Yoga for Weight Loss?

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You're probably well aware of the ability of yoga to lower your stress levels, improve your flexibility and tone your muscles. But it's not typically associated with helping you lose weight. Most people don't think of yoga first when they want to burn calories. So it can be surprising to discover that it can actually 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. The fact is, though, that you're working your muscles, which means your body is burning calories. Therefore, you'll get more benefit from your aerobic workouts if you include yoga in your fitness routine.

At the core of yoga is the discipline of both your body and mind. This should lead to stronger motivation to stick with your fitness routine and to eat healthfully. Yoga reinforces the link between your body and your mind. This increases your desire to look after your body. This is very helpful for people who want to lose weight but have trouble getting motivated.

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. These have the advantages of both yoga and aerobic exercise in one package. And to make it easy, there's a huge variety of yoga DVDs that you can buy that will give you an effective workout.

Here's a look at some of the more common kinds of yoga.

Vinyasa Yoga: Vinyasa yoga is centered on shifting from one asana, or pose, to another while concentrating on your breathing. There are lots of different poses that you might recognize the name of, including the Sun Salutation. This style of yoga is typically performed in an overheated room so that you sweat profusely.

Ashtanga Yoga: A very detailed type of yoga, it encompasses a number of series made up of individual poses. The moves become progressively more difficult, so you have to learn them in the correct sequence so you can slowly develop the skills necessary to handle the more complex positions.

Power Yoga: This is 21st century yoga, a combination of breathing techniques mixed with fast paced yoga moves.

These yoga techniques offer more of the heart-healthy benefits of aerobic exercise than the usual kinds of yoga. You won't experience the full benefits of an aerobic workout. However, you still get the dual advantages of aerobic fitness along with the muscle toning and flexibility of yoga. This will no doubt help your weight loss efforts. As well, these yoga routines are ideal if you're too time pressed to handle more than one kind of workout.

On the surface, aerobics and yoga have few similarities. Regardless, adding some yoga training to your regular workout can enhance its effects. 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.

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