Combine Mind-Body Fitness with Cardio Training for Optimal Results
Yoga has been shown to increase muscle tone, strength, endurance, balance, body awareness, relaxation, stress reduction, and self-esteem.
MYTH: Yoga is an “All-in-One” workout
Many students (and teachers) of Yoga like to think that their practice is comprehensive enough to meet all of the body’s needs for physical activity.
FACT: For Weight Loss, Add Cardio
The ACE 2005 Study on Yoga confirmed that the benefits were huge in balance, toning, flexibility, and strength. However, students undertaking intense “Power Yoga” routines incorporating movement did not target aerobic heart rates.
Furthermore, the researchers note the trade-offs involved with trying to morph yoga into something it’s not, stating that any “efforts to boost the cardio benefits of yoga will only result in reduced flexibility and balance benefits.”
The touted weight-loss benefits of Bikram or “Hot” Yoga are often loss of water weight through profuse sweating.
MYTH: Cardio Can Replace Yoga for Weight Loss
Often, fruit metaphors are used to describe the shape of an overweight torso: apples and pears. An apple-shaped student who only does cardio without strengthening, toning, or sculpting will only become a smaller apple.
Some additional form of activity has to be undertaken for the apple to transform into an hourglass.
FACT: Yoga Helps with Toning and Sculpting, Balance, Flexibility, and Strength
A regular yoga practice combined with a normal cardio routine will ultimately get the most bang for your buck.
Instead of various sweaty weights and noisy aerobics classes, achieving weight loss goals can be as simple as a power walk to your neighborhood studio and a blissful, relaxing class.
MYTH: Traditional Workouts Suffice to Lose Weight and Keep it Off
Today’s epidemic levels of obesity in the industrialized world, the prevalence of fad diets and the continuing struggle that most adults have with achieving and maintaining a healthy body weight indicate the need for a drastic change from traditional fitness philosophies.
FACT: A Regimen Including a Form of Mind-Body Fitness is More Likely to Succeed for Long Term Goals.
The primary goal of a regular yoga practice is relaxation. The hormones associated with stress and the eating and sleeping behaviors of people suffering from too much stress can contribute to weight gain. Reducing stress alone can contribute to a student’s ability to shed unwanted pounds.
Yoga also brings a sense of enhanced body awareness that many other practices do not necessarily encourage (e.g., “No Pain, No Gain”), and self-confidence grows incrementally as a student becomes more aware of the incredible things his or her body can do.
Many students find that this self-awareness is inspiration enough to adjust dietary habits, sleep habits and other contributing factors to obesity. When you no longer find yourself at odds with your self-image and body, you are more likely to take proper care of it.
Though official studies are still underway, evidence is already being found that a regular Yoga practice can be the key to maintaining a healthy body weight.
In the 2005 issue of the journal “Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine”, a paper was published that supported this link: In a lifestyle study of 15,500 adults in their 50s, researchers collected information about ten years of participants’ weight history, physical activity, medical history and diet. The study authors found that regular yoga practice was associated with a decreased incidence of age-related weight gain.