Yoga doesn’t do much in the fat burning department, but might just help you listen to your body a bit better.
Om Mani Padme Humdidum!
When you read through the multitude of yoga sites, you could get the idea that yoga does magic when it comes to losing weight. Everything from specifically targeting fat on the abdominal area to “waking up” your internal organs to activate digestion.
Read the article behind the first link, make it through the prose and waxing, and specifically note this part:
As with any fitness plan, yoga needs to be done regularly and with intensity. Finally, it is important to remember to maintain a healthy diet in combination with any workout regimen.
Heah buster(s), with a healthy diet, you could do the “dusting off the den” yoga pose and it would work just as well. Cold. Hard. Fact. Because when you get beyond all the stuff about energy flows, chakras etc. and look at calories burned per 45 minutes (160 lbs person), things look like this:
|Activity||App. Calories Burned Per 45 Minutes|
|Watching television||47 kcal|
|Walking the dog||142 kcal|
|Nordic Walking, 4 mph||292 kcal|
|Stationary bike, moderate intensity, 12 mph||378 kcal|
|Elliptical, moderate difficulty||486 kcal|
|Treadmill, 10% incline, 4 mph||657 kcal|
If you keep your daily calories constant, and given that losing 1 lb of weight requires burning 3,500 kcal, it takes 22 1/2 hours of yoga to lose it, but only 9 hours doing some moderate walking or just 5 3/4 hours on the elliptical.
What About Power Yoga For Weight Loss?
Power yoga is a new form of yoga that is, uh, a bit more “dynamic.” As in changing position more often than once every half hour. This guy demonstrates it:
It does burn a few more calories (212 kcal per 45 minutes for the above 160 lbs person), but compared to most other fitness activities it is still so far behind it isn’t funny. I also doubt that this or the traditional form of yoga improve cardiovascular health, as that requires a bit more intensity.
Saving Grace For Yoga
All that being said and done, there is an aspect where yoga may help you lose weight or at least get you moving in the right direction: it makes you more aware of your body. If there is one thing that many overweight people apparently have a problem understanding, then it’s their bodies. You know, the “you do a, it does b” thing, no matter if that is putting in too much food at one end or why it turned into the shabby clunker you use to get around.
By all means, if you think yoga can help you in that aspect, go for it. Just don’t believe you magically turn into a lithe lotus blossom because you do the lotus pose for half an hour.
Picture courtesy of “lululemon“.