Yoga & weight loss- the truth behind it
We live in a world that is completely obsessed with weight loss. Whenever we open social media on our phone, visit our local supermarket, watch tv or read a magazine - we see adverts promising quick and easy ways to lose those extra kilograms.
Pills, shakes, teas, coffees, ready meals, even body wraps, and creams are supposed to help us lose weight effortlessly.
In "Breaking 5 myths about yoga" I mentioned that yoga is a multi-million dollar industry right now and its worth keeps growing every year. It's no surprise that someone decided to get even more out of it and put together yoga & weight-loss. Two hot, well-selling topics - perfect money making machine, isn’t it?
But is that right? Will yoga help you lose weight?
The short answer is yes - yoga can become a way to a slimmer body. But not the way you think it will.
Let me start by telling you that every time I see titles like “Yoga for ABS”, „Yoga for flat stomach” or (the worst I came across so far) “5 simple Yoga exercises to lose belly fat in 1 week” I literally feel pain my heart. There are 2 reasons for that.
- Yoga being trivialised, treated like a regular workout, with the main focus on our physical body. No deep internal work or connecting to our breath required... this is so far from principles of yoga that it shouldn’t be called this way. There’s nothing wrong with a workout where we focus our attention only on our body... but please don’t call it yoga to get more clicks on your video.
It happens that I am in a relationship with a man, who’s passionate about strength training since he was a teenager. During his Personal Trainer career, he worked with an endless number of people who wanted to lose weight, including myself. Andrei (like many, many other reasonable people in the fitness industry) has a strong opinion on programs that advertise losing fat or flattening just one part of the body.
“That’s not how it works, you cannot target fat loss to a specific body part, it is a general drop in body fat. Anyone who’s advertising exercises that are supposed to help the individual lose fat just from the belly or other areas like hips are simply looking to take advantage of the uneducated, quick fix type of person. Also claiming you can lose a lot of weight in one week is unsustainable, and often leads to gaining even more weight than at the starting point” ~ Andrei .So yes ladies, whenever you see this kind of clickbait - stay away.
As I mentioned above - yes, yoga definitely can help you lose weight however not through false promises, shaming your body and encouraging unreasonable beauty standards. So how?
- First - and most importantly- yoga will help you to love yourself the way you are. With all your extra kilograms and other “flaws”. By observing your body on the mat, you will understand that it is capable of a lot of more than you think. This physical body is your home, your temple and the “flaws” are simply unique features that makes you special and different from anyone else.
- Loving and respecting your body is the first step to managing your body weight. Think about it: have you ever heard about anything good build on hate? So how can you have a healthy, strong body, if all you do is complain about it and pointing its flaws?
- Engaging in yoga practice will help you burn more calories than sitting on the sofa. Couple times a week you can choose more energetic types of yoga like Ashtanga, hot yoga or fast peace vinyasa. On other days you might just relax during yin or restorative yoga - although it won’t burn as many calories, it will have a tremendous effect on your mood, making you feel relaxed and happier, less prone to stress-related overeating.
- And now the most important... Living yoga off the mat. Yoga is a lot more than physical asanas. It’s a connection between your body and mind, seeking balance, living kindly, accepting, appreciating, respecting, being genuine, non-judgmental, loving...I bet when I was listing all those features you were thinking about them as a way of acting to the outside world. No, darling. This is how you need to treat yourself. Many people who begin yoga, change the way they eat, rest, spend free time. Implying yoga philosophy into our daily life means better food choices, not intoxicating your body with alcohol every weekend till you drop (nothing bad with a glass of wine though), choosing nature walks rather than busy shopping center... these changes will lead you to a more balanced lifestyle and will help you to get a healthy, strong body.
Losing some body fat might come as a side effect of practicing yoga, but the benefits will be far greater than fitting into smaller size jeans. Better mental health, self-acceptance, no overthinking, calm mind, reduced stress, increased energy and more - all of that you can gain from practicing yoga on and off the mat. And if it happens that you lose some weight on the way - that’s even better right? So please stop believing in magic diets and products where all you lose is money, and start yoga today!
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