When searching for tips and tricks to lose weight, Yoga may be one of the more overlooked suggestions. However, a study on the relation between spiritual practices like Yoga and eating behaviors finds that there is more to Yoga that can benefit one's weight loss journey than you might think. Particularly, practicing yoga enhances mindfulness, helping people grow compassion for themselves and the environment. This often leads to choices that impact one's well-being, such as nutrition and dietary behaviors.
We've previously shared the importance of distancing one's weight loss mentality from practicing Yoga — not because it doesn't work, but because reframing the process into a more positive one can help you go a longer way. Instead of weight loss, for example, think living healthier. Today, we're going to go through some more misconceptions about weight and Yoga, and why they're not true:
Myth #1: Yoga doesn't burn a lot of calories
Calorie-counting is an easy deterrent for most people looking into Yoga as a means to maintain or lose weight. A lot of the different types of Yoga, after all, don't seem to involve the kind of sweating and movement you would associate with more intense workouts, such as cardio. However, most Yoga poses are meant for you to engage specific body parts, which is great for toning the muscles and burning calories.
But really, calories aren't the end-all-be-all of weight loss anymore. The best weight loss programs don't focus too much on calorie-counting, as this approach doesn't tell the whole story when it comes to holistic wellness. A healthier pattern of nutrition, along with adequate sleep, exercise, and water intake, is a much better indicator of overall health. However, for those still insisting on using Yoga to burn calories, several poses like the plank or the chair, that engage your abs, shoulders, and glutes are a great way to do it.
Myth #2: Yoga is just for meditation
We've mentioned how Yoga is great for honing mindfulness, but mistaking mindfulness for meditation is why some people don't view Yoga as a true workout. While some Yoga practices may focus on meditation, it's actually all about increasing mindfulness, being aware of both your body and your mind, and actively engaging the two. This may not seem like an instant weight loss solution, but it's really helpful in getting people into the right mindset.
There's a specific type of Yoga, for example, called "nada Yoga" or the Yoga of sound, that teaches the practice of tuning into the sound of silence. Like most practices that improve mindfulness, practicing Yoga even when you don't intend to meditate is good for your stress levels, as high levels of stress can lead to unhealthy diet behaviors like stress eating.
Myth #3: It's hard for overweight people to hit Yoga poses
Another common deterrent to practicing Yoga and maintaining your weight is the fear that bigger-bodied people may find it difficult to do certain Yoga poses. While some poses can be complex and look intimidating, you can always just start slow using beginner poses. This way, you avoid potential injury, loosen your muscles, and improve flexibility in the long run.
The best thing about Yoga is that you can adjust the routine to fit your body type and age. Aside from those struggling with weight, even older adults can do various Yoga poses with enough practice. Practicing basic standing poses like the mountain pose regularly can help improve posture and balance, while the plank can help strengthen your core and improve upper body strength. As with everything else in life, once you've mastered the basics, you can move onto more complex poses without difficulty.
Written by: Christopher Lewis | Edited & Published by Mikenze Pearsoll of Yoga With Mikenze