“Can I lose weight with yoga?”. “Will yoga give me arms like Madonna?”. I get asked these questions all the time. Although I am a yoga instructor, the personal trainer inside of me is thinking…”Uh, No”! But, the truth is…it CAN help.
The fact is, that in order to really lose weight, you must burn calories through exercise and/or reduce calories you consume. To loose 1lb, you have to shave off 3,500 calories! Depending on what type of yoga class you are taking (and your size), you would typically burn about 150-200 calories in an hour class. This seems significant, but brisk walking would burn double that amount! But, don’t throw your mat out just yet. Keep reading to find out why yoga can get you closer to your goals.
Being Mindful and Body Awareness
Yoga helps you to become more “mindful” which just means that you are thinking about each movement you make and also how your body is involved (body awareness). You will start to pay attention to your breathing and you are suddenly aware of your body, its posture and alignment. Who knew you had such tight hip flexors? Increased body awareness means you are more likely to treat your body right and maybe that means losing weight.
High levels of stress and cortisol (stress hormone) cause us to eat more and gain weight. Well, yoga is proven to reduce stress. The more you focus on your breathing and get your body moving, the less stress you will have.
Dealing with Discomfort
We sometimes feel discomfort during an awkward pose or trying to find our balance. But, that’s when you will feel like a warrior and fight through it. When you regularly go through discomfort and your senses are on the edge…it gives you strength to deal with other difficult situations and courage in other areas of our lives. This might be in the form of saying “No” to those Krispy Kremes at the office or not making eye contact with the cupcakes at your next party.
Yoga CAN Make You Stronger, But You Won’t Look Like Madonna
Yes…Madonna has awesome arms, but she is doing way more than yoga to get those guns. You need to shed body fat and to do this you must alter your diet, increase cardio and lift heavy weights. However, with regular yoga sessions you may start to notice stronger muscles especially your shoulders and triceps. Repeating moves like chaturanga and dolphin each week will definitely make you a little more sculpted!
If you are trying to lose weight, you should start by making healthy changes to your diet and adding regular cardio sessions. But, if you are eager to try yoga, don’t let extra pounds stop you! Give it a try and make it part of your regular exercise routine. You will end up more mindful, reduce stress, increase flexibility and be one step closer to getting Madonna’s arms!