When you think of yogis -- those who are proficient in the learning of and practicing various methods of yoga-- they often have the lean and lengthened bodies of dancers. If you're trying to get into shape, you may be curious about the various benefits of yoga practice. While yoga will not melt away the pounds for a new, svelte figure, it can be one of the components of a healthy lifestyle and contribute to your level of fitness over time.
If you're looking to yoga to help you shed pounds and get into shape, you may be missing the point of yoga philosophy entirely. Yoga is not meant primarily as a weight loss method, but as a way for you to connect with and learn to respect your body. Over time, this can help inspire lifestyle changes that lead to a fitter, healthier body. Don't expect that simply going to yoga class will help you attain the characteristic yoga body -- it's up to you as to how long yoga takes to help you become more fit.
Yoga is appropriate for a variety of fitness levels and especially works if you're a beginner, have pain or limited movement, or are looking to add something to your workout routine. Yoga is low impact, which means it won't negatively affect your joints. Instead, you'll be led through a variety of stretches and poses to help lengthen your muscles and tendons and focus on the mind and body connection. Over time, you'll learn the yoga philosophy of respecting your body, eating healthy foods and exercising more, all which can contribute to your overall fitness level.
Starting with a basic Hatha yoga class will teach you the basics about yoga philosophy and poses. Once you've mastered a Hatha yoga class, you can choose a variety of other types of yoga, some of which are higher intensity for better calorie burning and muscle strengthening. For instance, Bikram yoga, or "hot yoga," and Ashtanga yoga, or "power yoga," both use poses in succession for a more effective overall workout. Talk to a yoga instructor before you join a more advanced class to discern the necessary level of expertise and the type of workout you'll achieve.
Registering for a Hatha yoga class is the best way to become involved in yoga. While other methods of yoga can be practiced by beginners, a Hatha yoga class teaches the basics and foundation of the yoga lifestyle. As you progress, you can add more challenging classes and poses that help you to build strength. Make a commitment to practice for at least six weeks to see how your attitude toward your body, energy level and nutrition change over time to assess if yoga has helped your fitness level over time. You'll need to add proper diet and cardiovascular exercise, but yoga can act as a solid foundation to help you focus on health and get into better shape.
- "Yoga Journal"; Can Yoga Help Me Lose Weight?; Baxter Bell
- Canadian Living: Can Yoga Really Help You Lose Weight?
- "1,001 Ways To Get In Shape"; Susannah Marriott; 2009