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What Is the Best Yoga for Weight Loss?

Yoga can complement a weight loss program.
Yoga may help individuals achieve weight loss.
It might be best to start with gentle yoga before advancing to yoga to lose weight.
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  • Written By: Marjorie McAtee
  • Edited By: W. Everett
  • Last Modified Date: 22 April 2014
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Yoga for weight loss can be a great complement to a weight loss program. While many experts believe that yoga by itself doesn't burn enough calories to effect significant weight loss, the physical and psychological benefits of yoga can help make losing weight easier. Yoga can help build muscle, raise metabolism and burn calories. It can also help practitioners feel more in touch with, and more accepting of, their own bodies.

Most weight loss experts don't believe that yoga alone can cause significant weight loss. That's because even the most strenuous forms of yoga, such as Power Yoga or Ashtanga Yoga, don't burn as many calories as do aerobic activities, like jogging, cycling, and swimming. Nevertheless, yoga can be a great addition to a weight-loss program. Yoga can help build muscles, for increased strength, endurance and metabolism. It can also lengthen muscles, for increased flexibility.

In addition, many practitioners and teachers of yoga believe that yoga helps practitioners feel more in touch with their own bodies. This enhanced sense of self-awareness can help practitioners feel more acutely the benefits of a healthy diet and regular exercise. Yoga for weight loss can help practitioners develop a more accepting, self-loving attitude. Yoga can help eliminate the negative self-talk and low self-esteem that can derail even the most well-intentioned weight loss efforts. Practicing yoga for weight loss can help practitioners feel more centered and more in control of their own lives and bodies.

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Practitioners and weight-loss experts agree that, for those seeking to add yoga to a weight-loss program, there are two types of yoga that are most effective. Both Ashtanga Yoga and Power Yoga, an Americanized version of traditional Kundalini yoga, can help build muscle, and both have aerobic benefits. Ashtanga Yoga may be best for those seeking to add a home yoga practice to their weight-loss program, since it focuses on a simple series of poses that can be easily learned and repeated at home, without the help of an instructor or video. Power Yoga combines Kundalini breathing practices with strenuous yoga poses to build muscle, burn calories, and raise metabolism.

Yoga, however, can be more strenuous than many beginners may believe. Beginners are often advised to begin with an introductory vinyasa flow course, rather than a more strenuous Ashtanga or Power Yoga practice. Vinyasa flow yoga links yoga poses together into a practice that advocates constant movement, for a more aerobic workout that also builds muscle strength.

Those who wish to practice yoga for weight loss can begin with this often gentler practice, to help condition their bodies for the more strenuous poses of Ashtanga or Power Yoga. Instructors stress the important of patience when practicing yoga for weight loss. A patient, self-accepting attitude helps keep weight loss and fitness goals realistic.

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