Can Yoga Help You Lose Weight?

While yoga lacks the instant calorie-burning power of aerobic exercise, this practice does have weight loss benefits in the long run. Here’s how practicing yoga regularly can make a difference in your weight.

Yoga burns calories, but does it more slowly than more strenuous exercise, with a 150-pound person burning over 300 calories over an hour of walking at 3 mph, but only 150 calories from an hour of yoga. Still, yoga has definite weight loss benefits. According to fitness instructor and director of Radius Yoga in North Redding, Mass. Dana Edison, “Yoga is a phenomenal way to put you in touch with your body the way nothing else can, and yes, it can help you lose weight.”

In 2005, medical researcher (and practicing yogi) Alan Kristal embarked on a study of the weight loss effects of yoga. A trial involving 15,500 healthy men and women between the ages of 45 and 55 recorded the physical activities of the participants as well as their weight. Kristal reported that, “Those practicing yoga who were overweight to start with lost about 5 pounds; during the same time period those not practicing yoga gained 14 pounds.” Kristal attributes yoga’s weight loss power to the mind-body connection.

For quicker weight loss through yoga, you will need to kick up your regular routine. Dr. Lewis Maharam, fellow of the American College of Sports Medicine, gave this advice on how to incorporate calorie burning into your yoga time. “Yoga is a sophisticated tradition with physical, relaxation and breathing exercises. [But] aerobic exercise is what helps you lose weight.

“If someone wants to lose weight in yoga class, they are going to have to be in a class that challenges them. They have to make sure that their heart is going to beat faster.

There’s all different levels of yoga. There is yoga that’s meant for the mind, and there’s power yoga that’s more of an exercise. You’ve got to be sure that you’re doing something more than just a mind experience with relaxing stretches, if you want to lose weight.”

If you’re ready to get started on enjoying all the benefits of yoga, your first class is just $10 at Pura Vida Urban Fitness!

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