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When we think "weight loss" we usually sprout images of endless hours at the gym or on the treadmill. Cardio is what most people turn to when looking to lose a few pounds and it's no wonder they are unsuccessful; cardio can get repetitive and boring! There are other workouts you can do to help you lose weight and one of them is (drumroll) Yoga! When you think of yoga you might think of relaxation and meditation but I'm hear to tell you that there are many yoga styles that burn calories and can help you lose weight!
Which types of yoga are good for weight loss?
Weight loss is simple. You need to burn more calories than you consume and (ta-da!) you lose weight. Yoga is a physical activity and the general principle is that the more active your yoga session, the more energy you use and the more calories you burn. This is why it's important to choose the right yoga style that will help you lose the most weight.
Vinyasa Yoga (Power Yoga) for Weight Loss
Vinyasa yoga is a style of yoga in which you are constantly moving from one pose to another. This constant movement is a great way to burn calories. By quickly moving poses and hour of Vinyasa yoga can approximately burn 450 calories. When Vinyasa yoga is done at a fast pace it is known as Power yoga. Many of the poses done in Vinyasa yoga will require you to support your own body weight which will target many muscles that running would not and these muscles will get toned. As you tone and build muscle your body will begin to burn more calories throughout the bad, even when you are not working out!
Benefits of Vinyasa Yoga
1. Strength Training: You will be using different muscle groups to support your body which will help build lean muscles throughout your body. The poses give equal attention to all muscle groups throughout the body.
2. Good for the Heart: Since this type of yoga is done at a quicker pace, it will really get your heart pumping so you are getting a cardio workout. Poses combined with breathing and movement will really quicken your heart rate.
3. Improves Flexibility: Vinyasa yoga poses will help to stretch out our muscles and improve your flexibility. This will reduce the stress on your joints that have built up over the course of a stationary lifestyle.
4. Relaxation: Even though this style of yoga is quick and great for weight loss, it will also help you clear your mind and ease the body of stress.
How to get started with Vinyasa Yoga
With yoga you want to have a good instructor and getting started is easy. If you are new to yoga, you'll first need the right yoga clothes and the right yoga mat. Next you have two options, find a local studio with Vinyasa yoga classes or you can invest in a at-home yoga program like yogadownload.com that has experienced instructors and class style follow-along videos.
Related: What to Eat Before and After Yoga for Weight Loss
Ashtanga Yoga for Weight Loss
Another yoga style that is beneficial for weight loss and body toning is Ashtanga yoga. This style is not as quick moving as Vinyasa yoga but it is more focused on strengthening the body and building up those lean muscles. You will have more poses that focus on arm balancing and developing the core so you can still expect to work up a sweat and still burn around 360 calories an hour depending on your body weight and metabolism.
Benefits of Ashtanga Yoga
1. Heart Health: This style of yoga will increase your heart rate and you will break a sweat!
2. Strength Training: With focuses on balancing and holding your body weight, this type of yoga does qualify as a strength training workout.
3. Detoxification: This type of yoga is quick moving, sweat and breathing will expel toxins from your body.
4. Improve Bone Strength: Strength that you build up doing these poses will improve and this will decrease your risks of injury.
How to Get Started with Ashtanga Yoga
Ashtanga yoga classes are typically a little more difficult to find. Rather than taking yoga classes at your local health club, you may need to look for specialized studios. If you can't find a class of a good studio, or if it's too expensive look of at-home yoga classes like those available at YogaDownload.com. If you are new to yoga or at a lower fitness level, starting out with an at-home yoga program will allow you to go at a slower pace and learn the poses rather than falling behind in a physical class. I always recommend starting out with at-home programs before you commit to real classes so you can get a better feel of what to expect and familiarize yourself with the style.
Bikram Yoga/Hot Yoga for Weight Loss
Bikram yoga is another style of yoga that is good for losing weight and toning the body. One important factor that is different about this style of yoga is that it is done in a room that is set to about 105 degrees. Bikram yoga is comprised of 26 different poses and they are preformed in the same order every session of a period of 90 minutes. Many people confuse Bikram yoga with Hot Yoga, the two are not the same thing. Hot yoga is usually set to varying temperatures and can be comprises of many different poses and combinations or poses. Not studios will offer Hot Yoga as it is less strict and more friendly and fun rather than being super serious and focused like traditional Bikram yoga. Bikram is the traditional form of Hot Yoga but there are many different styles.
Benefits of Hot Yoga
1. Detoxification: No other yoga will get you sweating like Hot yoga. This heavy sweating will help you flush toxins from the skin.
2. Heart Health: Good for the heart! Hot yoga will elevate your heart rate, especially with the heat.
3. Improves Breathing: The heat, flexibility, and breathing combination will help you breath deeper and relax the body.
4. Greater Flexibility: The extra heat heats up our muscles and forces them to relax allowing you to go deeper in your stretches.
Getting Started with Hot Yoga
Hot yoga will need to be done in a studio because it is difficult and expensive to get the heat in your home to to the right temperature. With it's increasing popularity, most studios will offer some form of Hot Yoga. Hot yoga requires a different attire than regular yoga so be sure to prepare in advance.
Related: What to Wear and How to Prepare for Hot Yoga
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