Guest Author - Terri Johansen
Yoga has been around for thousands of years. It was originally practiced as a path to spiritual enlightenment, not a religion. That being said, we realize yoga is more than a new fitness craze to give you a great body. However, yoga is now found in most gyms, studios, and private classes. Does yoga burn fat? This is not a simple question to answer but for sure, doing yoga will make your life better.
Here are some facts on yoga, fat loss, and calorie burn:
•There are many different styles of yoga and some of the more active and powerful forms can actually burn fat and lots of calories. But these are not for the faint hearted. Also, these forms of yoga have been linked with an increase in yoga injuries. When you are moving too fast or are too hot it is not easy to keep your focus on alignment.
•These styles include Vinyasa, Bikram or Hot Yoga and what is commonly known as Power yoga, (as well as other individual names). All of these styles are basically the same. The body remains in constant motion, as you move quickly from one pose to another. Often these classes will last for up to 90 minutes.
•So in regard to calorie burn, longer harder yoga is the way to go.
•These faster paced classes may burn calories and fat. But keep in mind that developing a sense of awareness and listening to what your body really needs will more likely come through an unhurried, contemplative class.
•Research studies have shown that increased muscle mass effects weight loss. Muscle burns fat, so the more muscle mass you have the more calories you will burn.
•Yoga can provide intense resistance training exercise because your own body provides the resistance. Every yoga pose uses your own body weight and by holding yoga poses longer your muscle strength does increase.
•The changes that you derive from yoga are often mental and emotional; therefore you may become more aware of how you are living. Perhaps you will become more conscious of what and how much you eat. Yoga practice integrates your mind, body, and spirit. This assimilation often encourages people to face weight loss with a different perspective.
•Many yoga pose are very effective for improving digestion and elimination. Some poses actually give your internal organs a gentle massage, twisting poses are especially good.
•Hormones regulate all the body’s functions including your metabolism. Yoga can help stabilize hormones as well as your metabolic rate, how fast you digest and burn up the food in your body. Once your hormones are in balance you may have less anxiety and depression which can directly affect weight as we tend to eat more when we are depressed.
•Yoga will help you develop a stronger core. This will affect your posture. Standing straighter will make you look thinner. But more importantly it will make you feel good about your body image.
•Yoga poses build muscular strength and the more body weight resistance poses you do the stronger you become. Even if you don’t lose weight the muscles in your body are toned, lean, and strong. Add that to standing straighter and you can actually look like you’ve lost 10 lbs. or more.
•One of the major tenets of yoga practice is breathing exercises. These exercises help to clear and relax the mind. It is a lot easier to make the right choices when you are not tied up in knots and are thinking straight.
So to wrap it all up yes, yoga can help you burn calories and fat, just not always in the way we think. Yoga is less obvious, more subtle, but powerful in many ways.
Always check with a medical professional before starting a yoga practice or any type of exercise. Live well, practice yoga.
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