Renowned for its capacity to reduce stress, enhance flexibility and improve muscle tone and strength, yoga is not so well known for its contributions to weight loss. Most people don't think of yoga as a way to burn off the calories, so it can be surprising to discover that it can be an effective way to boost your weight loss efforts.
Conventional yoga isn't a vigorous type of exercise. While it conditions and tones your muscles, you're not likely to work up a sweat during a yoga session. However, the fact that your muscles are being given a workout means your body is utilizing calories more effectively. So, cardiovascular exercise will yield better results if you also practice yoga regularly.
An important component of yoga is discipline of mind and body, which will help you stay committed to your exercise program and healthy eating habits. Yoga reinforces the link between your body and your mind, increasing your desire to look after your body. This is very helpful for people who want to lose weight but have trouble getting motivated.
New Yoga Varieties
If you plan on using yoga by itself to help you drop some pounds, there are some new variations on the traditional practice of yoga, which provide the advantages of both yoga and aerobic exercise in one package. These types of yoga include:
Vinyasa yoga - Vinyasa yoga is centered on shifting from one asana, or pose, to another while concentrating on your breathing. The Sun Salutation is a typical position, but there are many others. Vinyasa yoga is often practiced in a heated room to encourage sweating.
Ashtanga yoga - This is an intricate approach to yoga, integrating six series of individual asanas. They increase in complexity as you progress, so you must perform them in order, improving your skill as you go.
Power yoga - This modern adaptation of yoga mixes active, high-speed actions with yogic breathing.
These yoga techniques offer more of the heart-healthy benefits of aerobic exercise than the usual kinds of yoga. While they won't quite give you the workout of a cardio class, you still get the dual advantages of aerobic fitness and the muscle toning and flexibility of yoga, which will no doubt help your weight loss efforts. And they're great for people who are too busy for more than one workout routine.
One the surface, aerobics and yoga have few similarities. Nevertheless, conventional yoga can boost the benefits of cardiovascular exercise, and the newer styles of this ancient practice can be a great replacement for your usual aerobics. If you're dissatisfied with the results you're seeing from your normal exercise program, why not give yoga a try?
Kim Archer enjoys the health benefits and relaxation of yoga. A great source of information on this restorative practice can be found at Yoga Essentials.
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