“Yoga is not intense enough to help you lose the weight. If you’re serious about this, start sweating it out in the gym,” a friend commented as I shared my decision to start a healthy diet and exercise program. Now, here I am nearly half my size thanks to yoga.
There is a huge divide when the discussion whether yoga is an effective weight loss program is opened up. Many believe that the slow-pace of the practice does not do much for burning fat or building muscle. There are those on the other hand, including me, who swear by the program.
Five years ago, I decided to change my life by changing my lifestyle. I rolled out my mat and started calorie counting to drop the pounds. I practiced around 3 – 4 times per week, making sure I stayed committed. It wasn’t hard at all because yoga, ‘til today, is something I truly enjoy. Slowly, the practice changed me, not only on the outside but also within. I was developing traits that I never truly had. At every stage of the process, I learned to embrace who I truly was, showing myself kindness and compassion when the difficult times arose.
A year later, I found myself 75 pounds lighter and so much happier. Prior to practicing yoga, I was sad, unhappy and discontented. I also felt that I was disconnected from myself and my emotions. I didn’t quite understand my body and what I was going thru. After practicing for a while, all this started to change. I listened to my body and that helped me lose the weight I needed to.
Yoga, as an exercise program, is not at all easy but it is achievable. It demands a great amount of strength, endurance, flexibility and focus; that’s not just on the physical level but also on the mental. Yoga also helps to balance out the body, soul and mind. Now you see, you can’t be healthy on one level and unbalanced on the other. All aspects work together to keep you fit and yoga has the ability to unite all these three and keep them harmonious and healthy.
Let’s try to understand how yoga promotes weight loss and impacts all three important layers of our life: mind, soul and body.
1. The Mind
The yoga journey is a path to self-discovery and positivity. Getting on the practice will open your mind to new things and you realize that your viewpoint begins to change. You start seeing things in a new light. As I stated earlier, yoga changes you from the inside out. And that’s truly the process. It starts from within.
Practicing should open your mind to the path of truth, consciousness and connectedness. This is the process we believe to be your awakening. You become more open and aware and positivity starts to flow through you. You begin disconnecting from your ego – that non-stop, tiny voice in your head that constantly brings in negativity and focuses on all the problems making them bigger than what they really are.
The ego is responsible for many of the negative occurrences and decisions in our life. When continuously practicing yoga, you quiet your mind. You give yourself the chance to be free from the sad and negative thought patterns that have imprisoned you for far too long. Basically, you stop living inside your head, positive change in your life follows. You get rid of destructive thought patterns and habits that once ruled your life. You find yourself and realise the things that actually make you feel good and go for that. As a result, you love and care for yourself better. You choose to build yourself up and keep yourself healthy. That’s how your mind can impact your lifestyle and diet.
2. The Soul
Yoga works to awaken the soul which leads you to rethink your life and the habits you’ve formed. It opens your mind to the truth and gives you a deeper sense to life. The awakening greatly benefits your weight loss goals because you begin to care for yourself more and get rid of destructive lifestyle patterns.
If you’re previous self would indulge in so much dessert you get sick afterwards or drink until your drunk, this is no longer acceptable to the new you. You realize how bad these habits are and how much damage it can do to you. The truth behind the action is revealed. You deal with it and ultimately change it.
The change is so real. What used to please you (or what you believed to please you for that matter), no longer does. You learn that your current life or situation is pleasant. You value a healthy body and mind above all else. Your desire becomes a clean temple where the real you can come out and shine brightly.
3. The Body
If you’ve ever been to a yoga class, you will know that it is a combination of different poses and postures that all target different parts of the body. Through constant practice, you workout those parts, toning the muscles and firming it up. We all know that the more muscles you have, the more fat your burn.
Yoga offers many different classes that are suited to different needs but even the gentlest yoga practice can promote weight loss. If you’re wanting a more fast-paced practice, then consider going for the power yoga or vinyasa flow class. These combine a good cardio with stretch routine that should help you burn fat in your target regions.
All the different postures have a variety of physical benefits. That’s right – one pose works on many parts. When holding a pose, you engage your core and all other muscles involved feeling the stretch and burn. You know it’s working because you feel it.
Almost every pose in yoga also works to detoxify the body and we all know proper detoxification inevitably leads to weight loss. It leads to the purification of both the body and the mind. It also encourages good digestion ridding the body of built of waste.