Yoga is great for reducing stress, increasing flexibility, and touts a myriad of other benefits, but what’s the deal with yoga and weight loss? As you probably know by now, if you’re turning to exercise for weight loss, the process will be that much more manageable if you love the exercise you’re doing. So if you’re a new yogi looking to lose weight, what should you know?
“Having a connected body and mind is the essence of yoga, and it can help people lose weight,” says Rebecca Pacheco, yoga instructor and star of Women’s Health’s With Yoga workout DVD. “From curbing emotional eating to getting the most out of a workout, the ability to be fully present and enjoy the full strength and capacity of your mind and body working together is—I believe—the key reason yoga supports weight loss.” In every goal in your life, it’s your mindset that sets the tone for success, she says.
You can infuse your yoga practice with what Pacheco calls a “fiery doses of fitness” in order to up the calorie burn. “To add a dose of muscle toning, fat burning, and improved fitness to your yoga routine, opt for poses that focus on large muscle groups,” she says. Think: lunge-like poses such as warriors one and two. Rebecca Pacheco's full flow series can be accessed by purchasing WH's With Yoga DVD. Another way you can feel the burn is by practicing a vigorous vinyasa flow that keeps you constantly moving. And if you want to put more focus on your core, incorporate poses like boat pose that will light your abs on fire.
Pancheco has been practicing for over 20 years and has helped thousands become fitter, stronger, and healthier with yoga through classes and her WH's With Yoga DVD. Time and time again she hears women who want to lose weight participate in negative self-talk. You don’t have to “get rid of” parts of yourself or make yourself small, she says. Rather than focus on what you want to lose or how you want to look, she suggests directing your energy toward how you feel. Whether that’s stronger, more confident, energized courageous or happy, those feelings can anchor your approach to yoga and working out in general.