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Boost Your Weight Loss Efforts with Yoga

Jul 17, 2008
Renowned for its capacity to reduce stress, enhance flexibility and improve muscle tone and strength, yoga is not so well known for its contributions to weight loss. Most people don't think of yoga as a way to burn off the calories, so it can be surprising to discover that it can be an effective way to boost your weight loss efforts.

Conventional yoga isn't a vigorous type of exercise. While it conditions and tones your muscles, you're not likely to work up a sweat during a yoga session. However, the fact that your muscles are being given a workout means your body is utilizing calories more effectively. So, cardiovascular exercise will yield better results if you also practice yoga regularly.

Yoga can also give you the discipline you need to stick to a diet and exercise program. It enhances the relationship between the mind and body, giving you the motivation to take better care of yourself. Lack of motivation is a frequent problem among those who want to lose weight, so this is a very important benefit.

Different Schools of Yoga

If you are looking to lose weight through yoga alone, you may want to seek out some of these different yoga classes. Some of these are non-traditional, but will give you the benefits of yoga and cardio exercise at the same time. These styles of yoga include:

Vinyasa yoga - This type of yoga is based on movement from one pose to another while practicing yoga breathing techniques. Sun Salutations are frequently used, but other poses are usually included as well. This is sometimes done in a hot room to increase sweating.

Ashtanga yoga - This is an intricate approach to yoga, integrating six series of individual asanas. They increase in complexity as you progress, so you must perform them in order, improving your skill as you go.

Power yoga - This "westernized" type of yoga features more activity and fast movements alongside of yoga breathing.

These yoga styles will give you many of the benefits of a cardiovascular workout such as increasing heart rate and working up a sweat, much more so than traditional styles of yoga. There is less of a conventional workout than say, an aerobics class, but they give you the best of both worlds. These are great styles for those who are a little too short on time to take two different exercise classes.

It may seem at first glance that aerobics and yoga share little common ground. However, yoga can enhance the benefits seen from aerobics and other cardio workouts and these alternate styles of yoga can combine the benefits of the two. If you are less than enthralled with the results you've gotten from other workouts, adding yoga to your regimen or switching from your current fitness routine to yoga may work well for you.
About the Author
Kim Archer enjoys the health benefits and relaxation of yoga. A great source of information on this restorative practice can be found at Yoga Essentials.
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