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Vinyasa Yoga for Weight Loss

Balance your spirit, mind, and body with vinyasa yoga for weight loss.

Sometimes referred to as dynamic yoga or flowing yoga, Vinyasa yoga is a popular type of yoga in which you move from pose to pose without breaking the flow. While yoga is generally thought of as a relaxing activity, it can be quite exhausting and can burn approximately 450 calories when performed without rest for one hour, therefore making vinyasa yoga for weight loss very effective. 

While cardiovascular activities, such as running or biking, can certainly help contribute to weight loss, they aren't quite as demanding on mind, body, and spirit. Through yoga, our goal is to create balance between the three through maintaining our own balance, creating a larger range of movement, and synchronizing our breath with each movement. It is in process of mindfulness that will contribute most to the goal of vinyasa yoga for weight loss. As we are mindful on the mat, we will also be mindful of our decisions in day to day life. You may begin to think twice about your health-related decisions such as smoking, over-eating, or issues with anger... Your outlook on life is bound to change whether you notice it or not, but you probably will. And with this increased mindfulness comes better quality of life as well as stress reduction and weight reduction.

The sequence of postures will vary from teacher to teacher. You've likely heard of confusing your muscle groups while weight lifting for maximum gain. You can relate this philosophy in yoga, as well. Without knowing the sequence, your body will be kept guessing the next moves will be.

Benefits of Vinyasa Yoga

Cardiovascular Health: With the generally faster pace of Vinayasa yoga and linking each posture to the breath, the heart rate will increase, as will your body temperature. Typically, in forms of Hatha Yoga, from which Vinayasa yoga branches from, you will use Ujayi breath through the course of the class. This audible breath will help give you something to move to but it is also said to build the fire from within. Also, because it is a breath you can hear, it can be comforting in a class environment to have a pace to follow along with. If you lose track of the breath, you can always jump back into it by listening to both the instructor and the others in the class.

Build Strength: Whoever says that you can't get stronger with yoga or that it's easy probably hasn't taken a good Vinyasa yoga class. Bodyweight exercises can be very difficult and can build strength without adding a lot of muscle mass. There's always the weightlifter that struts in with his girlfriend with “this will be piece of cake” written across his forehead and after the first 15 minutes is wondering why he can't do what is asked of him. That's not to say that ability is an important factor for the ability. Injuries among men can be common when ego comes in and they push themselves beyond their limits. Trust your body. If you can't do a certain pose today, stay focused with your practice and one day, boom—you're in the pose.

Improve Focus: Yoga helps in our ability to endure strenuous circumstances. Turning our attention to the breath and steadying the mind while practicing can in turn help us lose weight more effectively. Not only will we become more determined to work hard throughout the class but we will also use that attention to body and mind to our day-to-day lives—in the way we eat, how we treat others, and maintaining equanimity through trying times.

Detoxification: Any cardiovascular activity will help detoxify our blood as it increases blood flow throughout our bodies. Creating heat will help purify the blood and make it thinner and, in turn, will flush our systems more quickly and efficiently. Put simply, toxins are bad. They create an inefficient system and inefficient systems store fat more easily. One more reason to do yoga, get the bad stuff out and you're body will not only lose weight, but you'll also keep it off with better blood flow.

Join a Yoga Studio

Photo via Live Strong

It's best to find a teacher if you are a complete beginner. Actually, it's best to have a teacher always. Even the most experienced yogis still practice with their teacher even if only from time to time. It's difficult to see or feel the alignment in our own bodies especially for the beginner. Yoga classes are expensive, but most yoga studios have great introductory rates for the first few classes or first month. 

Clothing and Accessories

Photo via Very Well

It is best to wear non-restrictive clothing that will allow for a wide range of motion. Remember, you'll be bending and stretching. Jeans are probably the best choice.

Buy a yoga mat. If you're a complete beginner to vinyasa yoga for weight loss, feel free to buy an inexpensive one at any big box store, but be prepared to watch it deteriorate after a couple of months of practice. A higher quality mat will be expensive, but it will last for a long time and if you plan on practicing yoga for an extended period of time, ask your fellow yogis what they suggest.

There are plenty of accessories to acquire to start practicing vinyasa yoga for weight loss, but you'll need to know how to use them before buying them. Ideally, you'll want to have a strap, one or two blocks, and a yoga blanket. These “props” aid in modifying poses which you'll need to do different reasons, but in a nutshell, they give you more insight into the final posture. Blocks help with extend the floor to you for more balance and control. Straps give a longer reach in poses where you don't quite have the flexibility. And blankets have a number of uses, but in Vinyasa, you won't utilize them often.

Because Vinyasa yoga for weight loss can break a sweat, you'll want to be hydrated. Staying hydrated in general is important, but when practicing yoga, it is especially important for your joints and the synovial fluid that lubricates those joints.

Be Confident and Be You

Lastly, vinyasa yoga for weight loss is not about finding your “sexy yoga body.” While weight loss is certainly an added bonus and can give us confidence in our self-image, yoga teaches to love ourselves for who we are. Comparing yourself to the latest yoga celebrity of Yoga Journal isn't a step in the right direction. In fact, this is the opposite of what yoga teaches us. It is the internal process of self-discovery that is most important. Connection to the body makes that process much easier and loving yourself during the whole experience will make it something you actually want for yourself rather than some menial exercise you convince yourself is the thing you must do to be the best. Love who you are now. If you love yourself now, you will do care for yourself the way you should.

Namaste.

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