Yoga holds many potential benefits for nearly all people. It can help prevent disease and mitigate the effects of aging. Yoga adds to the quality of life for every person who practices for any length of time. And Power Yoga can be incredibly helpful if you are seeking to subtract, too.
Start Your Engines
The most obvious way that Power Yoga supports weight loss is by boosting the metabolism. The steady 60-90 minutes of flowing, continuous motion stokes the internal fires. This translates to better digestion and absorption of nutrients.
This stoking increases ones base metabolic rate. This means that you burn more calories throughout the day than you would if you did not practice Yoga.
Power Yoga, because of the long holds, repetition, use of bodyweight, and dynamic action, build lean muscle mass. These are muscles that appear toned, are strong when needed, and can relax completely when not engaged.
Having more lean muscle mass aids in burning fat. Because muscle weighs more than fat, you may not notice a huge difference on the scale for a while, but you will be increasing strength, tone, and energy levels.
Stress is Worse than Cake
One major benefit of practicing any kind of Yoga is that it reduces stress. When we are stressed, we produce hormones to rev up the body and put us on edge. Thats helpful if we need to run away or fight for our safety, but those hormones also shut down digestion, metabolism, and immunity. Stress also stimulates the production of certain fat cells (triglycerides).
Over time, being chronically stressed actually makes us fatter, and is more detrimental to our long-term health than eating an occasional sweet treat. Yogas ability to reduce the production of stress hormones and relax our nervous systems is just as important for weight loss as the calories burned in class.
Another benefit of Yoga for weight loss is that is encourages mindfulness. When we are more present, we are more likely to take care of our bodies. This means we are more committed to exercising and getting enough sleep. It also means that we are more likely to make healthy food choices.
When I am really tuned into my body, I know exactly what it needs to be truly nourished, and I can plan my meals accordingly. I also can tell when I have reached the point of enough-ness, without having to get to that stuffed place most of us mistake for full.
Yoga allows me to be present with my emotional experiences, rather than trying to stuff them down with food.
A Balanced Approach
If your sole goal is to lose weight, you may wish to add in exercise. While Power Yoga will fire your metabolism and burn some calories, it can be a slow process. Power Yoga only burns about half as many calories (per minute) as intense exercise.
So if you have a lofty fitness goal, consider including cardio and strength training. The Yoga will be a nice complement to help you build long, lean muscles, improve flexibility, and prevent injury. And develop the mental calm and focus to help you stay committed to your goals.
The Sweet Center
The sweet and sneaky trick about Yoga is that while you may loose pounds if you are currently above your bodys natural healthy weight zone; the more important benefits are intangible. A huge part of Yoga is cultivating self-love and self-acceptance.
So that whatever your size, you can love and accept your body as it is. Then slimming down becomes a bonus, and is no longer the only measure of success.
Power Yoga can help you lose weight because it boosts the metabolism, builds lean muscle, reduces stress, and helps you make mindful eating choices. But most of all, Yoga can help you learn to love yourself exactly as you are.