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Can Yoga Stretching Contribute to Weight Loss?

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Yoga stretching can help you lose weight in several ways. You're more able to lose weight under certain physical and psychological conditions that yoga can help you achieve. There are different types of yoga, which will yield different amounts of caloric burn and muscle building. Here are some ways yoga can facilitate your weight loss and some ways to maximize the benefits of a yoga practice.

Calorie Burning

Even slow stretching will burn more calories than just sitting still. You won't burn as much as if you are doing aerobic exercise, but if you change nothing else and start yoga, you'll either gain less weight, maintain when you've been gaining or lose when you've only been able to maintain.

Improved Metabolism

With increased calorie burning as well as other yoga stretching benefits, your metabolism will improve. Many moves in yoga help digestion, by helping the body's energy return to a more balanced state.

Decreasing Pain

When your body is more comfortable and healing from any injury, you are more able to do other exercises such as weight lifting and aerobics. Yoga is excellent for injury prevention, flexibility and pain alleviation.

Stress Reduction

Under stress, weight loss is more difficult. If you've ever watched weight loss competitions on television, you'll notice that when some contestants are working out 5 times a day, they sometimes don't lose weight. If the body is too stressed, it will think it's in crisis and will store fat. Yoga helps reduce stress and helps the body and mind stay calm.

Muscle Building

Many yoga stretches can be very strenuous and help with muscle building. The warrior pose, for instance, helps build muscles in the legs. The sun salutations can also build muscles in the legs and arms. Even the stretches requiring the arms to be raised for a period of time can help build the biceps and triceps. Muscles require the body's metabolism to work harder to maintain the muscle. The more muscle you have in your body, the faster your metabolism will be.

Choosing the Best Yoga Practice for Weight Loss

Some types of yoga are better for weight loss than others. Flow yoga can be closer to an aerobic workout, thus increasing the calorie burn. Iyengar yoga has poses that focus on strength and balance, which can help build muscles.

Importance of a Well-Rounded Exercise Program

While yoga has its advantages, the best way to lose weight is to create a well-rounded exercise program. Your exercise regimen should include aerobics 3 to 5 times a week, muscle building 2 to 4 times a week and stretching every day. If while you're doing yoga, your heart rate gets up to a target heart rate for weight loss, it can count as aerobic exercise. If you feel a soreness in your muscles after yoga, it can count for muscle building in that area. You might notice that as you start working out, the yoga will serve these purposes more than later on when you're in better shape. A solid yoga practice, however, will always give physical benefits.

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