Yoga is the perfect low impact exercise for beginners. Whether you’re dusting off the old treadmill, getting back into weight lifting, or starting a fitness program anew, supplementing your new exercise regime with yoga is a no brainer.
Let’s just go ahead and say this. Yoga can definitely lead to weight loss. Just ask any one of the hundreds of students we’ve had, who have written to tell us about their amazing weight loss stories.
Forget about the type of yoga you’ve seen in magazines, with depictions of cross-legged devotees sitting on the beach.
We’re talking yoga the Body By Yoga way, which means we’re talking about the kind of yoga that will make you sweat!
Now some of you may be thinking, but darn (remember, we’re yogis – we don’t curse), aren’t there other types of workouts that make you sweat even more. Why is yoga so special?
Well hold your horses.
First of all, active yoga, with an emphasis on fitness burns a whole lot more calories than you think. Expect to burn between 200 and 450 calories per hour with our workouts (more if you’re not a woman, and even more if you weigh over 140 pounds).
AND, not only will it help you prevent injury, which will keep you in the game longer, it will also help relieve those newly sore muscles. There’s nothing worse than finally getting the momentum to workout on a consistent basis, only to get an injury to derail your gains.
That’s the thing about yoga. It’s almost unfair to tell you how many calories it burns when it does so many other things too, including injury prevention and strength building – which helps you burn calories long after your workout is done.
When it comes to using yoga for weight loss, you can workout with yoga exclusively, or you can use it to supplement the rest of your fitness program.
Although we’re raving lunatics when it comes to yoga and we like, really like it (heck, we even started a company about it), we would never tell you to just do yoga. In fact, we would never tell you to just do anything.
Yoga is so useful because it corrects the imbalances from the rest of your routine. Spend all of your time in the gym lifting weights? Use yoga to target muscles that you’ll never be able to hit with conventional resistance exercises. Like to play golf or tennis? You can use yoga to workout your weaker side and to improve the power in your swing. Like to burn calories by running? Well, you get the idea. Yoga can help.
That being said, we’ve had many students who achieved mammoth results using yoga workouts alone. Many people find that they’re able to “stay in the game” longer when yoga is their primary choice of exercise. That’s because it’s so low key that you don’t need any equipment and you don’t need to get in your car to go to the gym. And it’s less intimidating than intense cardio classes. Nothing can put a damper in your new fitness enthusiasm than a boot camp that whoops your behind.
Perhaps most importantly, it’s low impact – which means your joints, knees, and ligaments do not take as much of a beating.
Yoga helps beginners prevent injuries in a few different ways, including strengthening your support muscles, improving your balance, and increasing your flexibility.
Some of the most common injuries to beginners in fitness are low back problems. What most people don’t realize is that a weak lower back is a symptom of a weak core. Yoga is great at strengthening your core without putting your low back at risk for injury and pain.
According to WebMD, the other most common type of injuries are a sprained ankle, shoulder injury, knee injuries, and shin splints – ailments that yoga is really good at correcting. There are many balancing poses in yoga that simultaneously strengthen your ankles while strengthening your legs and core. And by improving the range of mobility in your shoulders and back through greater flexibility, you’re warming up the “rubber band” before it gets a chance to snap.
If you’re brand new to working out, or restarting a fitness regimen, you’re probably going to be pretty sore the first few days. In fact, you’re probably going to be pretty sore after your first yoga workout as well.
Instead of spending days, or even weeks out of the gym, beginners can use yoga to supplement their fitness journey, especially during their “rest” days.
The thing about yoga is that you can still get a great workout in, even, when you’re sore. And the best part is that it’s going to feel really good. That’s because a good yoga workout will stretch and strengthen your muscles at the same time. And since yoga works different muscles than traditional exercises, you are not in any danger of “over” doing it. On the contrary, doing yoga before, after, and in between workouts can only help your muscles recover.
Aside from soothing those sore muscles after a tough workout, yoga can help boost your recovery too. It does that by lengthening your muscles, which helps reduce the lactic acid buildup you get after a tough workout. The faster your body gets rid of that lactic acid, the sooner you are ready for your next workout.
Practicing yoga can also help boost your mobility. Why should you care, fellow weight loss seeker? Increased mobility affects new fitness aficionados in two ways. It increases your power – which gives you the ability to run faster, jump higher, and lift more, and it puts some “oil” on your ligaments – which means you can do all of the above with less of a chance of injury.
We’ve written an earlier article which details the highly effective benefit that yoga has for weight loss as a result of mindfulness. You should read it. In a nut shell, yoga is really good at getting one in tune with their body. Simply put, it makes you pay more attention. You start understanding what parts you need to work on, and it helps you keep your eye on the “prize.”
Yoga teaches you to stay in the present and to think about the action at hand, even during the course of a difficult pose. It’s that type of mind control that helps condition weight loss seekers to stay on a nutritious path.
Finally, yoga helps reduce stress, which for most of us, means less cravings, less comfort food, and less trips to the pantry.
Speaking of the mental aspect of yoga, which is one of the attributes that separates yoga from nearly every other type of exercise, yoga helps you focus on the challenges at hand. The mental strength you get from holding uncomfortable yoga poses is critical for getting through the rest of your challenging workouts. There’s a reason that slogan, “keep calm and carry on,” took off. Regular yoga practices teach you to take a deep breath, and fight through the hard parts.
Ever go on a jog and want to give up? Ever put in a workout DVD only to hit the pause button when the going gets tough? Yoga helps us overcome those roadblocks and helps us “sprint” through the tough part of any workout.
It’s attributes such as these that have made yoga such an important part of anyone’s weight loss journey. Not only will you burn calories and strengthen your muscles, but you will also reduce stress, prevent injuries, boost muscle recovery in between workouts, condition your mind to make better decisions, and focus past the challenging parts of a workout – all of which will lead to greater weight loss!