The following are questions that Yoga teachers still need to answer, despite overwhelming evidence that Yoga is "the mother of all health maintenance systems." Mainstream thought is finally catching up, with the progress Yoga is making, but it has taken 5,000 years for us to get this far.
Seriously, How Can Yoga Make You Lose Weight?
Finally, some of the "Yoga and Weight Loss" studies have come in, and even, a little bit of Yoga is much better, than none, for weight control, but there are a number of reasons why. Yoga is a lifestyle change that includes a safe diet; exercise, adjusting posture, breathing, and a whole lot more. Most of the Yoga practitioners, I know, consume more water, eat more moderately, and take more care of their bodies, in comparison to the many who don't want to leave the couch.
Aren't you supposed to jump up and down for at least a half-hour per day to exercise enough to lose weight?
Maybe the masses have been "brain washed" into thinking that you have to feel the pain, suffer, starve, and have a near death experience, to lose weight. Depending upon your size, the average person, in a moderate Hatha yoga class, is burning in the neighborhood of 200 calories per hour. There are Vinyasa Yoga classes, that will burn more calories, with much more flowing and active movement. Just remember, that your safety is top priority, and you will be fine.
There are also Yoga classes where you can feel the pain, heat, and suffer. This is great for those who feel the need to "pay for their sins." Maybe this is considered "penance," for years of consuming excessive pizza, burgers, and buffets. If you feel you must suffer, you may even find a Yoga teacher who missed his or her calling as an interrogator.
If you search hard enough, you will find a Yoga class for every niche. More moderate Yoga classes look easy on the outside of the class, but I have seen many people find them to be a challenge, on the inside of the class. The real benefit of steady Yoga practice is training for longevity. Long-term practice will yield optimum health benefits in mind, body, and spirit.
Couldn't you just invent a Yoga pill?
This has been the ultimate dream of "couch potatoes," but every time a weight loss pill comes out, there is a down side. Just look at the health problems that resulted from fen phen and ephedra. This should wake people up, but someone will always put their life at risk, no matter how many warning labels are printed.
In summary, the benefits of Yoga practice have always existed, through steady and safe practice. Seek out a safe teacher and go from there. Never push yourself to the point of strain. Moderation is key, so it is wise to avoid extremes.
Paul Jerard is a co-owner and the director of Yoga teacher training at: Aura Wellness Center, in North Providence, RI. He has been a certified Master Yoga teacher since 1995. He is a master instructor of martial arts, with multiple Black Belts, four martial arts teaching credentials, and was recently inducted into the USA Martial Arts Hall of Fame. He teaches Yoga, martial arts, and fitness to children, adults, and seniors in the greater Providence area. Recently he wrote: Is Running a Yoga Business Right for You? For Yoga students, who may be considering a new career as a Yoga teacher. http://www.yoga-teacher-training.org/index.html