Yoga has many benefits. A regular program of yoga can help keep your spine supple, your core strong, and help you maintain balance and poise. It also tones your muscles, helps strengthen your immune system, and boosts your metabolism. However, yoga alone cannot help you lose large amounts of weight. It is, however, a good idea to add it to any healthy living plan.
Yoga will help you feel better about yourself and is a great confidence booster. Many find yoga is an island of calm in an otherwise hectic world. While not all yoga is aerobic, there are some types of yoga that can substitute for aerobic activity. Using yoga to lose weight all depends on the type you do and how frequently you do it. You should opt to engage in 90 minutes of aerobic style yoga three or more times per week, and if you add in another style of yoga the remaining days per week you can gain all the benefits of most other types of physical activity such as weight or strength training and flexibility.
In order to lose weight and keep it off you need to effect lasting changes in your lifestyle permanently. Doing this requires incorporating 5 key elements into your lifestyle. These are adequate rest, drinking enough water, eating a balanced diet, proper types of exercise, and caring for yourself emotionally. Yoga can help with the exercise and emotional elements. So what is yoga?
Hatha Yoga: Exercise for the Mind & Spirit
Yoga is based on eight principles as a study of all religions. It is not of itself a religion. One of the eight studies deals with physical training and keeping the body in good working order. When people in the west think about yoga, it is the branch of Hatha Yoga they have in mind. Hatha Yoga itself has many branches or types of physical training systems developed over many years that are all based on the same physical postures or poses. Here are just a few:
o Hatha: while this is the yoga branch that deals with physical yoga, here in the west a class that is called Hatha generally means it will be slow and gentle and thus provide a good introduction for beginners to learn the yoga poses.
o Vinyasa: this may also be called sun salutations or breath-synchronized movement. It is just slightly more vigorous than Hatha. Some places use this as a warm up before other more vigorous types of yoga begin.
o Ashtanga & Power Yoga: Ashtanga means eight limbs and is based on the whole philosophy of yoga. It is a very fast paced type of yoga that is always performed in the same order. It flows and moved without pauses. Power yoga is usually based on Ashtanga, but not always, though it usually is the inspiration for power yoga.
o Iyengar: this is based on the teachings of Yogi B.K.S. Iyengar which is based on an emphasis of body alignment. Precise alignment is effective to maximize benefits and avoid injury. In this type of exercise you usually hold each pose over long periods of time rather than moving quickly form one to the next. You usually will use props such as blankets, blocks, and straps.
o Kundalini: this emphasizes breath in conjunction with movement. Combining movement with controlled breath is meant to move and free energy within the chakras or body systems. This type of yoga can be very helpful to encourage regulation with the digestion and adrenal systems.
o Bikram or Hot Yoga: be prepared to spend time in a hot room that is usually around 95 to 100 degrees Fahrenheit. This type of yoga is useful for detoxing though profuse sweating and loosening tight muscles. The original Bikram was based on 26 poses. But not all classes follow this.
o Anusara: this relatively new style of yoga founded in 1977 by a man named John Friend combines physical alignment with positive energy derived from tantra. The philosophy here is the goodness of all beings. Props are also often used in this class which is generally open to people of all levels of fitness and abilities.
o Jivanukti: David life and Sharon Gannon founded this style in New York at one of the most elite Yoga Studios. It is inspired by Ashtanga and strongly emphasizes chanting, meditation, and spirituality. Most teachers of yoga in the United States have been trained by them.
o Forrest: Originated by Anna Forrest in California and is based on vigorous Asana poses. It is designed to strengthen, purify, release, and heal the body and promote healing form within both physically and emotionally. You can expect intense aerobic exercise that helps develop your core and expand your breathing ability.
o Integral: based on the teachings of Yogi Sri Swami Sachinananda who came to the US in the 1960’s. He founded many Institutes that use gentle Hatha practice along with chanting and mediation. You can find books also based on this such as Richard Hittlemans 28 day exercise plan which help newbie’s and beginners to receive maximum benefits and results through daily practice in their first month.
Yoga is generally based on 5 general principles Proper exercise, proper breathing, proper relaxation, proper diet, and positive thinking. By incorporating aerobic Yoga or other aerobic exercise for 90 minutes per session 3 or more times per week along with yoga on most other days per week in to your exercise plan you can expect to see results n your first 4 to 6 weeks. The trick is to stick with it and make a real effort for consistency. Yoga along with rest, water, sleep, and other lifestyle changes can help you lose weight and keep it off. Just remember to perform it daily and follow along with a book, video, or audio material if you opt to do it at home, especially if you are a beginner.
Yoga works by stimulating the adrenal systems and helping to clear out your lymph and immune system of toxins. The release of pent up energy, the effects of the calmness yoga emphasizes, and by performing both aerobic and stretching, Hatha type yoga, you can get you strength, flexibility, and aerobic exercise all jut by practicing the different types of yoga styles. You will firm and tone muscles, burn calories, and boost your immune system and metabolism. Other effects are long lasting, such as calmness, poise, and balance. Most yogis know that regular yoga produces a glow and vibrant energy that tends to draw like minded people to you. (Anyone who practices yoga regularly is considered a yogi.)
If you have ever wanted to lose weight you may have found the wide array of methods and ideologies confusing. You may have wondered if you could lose it by dieting, pills, exercise, or other drastic measure alone. The answer is no! Losing weight takes a determined effort, willingness and patience, and the process of trying and combining methods to achieve what works best for you personally. In addition to lifestyle habits, dietary changes, and following the 5 key principles of a good lifestyle, yoga can help you achieve your goals.