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Does yoga work for weight loss?

Posted by April G.

i do alot of cardio, but i want to switch it up with something different... would yoga benefit me in the same way that cardio does?!
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Yoga can help, but it may not be the only answer. Yoga can help with weight loss, but I would not make it your only form of exercise if you happen to have a body type that gains weight easily. Yoga can help you lose weight in the following ways: 1. Certain types of yoga (power yoga, especially) will put on lean muscle mass, which helps to burn more fat. 2. Certain yoga poses, such as the seated forward bend, supposely improve digestion and thus are said to help increase the metabolism. (This may not be scientifically proven, but that is the theory at least.) 3. Many yoga classes are quite strenuous and will help you lose weight simply because you will burn a lot of calories in the class.
Yoga Has Potential To Help. Although Yoga, in and of itself, has not been deemed to be a sole solution for weight loss, it can assist with the following kept in mind. There are many types and intensities of Yoga. Typical Hatha Yoga focuses more on relaxation, stress relief and mindful behavior than Bikram Yoga (Hot Yoga), which is much more intense, hence increasing strength and intensity. In general, however, Yoga has the potential to improve strength, tone, stretch, and posture in addition to relaxing the body and mind and lowering stress. Keep in mind that any physical activity is better than no physical activity. So even though, typical Yoga for relaxation is not a cardiovascular workout, it is better than sitting on the couch eating your favorite flavor of Haagan Das. A recent study, the first of its kind, at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Reserach Center actually found that regular yoga practice (30 minutes/per week), may promote weight loss in those who are overweight. The study, which was published in the Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine, followed 15,500 men and women for a 10 year period of time. It reported that men and women who were overweight and practiced yoga lost approximately 5 pounds, while those who did not practice yoga gained about 14 pounds in the same time frame. Although yoga is not aerobic enough to burn signifcant calories for weight loss alone, the strengh enhancement to the muscles may increase metabolism, assisting the body in losing weight and gaining muscle. In addition, the study hypothesizes that since yoga significantly increases body awareness and mind/body strength, it can assist in weight management issues such as overeating, etc.
Think of Yoga.... ...not as an exercise program that is a substitute for running, cycling, step, or Buns of Steel but rather as something much larger, more comprehensive. When this question comes up I tell students that yoga is not to be construed as a Weight Loss Program though one may lose weight doing it. It is also possible to gain weight doing it when the nervous system is not properly considered in the nature and construct of the practice. You have two other very sound replies April. And I love the fact that Deb has cited the study at Hutch which I am familiar with. There's another that was done by ACE (American Counsel on Exercise. If HTML works in this thing you can find it here.
Here's the Thing.... Yoga will make everything in your body work better. It may not directly burn a ton of calories (although it certainly can) but you may do some postures that stimulate your liver to function better and then it therefore metabolizes fat more efficiently. You may alleviate the stress that otherwise causes you to down a bag of Oreos (not that I've ever done that...) that would have caused you to spend an hour on the treadmill. Yoga is wonderful, just know that it is subtle. Give it some time. But I tell you one thing for sure, nothing makes your ass look better!

Yoga by itself is a complete sport.. mentally and physically.. sure you can combine it with your cardio. This way, you can get the most out of your cardio exercise. Yoga build your harmony, flexibility, concentration, focus and relaxation at the same time.. go with it!

This free yoga e-course contains many useful yoga poses detailed with their physiological benefits, as well as the deep breathing techniques; you'll like it:

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