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girl-1130386_640You may not associate yoga with weight loss at first, because it seems like too relaxing of an exercise to ever burn enough calories for results. But, that is actually not true. Yoga can quickly become one of the hardest, yet most rewarding, workouts you can add to your exercise regimen.

Yoga is one of the only exercises that effectively melds the body with the mind. Yoga is all about being in the moment – enjoying the present, letting go of everything that came before, and not worrying about what is due to come after. When you take that first breath before beginning a yoga pose, you are simultaneously taking the first step towards making more positive choices about your body. And as you are consciously breathing throughout the session, you will become more aware of your body as you effectuate the poses.

Similarly, it is important to focus on every nuance involved with the practice of eating. Each time you take a bite, enjoy the flavors instead of mindlessly shoveling it into your mouth. Just as slowly shifting from one yoga pose to the next allows you to appreciate the movement, do the same when you are eating. Smell the food as it approaches your mouth and savor the flavors as you chew. Even when you are swallowing, be aware that you are nourishing your muscles, tissues, and bones – know that you are consciously making a healthy choice.

Yoga is beneficial to weight loss for one than more reason. Aside from the parallel of posing and eating, yoga reduces stress and strengthens your willpower, so this is especially beneficial if you are an emotional eater.  Instead of grabbing a candy bar or a bag or potato chips, use yoga to destress.  And as you destress, you will feel less tempted to overindulge or make unhealthy food selections. Yoga also helps build your muscles. The more muscles you build the higher your body metabolism will be. The result is you will naturally burn off more excess fat, and you will be one step closer to reaching your weight loss goals.

So, where should you start? There are many forms of yoga ranging from relaxing and spiritual to the more challenging and intensive. Make sure you select one that fits your physical health and choose one that will help build your core. As you get stronger, switch it up, and next thing you know, you will be able to hold the scorpion or peacock or any other pose of your choosing. Here are just three options:

Hatha is usually for beginners. You will integrate breathing techniques with every movement and develop flexibility as well as balance. This is generally relaxing and restorative for your body. Once you are more comfortable with the movements, switch to a class that focuses more on strength building and cardiovascular fitness.

Vinyasa is usually more fast-paced and sometimes referred to as power yoga. It features continuous movement from pose to pose with stretching, lunging, bending, and pushups all incorporated in a flowing sequence. You will build your core strength on top of improving your flexibility and balance.

Ashtanga is usually for those with more yoga experience. There will be sun salutations, backbends, inversions, and arm balances. This form of yoga requires you to have strength as well as endurance.

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