Yoga for Weight Loss: Can You Lose Weight through the Asanas?
Many people do yoga for weight loss, among other reasons. If you’re seeking to lose a few pounds and wondering whether yoga can help with that, know that yoga can certainly help you to lose weight.
Depending on the style you choose, it can be a form of aerobic exercise. So yes: yoga weight loss is entirely plausible!
Obviously the level of weight loss depends on how hard you work and which techniques you use. You’re definitely not going to shed belly fat by lounging around in yogic twists, for example. However, research has shown that yoga is a great way to halt that annoying middle-age spread.
In case you need any convincing, Seattle’s Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center did a study on yoga weight loss back in 2005. They found that over a ten-year period, yogis aged between 45 and 55 dropped an average of 5lbs, while those who didn’t venture onto the mat actually gained 14lbs.
A few 2013 studies also highlighted yoga benefits such as behavioural changes, calorie-burn and stress reduction, which may prevent overeating and assist weight maintenance.
Which styles of yoga are best for weight loss?
As common sense may dictate, choosing the more active yoga styles will mean you’re making more effort.
Power yoga, vinyasa flow and Ashtanga are some of the best styles since the sequences flow quickly, and with minimal breaks. This makes them more aerobic, and you’ll burn a fair amount of fat while your cardiovascular health improves.
When you’re doing yoga for weight loss you’ll notice that your muscle tone improves and your metabolism speeds up. With the above mentioned yoga styles, poses (asanas) will include sun salutations, planks, boat poses and other intense postures that will make you sweat… as well as dissolve fat!
You may still lose weight through restorative yoga or yin yoga, but it probably won’t be as much and results will take longer to manifest. Yoga weight loss depends on effort made, and there are no short cuts.
How often should you do yoga for weight loss?
Again, common sense says that the more you work out, the more weight you can lose. Even one hour of intense practice per week will yield results. However, if you really want to blast the fat, three to five classes per week is ideal.
Don’t overdo it, especially if you’re a beginner. It takes time to become proficient at yoga, and impatience can lead to injuries.
Since yoga is all about balance, it’s also a good idea to balance your body with extra yoga benefits (like relaxation, tension release and stretching) through a yin or restorative class now and then.
The bottom line is that yes, you can use yoga for weight loss, even if your spread isn’t ‘age’ or ‘middle’ related… And the more vigorous the yoga style you choose, the more weight you will lose.
Yoga has more benefits than just helping you lose weight so it’s a great all-rounder, and once you get good at it, you’ll wonder why you waited so long!