Many people have in mind that yoga is a relaxed activity and that its practice does not help us to lose weight, but nothing could be further from the truth. To make the transition from a sedentary life with a diet rich in "junk food", to an active and healthy lifestyle, it is important that we pay attention to both our diet and exercise, and at this point, yoga can help us.
Benefits of doing yoga to get fit and lose weight
As we saw in our post about the benefits of yoga, this activity offers great benefits to the body and mind. The regular practice of yoga is the star activity to develop control and body awareness, helping you to discover yourself and know your limits, and above all, challenge them! In addition, the practice of sport helps to develop discipline and perseverance: two qualities that will help to cope with stress and reduce anxiety, control emotional hunger and help us to listen to our body.
Thus, when yoga is practiced regularly, it is able to provide benefits such as increased elasticity, physical strength, greater concentration, endurance, energy, and help to lose weight progressively.
In addition, as it is an activity that is done slowly and in a quiet environment, it is considered that the risk of injury is relatively low, which can be an advantage in case of being overweight.
Yoga burns calories
Yoga, like any sporting activity, involves an expenditure of calories. It is a moderate cardio activity that gets your blood circulation and heart going, and it will depend on the type of yoga you choose to get the calorie burn and metabolic acceleration you need to lose weight.
The more dynamic styles of yoga, such as Vinyasa, Ashtanga or Power Yoga require moving the body to the rhythm of the breath, causing sweating and toning the body in a more obvious way; but more leisurely types of yoga such as Hatha or Kundalani, can also be strong and accelerate your heart rate.
Another alternative that is often considered very suitable for weight loss is the practice of Bikram Yoga: a type based on 26 postures of Hatha Yoga and performed in rooms that reach 42 degrees Celsius - therefore, as the conditions are more intense at high temperatures, before trying it we recommend you consult with your doctor or specialist in case you suffer from any specific medical condition-.
But if what you are looking for is to burn calories, you should keep in mind that in addition to exercising several days a week, it is important to take care of your diet. You should not be obsessed with counting calories, but you should opt for a healthy diet, eating natural products and reducing the intake of sugars.
Work your cardiovascular capacity
Aerobic activity is considered to be that which manages to develop in a subject between 65% and 90% of its heart rate for approximately 20 minutes. The aerobic capacity of each individual will be marked by the heart's ability to pump oxygen as fuel - the greater the volume of oxygen metabolized in the blood, the greater the cardiovascular capacity.
Thus, a healthy person usually has between 60 or 80 beats at rest, while practicing yoga, barely exceed 100 -depending, of course, the type of yoga practiced-. Therefore, yoga is considered an aerobic activity of moderate degree. And, being a moderate exercise, during yoga practices the heart is worked gradually, putting it in tune.
To work in a more focused way to increase your cardiovascular capacity, you can also combine your yoga practices with intense aerobic exercises such as running, fast walking, HIIT workouts or dancing.
Increase your strength and toning
Among the physical benefits of yoga are improved balance, flexibility and mobility. But in addition, all types of yoga help to tone the muscles, as it involves the complete work of the muscles when performing the different asanas.
The practice of yoga helps to increase the flexibility of the joints and reaffirm the muscles, as it helps to work on strength. However, it is important that you choose the type of yoga that best suits your goals, as some styles are more "athletic" than others. Ashtanga, Vinyasa and Power Yoga are considered the styles of yoga that best work on strength!
In Ashtanga Yoga practices the movements are accelerated, there are no breaks between the different postures, but they are performed continuously and fluidly. However, in Vinyasa (also known as Yoga Flow) the asanas follow each other in a smooth and fluid way, creating a pattern. Power Yoga, on the other hand, is an innovative style that is practiced to music and includes different fitness and Pilates movements.
In a yoga session you burn between 250-300 calories, while in other more aerobic disciplines you can burn approximately 450-650; therefore, yoga is an activity that helps to achieve a better state of musculature and flexibility, and it will also be a good partner to lose weight. The key is to be perseverant and try more and more challenging postures -always recognizing one's limits-.
Also, be sure to pay attention to certain healthy changes! Small changes in your routine can help you achieve your goal, such as walking to work, taking the stairs, drinking more water, ... And of course, all this accompanied by a healthy diet.
Choose well your type of yoga, keep practicing, implement the small changes and you will surely notice the results!