Over the years, there’s been some pretty intense debate over whether or not yoga can actually be an effective tool for serious weight loss. As it’s known to be a gentler form of exercise, there are a lot of doubters out there who claim that a one-hour yoga class is not intense or fast-paced enough to effectively burn the calories needed to make weight loss possible.
Meanwhile, yogis all over the world will swear by its effectivity, promising that yoga is a critical tool in helping hundreds of people around the globe lose tons of weight. What’s our stand? Well, before and after photos make it hard to deny the fact that yoga can actually help you lose weight. Let’s break it down.
Yoga’s A Lot More Physical Than You Think
Have you ever tried holding a Crow Pose for longer than 10 seconds? If you haven’t and are assuming that it’s easy as pie, we assure you that it is not. Far from it. Yoga has hundreds of different postures that can be combined into countless sequences or flows that will get your muscles working double time. While there are definitely poses that are much easier to accomplish than others, there are a multitude of asanas that will push your strength and endurance to its limits.
Any time you push your strength and endurance, you work your muscles. Not to mention the fact that yoga poses use the toughest weights ever: your body weight. Additionally, each pose in yoga’s repertoire helps your body detoxify at various levels. As your body detoxifies, it starts getting rid of the stagnant properties in our bodies that ultimately weigh us down.
What Kind of Yoga Should You Be Doing?
As with any exercise, there are some postures and flows in yoga that will be more effective for weight loss and toning up. For those who need to lose a lot of weight, it’s best to try the practices of power yoga and vinyasa flow to get the most out of your hour. What makes these two practices particularly effective is how fast paced they are.
The sequences provide you with a powerful combination of cardio and strength training, which translates to fantastic fat burn and an increase in lean muscle mass. Amazingly, an hour of either practice can burn up to 600 calories. This is the same number of calories you would typically burn after an hour working out in the gym.
It Doesn’t Take Much to Get Started
What a lot of people love about yoga is how unpretentious it is. You really don’t have to worry about what other people are thinking of you because chances are the other people you’re with are too focused on their own practice. There’s no reason that you should be worried about people judging you because of your size or skill level. Additionally, you don’t have to super fit to start taking up yoga.
You can be in your mid-40s, over 200 pounds or as inflexible as pole when you start and it will be perfectly fine. Yes, there were will self-consciousness at first, but this will quickly melt away as you keep going. Additionally, there’s no such thing as being “bad” at yoga. Yoga classes promote working at your own pace and not forcing things. If you can’t do a pose as perfectly as the person next to you, that’s perfectly fine. Even better? You can rest in Child’s Pose at any time during your class if it’s starting to feel like too much.
What to Look for In a Yoga Class
If you’re completely new to yoga, there are certain things that you need to keep in mind when looking for a class to join. The first and most important thing out of them all is that having a good teacher really matters. Usually, if you’ve heard of something having a bad experience at a yoga class, chances are high that it has to do with bad instruction. Having a competent instructor is absolutely key.
Even more important is that you have an instructor that will make you feel welcome at the class and will take the time to walk you through modifications if you aren’t able to perform a particular pose or sequence. Of course, research doesn’t hurt. Try searching what the popular yoga studios in your area are and being narrowing your options down when you’ve got at least 5 of them. Remember, price isn’t always indicative of how great a studio is and vice versa.
Tips for Success
Look, jumping straight into an advanced hot yoga class when you’ve barely even held a tree pose is sheer lunacy. To successfully incorporate yoga into your weight loss regiment, it’s absolutely essential that you start where you’re comfortable. Attend a beginner’s class and gauge whether or not you can handle going into a vinyasa class or now.
You can start with a regular class at first and work up to the more intense classes and still burn a good bit of calories. Other tips for a successful yoga workout is to wear something that you’re comfortable in. If you wear restrictive clothing to your yoga class, you’ll have a hard time moving and will undoubtedly be uncomfortable. There’s no need to squeeze into that extra tight compression bra to hold a posture, so show up to class wearing something that you’ll be able to move in and breathe in.
Last but not the least, find your own flow. Like we said, there are tons of different styles and classes for yoga. Try as many of them as you can until you find one that really works for you, your level and your goals. It could take a while to find what works for you or you could find something that suits you right from the very beginning. The point is that you try. Remember that when it comes to any kind of exercise, class or program, showing up to try is already half the battle.