BY: NADIA ZAIDI
I can’t – okay, I refuse – to work out. There. I said it. And you know what? It’s liberating. While we’re in the spirit of honesty, let’s be blatantly real. If we all had discipline, a means, or time for the gym, we might all look like better versions of ourselves. If you’re a self-admitted gym boycotter like me, it doesn’t mean that you can’t achieve the body or fitness level you want. One word: yoga. I know what you’re thinking, and believe me, I found it hard to believe that dainty poses and inner balance can lead to weight loss. But trust me, yoga makes you hard-core.
I always associated yoga with fitness. Inflexible people can’t possibly master those intricate poses and unwavering stability, can they? Truthfully, you don’t have to be physically fit to do yoga. The more you do it, the more agile you become – and skinnier, too.
So how does yoga shed pounds?
Teaches us what we’re truly craving:
The beauty of yoga is that it attunes you to your inner thoughts and bodily sensations, like that feeling you get when you’re on a diet and you smell a batch of fries hitting the deep fryer. Yoga teaches you that you don’t really crave those temptations and points us to what we’re truly hungry for. Many people believe that yoga is a way to a healthier body and mind.
Leads to increased agility:
Firstly, it’s important to understand the inner-workings of yoga. It’s a practice that works from the inside out. It’s not about the amount of weight you can bench press, but about developing strength, and an internal stability that allows you to effectively channel your energy. This energy is key to becoming agile. By consistently practicing various poses, the body develops agility and loses weight.
Deep breathing is medicine for your organs:
Deep breathing is extremely beneficial for the health of your internal organs. Consistent deep breathing invigorates the organs and speeds up your metabolism. Now that’s deep!
Yoga is a strength-based practice. With increased muscle, the body is able to burn more calories than fat. It also lengthens and tones, leading to eventual slimming of the body. What makes yoga so unique is that it prepares the body for other forms of exercise. Think of yoga as a training ground for more vigorous activity. But don’t underestimate it. The easiest of yoga asanas can break the biggest sweats.
Sometimes working out does not meet the feasibility of your lifestyle. Yoga is a great way of including movement into our generally sedentary lives, in which most of us remain seated behind a screen. Yoga allows us to retain our comfort zones, while pushing us into a state of awareness.
If you are looking for a quick fix to weight loss, yoga isn’t the answer. But it’s arguably one of the most effective ways of achieving and sustaining a healthy, toned body.
Yoga for maximum weight loss:
You may burn anything from 180 – 360 calories per hour depending on what type of yoga you are doing.
Power yoga is known for its weight loss benefits by building strength, cardio, and flexibility. A typical 90-minute session will teach you how to deep breathe and increase your internal temperature. This will allow you to get rid of toxins and water weight – ultimately boosting the lymphatic system and organs. Remember when I said it was “hard-core?”
Yoga kicks the parasympathetic nervous system, which regulates digestion and hormones.
Poses for weight loss:
Certain asanas are more effective for weight loss.
• Shoulder Stand (Stimulates the thyroid and boosts the body’s metabolism)
• Fish Pose (Stimulates the thyroid and boosts the body’s metabolism)
• Spinal Twists – Cobra and lengthening child’s pose – both massage the abdomen and internal organs, which aid in digestion.
• Downward Dog and Upward facing Dog (Great for toning thighs and hips)