The founders of the ancient practice of yoga probably didn’t think just how far its reach would become. Today, yoga is practiced all over the world, although its popularity in the U.S. has skyrocketed only recently, with 21 million Americans saying they’ve tried yoga in the past year.
Yoga has become an industry – and a huge one at that. With yoga centers charging fees, clothing companies creating special lines for yoga, books, apps – you name it, you can find it.
That may be distasteful if you think about it, but it’s the reality, and it helps people who turn to yoga for their own reasons.
In an old post of ours, “What to Remember About Yoga“, we highlighted yoga’s focus on holistic health. It’s all about the mind and body.
People do have their own reasons for doing yoga, and its health benefits are numerous.
- Better blood circulation, which can lead to lower blood pressure
- Lower pulse rate, which means a stronger heart
- Gastrointestinal functions are improved (especially with those who already have issues in this area)
- Pain tolerance is increased and yoga has been known to help ease chronic pain
- Balanced metabolism
But what about losing weight? Is yoga weight loss real? Or is it just a myth?
Different poses have their own purposes. Some help you to relax and meditate. Others strengthen your core and target other areas of your body. So if you think about it, you do burn calories while practicing yoga.
But how much can yoga contribute to weight loss?
Unfortunately, the answer isn’t straightforward. Studies have shown that yoga in itself does not burn as many calories as cardiovascular activities such as walking or jogging.
However, it does have the potential to burn a huge chunk of calories, depending on factors such as your weight, the length of the session, and the type of yoga you practice. Based on a Livestrong article, “Hatha yoga…burns about 298 calories in one hour for a 155 pound person reports Harvard Health…while Ashtanga facilitates a higher calorie burn — as much as 362 calories in an hour.”
With those numbers, we can say that yoga weight loss is not a myth.
However, I think that if you decide to practice yoga, weight loss shouldn’t be the main reason. Its other benefits such as peace and centering yourself is just as important – maybe more.
Beginner I may be, but I already am experiencing all the benefits of yoga – plus some weight loss.
Back to you: are you practicing yoga or plan to? Why are you doing it?