Lose Weight with Yoga

By: Michael Bens

Yoga might not be the first thing anyone thinks of when they think of an exercise to help them lose weight. Think again – though the results may not be as fast as with other types of exercise, the long term benefits of yoga (in terms of weight loss and overall health) are great.

Yoga is a system of exercise that is thousands of years old. Conceived in India, it is now practiced world wide. The type of yoga that is most often practiced in the west is known as ‘hatha’ yoga – however, this is by no means the only type of yoga. Others include kundalini, which involves breathe work and is quite a bit different from other types of yoga.

Some athletes are rather disparaging of yoga, wondering how something so gentle can cause you to lose weight or significantly increase your fitness level. The fact is, however, that it can, and at the same time, it can increase your concentration, clarity, and sense of well being. There is really no reason not to take up yoga, if you are at all attracted to the idea.

Choose a beginner’s yoga class at first, and go slow – it can be harder than you think. Hatha yoga involves putting yourself into a variety of different positions, some more challenging than others. The goal is not to do them quickly, or to work up a sweat; the goal is to take those few positions and to perfect them – do them as precisely as you possibly can. That way, your body is being trained in a precise skill and discipline, and the position itself can have various benefits for your health and your mind, as well. The different positions have their own benefits. For losing weight, positions that bring the chin down to stimulate the thyroid gland are helpful – such as the classic shoulder stand, for instance. However, yoga in general is helpful for weight loss because it makes you more conscious of your body, of how you hold yourself and how you stand, while it also tones your muscles and makes your body more flexible, easier to move. Even before you start losing weight, yoga can make you look as if you’re thinner and more attractive by getting you to stand up straighter. Some people even claim that yoga has made them taller – one woman claims to have grown a full three inches! Of course, she didn’t really, but once she started to stand up straighter, people responded to her as if she were really taller.

Karen Zebroff, who used to have a TV yoga exercise program, is credited with having brought yoga to the North American public in the 1970s. Yoga literally changed every aspect of her life. She lost weight – about twenty pounds – and the weight she continued to carry was distributed better on her body. As a result of this, the depression she had been experiencing lifted, and she felt better about herself.

Interestingly, though yoga is a great weight loss measure, it’s also used to treat girls with eating disorders such as anorexia. There are several reasons why that approach is effective. First, anorexic girls feel anxious if they can’t exercise, as many of them used over-exercising as a means of weight control. Once they are in treatment, of course, they can’t be allowed to jog or do other exercise that might prevent them from making progress with weight gain. Gentle yoga is different, though. Practiced in a low-impact setting, it can provide some exercise without making an already emaciated girl thinner. Yoga also eases the anxiety of these girls, and it makes them more conscious of their bodies.

In fact, it does the same thing for people with the opposite type of eating disorder – binge eating or compulsive overeating. As a matter of fact, that condition and anorexia are not as different as you might assume. Yes, one causes overweight and the other can bring on starvation, but both stem from a fundamental discomfort with the body and underlying emotional issues. Yoga can help with all of these issues, and if you are looking to lose weight, it can be a great choice for you.

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Authored by Michael Bens. For more great information on weight loss, diets, nutrition, and living a great healthy life style visit Gabae Weight Loss

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