We all come to yoga for different reasons. Some want to reduce stress, others want to gain strength… and many of us want to lose or control our weight. When I invite people to try yoga, they often ask me if they’ll lose weight… my answer is “it depends” on how you practice.
So, what can you do to give your metabolism a boost and burn more calories when practicing yoga?
“Here are my top 5 tips to speed up weight loss through yoga”
- Get moving right away. Start the practice with a warm up: sun salutations are a great way to get the joins lubricated, warm up the body, get the heart rate up and start waking up your metabolic system.
- Include all groups of postures: generally speaking, backbends are energizing, forward bends are more relaxing, standing postures help build leg strength, balances are great for core strength, and seating postures help with flexibility. If you want to lose weight, you need a combination of all of them to move your body in all directions, get your energy flowing and your heart rate up.
- Choose heat-creating postures with long holds. My favorite postures to build muscle and burn more calories are Virabhadrasana (Warriors I, II and III), Utthita Parsvakonasana (Extended Side Angle Pose), Utkata Konasana (goddess or Horse Pose) and Phalakasana (Plank Pose). Hold them for at least 5 long breaths.
- Add some interval training concepts. The idea is to mix up some parts of more mellow practice (where your heart rate is low) with some parts where your heart rate goes up to 70-90% of your capacity. I find it useful to add some jumping jacks, push-ups or mountain climbers in between postures or flows.
- Consider using dumbbells. You can add some weight lifting while you hold some postures: for example, you can add some bicep curls when you’re in crescent pose, or you can so some tricep extensions when you’re in chair pose.
If weight loss is your goal, yoga can be a great ally. It will help you build muscle, increase your heart rate and burn fat. At the same time, I always remind my clients that “abs are made in the kitchen”: ensure you watch your diet (read article “I Am Practicing Yoga Daily And Not Losing Weight”) and drink plenty of water.
I’d love to hear from you! Have you ever lost weight with yoga? Find me at @soniaribascoach and share!
Happy slimming down!