downward Facing Dog - Adho Mukha Svanasana.
Feel more active in the afternoons?
- Provide yourself with a much-needed mid-day break and reset
- Something to look forward to throughout your morning
- Release endorphins to get through a mid-day slump
- Clear your mind to take on the rest of your day with clarity
You may find a mid-afternoon practice can help you process the day so far and allow you the refresh and energy to take of the rest of the day.
Example yoga poses for an afternoon routine (and post-meal digestion) include: Cat-Cow, Upward Dog, Boat Pose.
Are you more of a night owl?
- The evening is often our time to decompress from the day
- You can prepare your mind and body for a restful sleep
- Relieve any stress you may still be holding from your day
- Finish off your day calm and satisfied
Sometimes we build up a lot of energy during the day and channelling that energy into a soothing yoga practice at the end of the day can be a perfect way to unwind.
Example yoga poses for an evening or bedtime routine include: Standing Wide-Legged Forward Fold - Prasarita Padottanasana, Garland Pose - Malasana and Seated Spinal Twist - Ardha Matsyendrasana.
Yoga is personal and ultimately is focused on what best serves YOU. Whatever time of day you choose to practice yoga is the perfect and absolute best time for you at that moment.
Weight Loss: Yoga vs Gym
Yoga has long been known to provide long-term benefits to our physical and mental health. But how does it compare when we talk about weight loss?
Ultimately, it is two different disciplines; Yoga provides the means towards a fit and flexible body and can help overcome chronic disease conditions. A weightlifting routine in the gym will support your journey of gaining muscle mass and strength. It can also help enhance circulation and relieve stress, as does yoga.
Both Yoga and Gym routines can support each other in your overall goal to improve your health and fitness.
Weight Loss: Yoga vs Cardio or Walking
Cardiovascular training is a known method to help support your heart health and burn calories. We tend to sweat a lot during a cardiovascular workout, which assists with relieving toxins in the body.
There is no right or wrong.
Ultimately, being active and moving your body more helps burn energy and excess calories. It makes you feel good and improves your overall productivity and alertness. When we feel good, it shows in our body.
For those of us who sit for long hours in our jobs, both yoga and workouts are needed, to avoid problems due to low physical activity and high mental activity. Physical workouts like walking, gym, cardio, and aerobics support physical health. Yoga and meditation also help our mental health.
Yoga is a powerful addition to your fitness routine because it meets you wherever you are and gets you where you need to be. It is always modifiable and adjustable so you can both effectively and safely move through a dynamic practice that meets your needs, desires, and abilities. You can extend the practice from your mat and carry the transferable philosophy of yoga through to other parts of your life and self.
Yoga and Diet for Weight Loss
Mindfulness refers to focusing your attention on what you are experiencing in the present moment. This kind of awareness can carry through into our lives when it comes to the food choices we make:
- Awareness when we are eating, despite being full
- Awareness of how food looks, tastes and smells
- Awareness in response to environmental cues, such as the sight or smell of food
- Awareness of eating when sad or stressed (emotional eating)
- Awareness of eating when distracted by other things
By becoming more in-tune with your body and your mind, you can become more sensitive to these hunger cues, and be able to better understand and interpret them.
Our greater awareness may take us to new diet paths, such as vegetarian or vegan choices, in our journey to better understand the healthy foods our body needs for nourishment. Choose what is right for you and your body. The goal is to feel healthy, fuelled and satisfied.
Do Yoga and Weight Loss for You.
It's easy to associate the concept of losing weight with an idealistic view of beauty than health. There is consistent pressure to look a certain way or fit a certain image, but health and wellbeing are so much more important. Your body is an incredible tool, and you deserve to feel incredible within it.
This is why we think that yoga is an ideal weight-loss tool. Yoga is about wellness - losing weight may easily become a natural part of it. But we enjoy the process of getting stronger and more flexible, and we love the daily practice that calms and empowers us, rather than forcing our body to conform to an image. You find yourself in harmonious balance, which is really, what you need al along.
Check out our schedule of live, online Yoga classes here
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