Yoga and Weightloss: Why it Works

Browse any major DVD or book retailer and most of the yoga media will have a tag line about yoga and weight-loss.

Here’s a heads up.  Yoga as a way to lose weight is bunk.

Yes, yoga can be a great workout.  “Flow-style” yogas like Power Yoga and Vinyasa work every major muscle group in the body in the first 10 minutes.  (Practice in a heated studio and you’ll find yourself a few pounds lighter just to due water loss.)

Yoga is a great cardio workout.   A single backbend or inversion will get your heart pumping as if you were in cardio kickboxing.

Lift weights?  Head to a yoga class and guaranteed those chaturangas will get you feeling like you’ve been bench pressing 100+ pounds for an hour and a half straight.

And yes, yoga can make you more flexible.

But the weight-loss?  That comes from somewhere else and, in my opinion, is directly related to why yoga works.

Yoga works because it teaches you to love your body exactly as it is.  Yoga doesn’t want to change you.  It can’t change you.  Yoga is simply a method, a style.  But this style, this particular method called yoga, allows you to tap back into your self.  Some people call it spirit, soul, core or center.   Doesn’t matter what you call it, but it’s there and it’s yoga that helps us remember that we all have that resource.

This is how yoga works. It teaches us to re-learn to love our bodies as they are.

We may tell ourselves we go to yoga because we want a work out.  We want to sweat and get strong, flexible or thin.  Maybe we’ve had an injury and yoga is part of physical therapy.  We come to yoga for a lot of reasons.  But stop for a moment and really think about not why you went to your first yoga class, but why you keep going.

Take a moment.

Think about it.

I’ll wait.

We keep going to yoga classes or develop a home practice because it feels good.

Why does it feel good?  Because in that 60 or 75 or 90 minutes we are given time to reach deep and touch that essential part of ourselves that is beautiful, strong, compassionate and powerful.

Coming to yoga because you want to lose weight is a great way to start.  That’s your body calling out to you, asking to be acknowledged and be made healthy.  But yoga won’t work if you can’t let go of the attachment to the modern media interpretation of what we should look like.

There are plenty of beautiful, strong, muscular and curvy yogis out there.  They shine and are beautiful because they love their bodies as they are.  They care for their bodies by living their yoga.

Once you learn that, once you learn how to love yourself as you are, in the moment, then change can happen.  Maybe the change manifests itself as weightloss.  Maybe it’s just that you don’t care any more because you feel good.   The physical shape of your body no longer matters.

It doesn’t matter because you are healthy.

You are strong.

You are beautiful.

And that’s how yoga works.

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4 responses to “Yoga and Weightloss: Why it Works

  1. Good post, something to think about as i get back into yoga myself.

    • Thanks D! It’s been something I’ve been marinating with for a while, but have just recently started finding the words to express it. I hope to further explore and refine my thoughts on it, so this might become a recurring topic here.

  2. Amen!!!

  3. Pingback: how yoga works – Bikram Yoga Is Not Hot

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