Is yoga good for weight loss?
No, except for specific yoga styles.
Most yoga practices are not ideal for triggering weight loss, at least not for losing several kilos. Yoga is fundamentally not a weight-loss-oriented practice. Although today yoga styles are abundant, and many of them are becoming more and more athletic, the traditional yoga practice is not suited for losing weight.
This is due to the fact that yoga is, first and foremost, a practice to maintain health and mobility, a sort of very affordable gymnastic for people to practice daily. On that occasion, it resembles a lot of Qi gong, another very popular and affordable gymnastic.
On another level, yoga is also a sacred practice to cultivate a deep connection between the body and the mind. To achieve this, a lot of focus is made on the breathing of the practicing person. This is why many yoga teachers are talking about breathing yoga, as for some yoga styles, breathing is not just to ensure the vital action of oxygenation of the tissues but also to calm the mind, relieve pain, raise body awareness, and much more.
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Some yoga masters have proved to be able to control the vasoconstriction and vasodilation of specific arteries or their body throughout years of intensive yoga practice.
Of course, this is a very extreme example, and 99,99% of yoga practitioners will never reach such abilities.
More realistically, yoga for most people is a good maintenance practice and depending on the style, it can more or less contribute to controlling weight.
How different types of yoga work
Today, yoga styles have grown in numbers impressively. It’s hard to list them all if we take into account not only the very famous ones but also the very local new styles of practice.
We reached the point where almost anyone can create his yoga style just by putting a fancy name on his yoga practice. There is nothing wrong with that, yoga is not and should not be a registered trademark, but those people are doing it mostly for marketing purposes, as everything that has “yoga” mentioned in the name sells better, even if it’s at the cost of certain honesty about the practice.
Without going into these styles, we can say that yoga styles are predominantly classified in strong or soft styles.
For example, Ashtanga yoga is one of the strong yoga styles, therefore, Ashtanga practitioners are most likely to be physically quite fit.
On the other hand, Hatha yoga is one of the soft yoga styles, therefore, Hatha yoga practitioners can be overweight.
That’s one of the beauties of yoga, it is a practice that suits all types of people and physical conditions depending on the style we choose.
Now, even if most yoga styles are not suitable for weight loss, it doesn’t mean that they are not a good supplement to other physical activities for losing weight, quite the contrary.
What are the benefits of Yoga?
Practiced alone or with other physical activities, yoga is a great way to keep good physical abilities like balance, coordination, and mobility.
These abilities are essential for everyone, particularly for overweight people, to prevent injuries.
Nowadays, most people intensively lack physical exercise, trapped by a daily routine full of stress, responsibilities, work, and commuting.
The problem is not new. The situation was already worsening in the last few decades with the constant growth of crowded cities, and then, in 2020, the worst of the worst came to us: covid lockdowns.
In only a couple of months, millions of people already lacking physical exercise stopped doing any physical activities.
All sorts of sports facilities have been forced to shut down:
- Soccer fields
- Tennis courts
- Running Tracks
- Swimming Pools
Around the globe, like never seen before in human history, the world literally froze in place, in quarantine mode.
In certain parts of the world, people got detained at home for several months, as if they were in jail, without any possibility of going out and exercising. This drove many to madness and created severe illnesses, including a dramatic increase in obesity and bad physical condition.
Therefore, in this post-apocalypse time, it’s more than ever vital to return to healthier habits, which imply regular physical activity like yoga.
What is the best way to lose weight?
If you are suffering from excessive weight, yoga can be a good starter to prepare your body for other physical practices for weight loss.
But before losing weight, it’s essential to know that there are many ways to do it, and many are unhealthy. Most overweight people don’t know that, as they just want to lose weight no matter how, and it can lead to catastrophic results.
While you can’t be overweight and healthy, you can be fit and unhealthy. Thus, looking to drop your extra kilos is a good idea, but it should not be at the expense of your health.
Furthermore, there is no best way to lose weight healthily or said differently, the best way to lose weight healthily is unique to each individual, situation, and environment.
Losing weight by damaging your health is quick and easy, but losing weight while improving your health is long and complex. This is the hard truth that many health therapists and coaches will never publicly admit, as it is bad for business.
This is an apparent betrayal of the Hippocratic oath which is at the base of our profession, and therefore should never be done.
This is why, if you want to lose weight healthily, we advise you to get the help of a holistic health expert, who will be able, by extensive knowledge and skills, to analyze everything and determine the best personalized weight loss program to not only lose weight healthily but also to make the weight loss a lasting result.
Aside from that, the effort should be focused on preventing overweight as it is always easier to prevent than to treat.
That starts with promoting physical exercise, teaching the importance of balance, coordination, and mobility, and increasing access to various indoor and outdoor physical activities.
That would be an excellent step towards better collective health.
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