A medium-build person doing classic yoga burns an average of just 150 calories per hour. We have slightly higher figures when it comes to the dynamic styles or hot yoga – around 300 calories, but this amount of energy expenditure hardly compares to what we can get even from regular brisk walking. However, it’s known for a fact that, from a weight loss perspective, exercise is only 20% of the equation, the rest being nutrition. 80/20 is the primary formula for those keen to lose weight, with yoga capable of doing most of the management thereunder.
In 2005, researchers at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center (Seattle, Washington) conducted a study involving 15,500 people, who shared data on their weight and physical activity (including yoga) spanning the course of 10 years. The study found it was overweight people whom practicing yoga had helped lose weight. In 2013, the Department of Family and Community Medicine at the University of Arizona conducted a review of the latest research on the subject, which also confirmed yoga’s benefits for weight loss.
Body and Mind
By doing yoga, you take the interrelationship between your mind and body to a whole new level, where yours becomes a more responsible and deliberate approach to dealing with your system. Proverbial “consciousness”, a word used quite often during yoga classes, means here that you just come to feel your body much better and learn to operate it.
As you progress through your practice and change yourself on the inside, all of a sudden you discover that in the choice of food smell and taste are now your key guides. But your mind is silent. Your healthy hunger is much different from your consumer itch provoked by “yummy” commercials. You eat only when you’re really hungry and not on impulse. There is improvement in the operation of your digestive system, as your body gets cleared of toxins and makes its own choice for healthy nutrition. You perceive the taste of simple food items in amazingly vibrant ways.
Habits and Regimen
You no longer have to combat bad habits. You just renounce them as useless, for there are quite sufficient resources inside ourselves to facilitate vigor and relaxation. You also stop overeating, since now you eat deliberately and can feel when to stop. Many stop eating meat and even become vegetarians, but that’s outside the scope of this discussion.
You also get rid of the habit of “stress eating” and stop having bad moods, since now you have better control of yourself. You get increasingly fewer stresses, as you learn to keep them out of your mind.
Since you should exercise on a light stomach (3-4 hours after a meal), regular practice helps adjust your eating regimen and stop “noshing”. For instance, a relaxing evening set of asanas will automatically push your last meal a “safe distance” from sleep.
- Don’t be shy to attend classes
Up there on the mat, yogis are always absorbed in their practice – so, they simply have no time for gazing around. Home practice could work, of course, but that’s only when you know what you’re doing. First you need to get a good hang of the major asanas under the guidance of a knowledgeable teacher. And, most certainly, you should not start practicing from scratch via DVDs or online courses. Come to class.
- No need to wear leggings and a top
Loose-fitting and light clothing will perfectly do the job. The bottom line is that you feel comfortable and convenient. Although, of course, you’ll need some visual control for proper straightening.
- Forget about your pounds
Let go of the thoughts about why you’re on the mat. Just give it your best effort at each session. Engage your Tapas, but keep in mind Santosa as well. A combination of these two is your key to progress.
- Find a style, a class, and a teacher that is right for you
If the Vinyasa Flow class is too hard for you, try some of its gentler variants. You may like the static styles. For instance, Iyengar Yoga often makes use of props, such as belts, blocks, and blankets, as handy aids in performing asanas. If you have a concomitant condition, you may want to try Yoga Therapy.
- Practice on a regular and frequent basis
2-3 times per week is the minimum required for your body to start changing. Don’t expect fast results – it’s quite a lengthy process. But you’ll like it!
When rolling out your mat for the first time, you’ll be dreaming of being able to just fit into your favorite jeans. But within just a few weeks you’ll be amazed at how much your understanding of the dream has expanded. Yoga appears to have many remarkable “side effects”, weight loss being just one of them.