Yoga Weight Loss: Not By Bread Alone

I think that there’s a deep, unspoken desire among many who practice yoga that there will be bestowed upon them a yoga weight loss benefit. It ain’t necessarily so. Now, following the guidelines set forth on the stone tablets housed at the Mayo Clinic and enshrined at WebMD, there is probably no way you’ll ever get your heart rate up to the recommended levels for the lengths of time mandated in almost any style of yoga — with the possible exception of Bikram yoga perhaps. I have an opinion that I’ll save for the end of this piece. Writer and blogger Christa Avampato set forth to share with her readers her personal experiences and gave it the old college try. Here is a piece she recently wrote for The Daily Meal.

Yoga Weight Loss: Not By Bread Alone

The Mayo Clinic suggests 150 minutes a week of moderate aerobic activity or 75 minutes a week of vigorous aerobic activity.

yoga weight loss

Yoga weight loss may not be achieved directly through heart rate elevation, but more subtly through lifestyle changes that accompany long term practice. Photo by Thomas Lammeyer c/o Photos.Com.

Aerobic activity is achieved when you reach a heart rate that is 65% to 85% of your maximum heart rate. WebMD has a nifty calculator.
Can yoga get our hearts pumping enough for weight loss?
A friend of mine recently went to power yoga (a vigorous style of yoga) and used a heart rate monitor throughout the class. She was very mindful of pushing herself a bit further than normal in hopes of making her favorite class into the aerobic workout she wants it to be. Though the class was certainly filled with power, the data from the heart rate monitor showed that she never reached her target heart rate.
While yoga is an excellent way to relieve stress and calm the mind, is it enough to help in the battle of weight loss? My friend’s experiment suggests it’s not, however there are a number of other benefits that come from a yoga practice that make it an excellent companion to aerobic exercise for those looking to shed some pounds.

Christa Avampato outlines four ways yoga contributes to weight loss at thedailymeal.com:

My thoughts on yoga weight loss center on the global changes a person undergoes in their practice of yoga over many years. There’s more to health than simply getting your heart rate up for so many minutes each day. It’s more involved than that. How you see yourself in the world moment by moment effects your physiologic responses to daily events. Are you at peace or are you feeling threatened all the time. Big difference, no matter how many miles you log each week or how high you get your heart rate. People who practice yoga meditation are just plain healthier than average. Period. There’s more to health than just cranking up your heart rate to the target zone for so many minutes a week. I’ve seen too many people on treadmills watching the news or reading a book. Their body is in it but their mind and spirit certainly aren’t. Their head is still at the office. Folks, there’s more to a healthy body than just doing exercise —  it requires a healthy mind too. Yoga meditation acknowledges that inseparable union. Will you lose weight with yoga and meditation? Most probably, assuming you follow a path that leads you to better lifestyle habits in the process. Can you do it in 3-6 months? Maybe. Who knows? Can you do it in 1-3 years? Probably. It all depends where you start and how far you travel your own individual road of yoga meditation. The longer you travel your path, the closer you’ll get to your own individual spiritual and physical ideal.

I know I was a bit long-winded, but hey, I needed to say it. Let me know what you think about this issue by dropping a comment below. You can also click the like button and share this discussion with friends.

Yoga is a light, which once lit, will never dim. The better your practice, the brighter the flame.                —  B.K.S. Iyengar

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