We often get asked whether Yoga helps to loose weight. The short answer is: yes but it requires a bit more than a few stretches a couple of times a week.
Society’s standard answer to loosing weight is often limited to workout and diet. And they are important factors. However, Yoga teaches us that well-being is not only dependent on physical exercise and nutrition but also our overall mental and emotional well-being. From a holistic point of view mind, body and soul influence each other. Think like this: An overworked mind will be an additional factor of stress when we change our diet to a more healthy one and want to increase our resilience to little food desires just as a low-energy soul will not be able to lift us up when things become a bit more challenging. A healthy body is built on body, mind and soul and it is important that we take care of all of them.
And this is where Yoga comes in: Yoga practice does not only work our bodies but contributes to a sense of relaxation and ease where mental and emotional body can find rejuvenation. But what is the right Yoga practice when we want to shed a few pounds? Choosing the right class asks for the golden middle way: while it might seem as if a physically demanding Yoga class such as Power Yoga and Vinyasa is the best choice, it is of little benefit to our well-being if it leaves us frustrated after 90 minutes of catching up. On the other hand, choosing a sequence of Yin classes might have beautiful effects on calming the nervous system and our mental and emotional bodies but it does not necessarily contribute to our fitness. A combination of both with a physical demand according to where our fitness is at is key. So keeping the right balance between physical exercise and mental and emotional well-being is a good strategy.
And apart from that: think continuity! The path of Yoga might not be the fast track to a slim bikini shape but if done with consistency it is by far more sustainable. If the body is brought in shape piece by piece and mind and soul are taken care of at the same time, the results are able to last longer. Habits are changed slowly and not abruptly (think new years resolution) and we can remain in harmony instead of pushing through goals with the risk of frustration and setbacks that come with it. All this fosters our resilience in times where old habits try to sneak in and we are tempted to fall back.
Another good idea can be to get a coach, a nutrition specialist or even a Yoga teacher who can provide support and tips. Even a group of like-minded can be beneficial and keep us motivated.
So, roll out the mat and enjoy the beautiful benefits Yoga can bring – on a physical, mental, emotional level and for our holistic and sustainable well-being.