In the years that I have been a yoga teacher I’ve heard many reasons why people wanted to start yoga. Some of them do yoga to become more flexible, to have more peace in your life, to get over a love, and many more! The one I would like to focus on today, and maybe in the future I’ll cover some more, is doing yoga for weight loss. It looks easy doesn’t it? Doing a couple of poses and in the end you can lose some weight! But is it that easy? Can you really lose weight doing yoga?
Is it a myth?
No, losing weight with yoga is not a myth! But I have to add that it might not be as easy as it looks as well. I have to say that I’ve lost a couple of pounds when I started off doing yoga. But truth be told, it depends on a lot of things! First of all, personal trainers are gonna laugh at you when you tell them that you’d like to lose some weight doing only yoga. Just let them laugh, if you are in a yoga class to lose weight, then put that intention out there and see what happens. Further along in the article I’ll explain some more. As it is not that easy! I know I keep telling you this, I just don’t want to create the illusion that you’ll have a killer body when summer comes.
I’ve been talking about which yoga styles are suitable for what type of person. And now I’m going to focus on the yoga styles that are more likely to let you lose some weight, and which don’t fit that description. So the highly paced yoga styles are extremely suitable as an addition to your diet. And yes I’m gonna use the word diet already, because exercise and food are going hand in hand. The styles that I’m talking about here are vinyasa, ashtanga and hot yoga. Every style based on that one is gonna be a style where you are going to do a lot of high paced exercises that will keep your heart rate up and will give you a good sweat. The nicest thing about these “workouts” is that you are mostly depended on your own body strength and you don’t need any other utilities, like halters, to help you out. I think that’s a healthier approach to lose some weight, although it won’t give you the body of a body builder.
The styles that aren’t that suitable are the ones that aren’t that high paced, such as yin yoga, restorative yoga, hatha yoga, … Although these styles are quite good if you’d like to improve your flexibility. They offer great exercises to increase flexibility. That said, losing weight? Not that much. Although it is possible, I will explain you further on in the article.
Up until know I haven’t spoken a lot about the philosophy behind yoga. There’s a lot to say within this subject, so I’ll try to keep it simple and clear. Yoga is a self-reflection system. This means that every habit you have, every thing that is going on in your life will be touched during your yoga practice. It sounds a bit heavy, but it really isn’t. Just to give you a few simple examples out of my own experience:
- When I started doing yoga I told myself to eat a light soup a couple of hours before I would go to my yoga class. Tomato soup was my favorite and I would eat it a couple of times before I went to the studio. For a couple of weeks I kept this habit going and every single time I got a massive heartburn during a lot of asanas. I was doing Vinyasa yoga and I noticed in my life that whenever I planned something that was quite intensive on my body, I would get heartburns after eating tomato soup. This made it clear to me that eating tomato soup wasn’t doing so well on my body, and it needed a lot of time to digest. I didn’t completely ban it from my diet, but I did reduce the usage of it.
So this is the first example and it shows that it’s also about the little things during yoga. In the Western society where everything is quick-fixed it’s easy to just say: “Oh, I have a heartburn, let’s take a pill for it.” While it’s even easier to reflect on what you’ve eaten and ask yourself the question: “Was it really worth having pain over it?”
This is just a little about the philosophy, only covering one tiny little aspect of it. I could go on for a couple more pages, but I feel that’s not gonna do this article any justice.
Bringing philosophy into practice
But what does this mean or has to do with losing weight during yoga? Everything. It means that yoga isn’t just doing some exercises to lose a couple of pounds. It’s a holistic approach of your physical and mental health. When you have the time, the tranquility, the peace, to reflect on yourself and on your habits, then you’ll find a way to lose some weight doing yoga. Of course, as I said, doing the vigorous types of yoga will benefit your body as well, but that’s not all there is. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle is also another factor that you’ll need to include in your process. And that’s something that yoga can also provide if you’re open to it.
It might not be that simple to lose some weight doing just yoga, it’s highly recommended that you choose a style that’s gonna fit that intention and to take care of your food consumption as well. It is possible and I’ve seen people transform massively, but it’s a holistic system that needs time, it’s not a quick fix to gain that perfect body that you’ve always wanted. I’d also like to give the tip to first of all work on accepting yourself. Ask yourself if you really need to lose some weight or you actually good the way you are? And secondly, this acceptance also throws some weight of your shoulder (no pun intended). It means that you don’t have to achieve anything, so if you don’t succeed, there are no hard feelings. And that is the true yogi lifestyle, just to be in a good place with yourself.
This is it for now, if you have more questions, please leave a message down below and I’ll answer them ASAP.
Nama-stay wonderful everyone!