We have seen the rise in popularity of yoga in the last decade — this ancient discipline from India has now become one of the most popular fitness regime throughout the world. Mainstream media and social media platforms often portray women flaunting their impressive yoga poses with their slim and toned body. This gives the impression that people can practice yoga to achieve that strong, toned and flexible body. In fact, many ladies may have signed up for yoga just to slim down.

But, is it true that yoga can slim us down?

What is yoga?

The word “yoga” comes from the Sanskrit root “yuj”, which means “to yoke” the spirit and physical body together. While many believe yoga to be a form of exercise, some yoga masters may tell you otherwise, and that yoga is in fact a therapy tool for your body and mind. While the main objective of the discipline is spiritual wellbeing, yoga also comes with numerous other health benefits that far surpass the advantages of your regular aerobic workout.

Photo credits: greatist.com
Photo credits: greatist.com

What are the benefits of yoga?

Yoga has been shown to offer both physical and mental benefits to the body and the mind. On top of reducing stress, yoga can lower heart rate and blood pressure; help relieve anxiety, depression, and insomnia; and improve overall physical fitness, strength, and flexibility. Yoga has been shown to help fight everything from addiction and lower back pain to diabetes and aging, in addition to boosting overall well-being. With so many benefits, some may even say that yoga is a panacea for the ailments of modern society.

An 8-week study have shown that their subjects’ muscular strength had increased by as much as 31 percent, muscular endurance by 57 percent, flexibility by as much as 188 percent, and VO2max by 7 percent. The subjects attended yoga lessons four sessions each week, consisting of 10 minutes of pranayama, 15 minutes of warm-up exercises, 50 minutes of asanas, and 10 minutes of meditation. Other studies have also shown that yoga can increase lung capacity of participants, even for athletes who thought that they have reached their maximum from their athletic training.

Can yoga slim us down?

Let’s face the truth: yoga doesn’t burn calories like a good hour-long cardio session, not even power yoga, where you feel like you’re sweating away your insides. On the other hand, de-stressing through yoga helps reduce the release of cortisol, the famous stress hormone, which triggers fat storage. For people who want to slim down and achieve those six abs, the most effective way is to combine your cardio workouts with yoga. The benefits of yoga can enhance the effects of your workouts and help you attain the ideal weight you are working towards to. Furthermore, regular yoga practice can help loosen muscles tightened by inactivity, tension and stress, and help us move better and run better.

Photo credits: www.capwellnesscenter.com/
Photo credits: www.capwellnesscenter.com/

Get strong and healthy with an all-rounded workout

For people who want to keep a healthy and strong body, yoga can be enough for them. But it is not the one-stop solution to slimming down or becoming a strong athlete. Yoga may have many benefits for our health and wellbeing, but it is not a miracle discipline and should be practised as a complement to other exercises to maximise the physical benefits for our body. In fact, most fitness enthusiasts who practice yoga regularly also prefer to include some form of cardio exercise in their fitness regime – be it brisk walking, jogging, swimming or cycling.

As yoga comes in a variety of forms, if you want to become and stay physically and mentally fit, make sure your yoga practice includes a balance of poses that build strength, stamina, and flexibility, along with breathwork and meditation to help develop body awareness.

Cover photo credits: http://www.kpfit.club/

Quick links:

  1. 5 Reasons Why Runners Should Pick Up Yoga
  2. 3 Reasons Why Runners Should Pick Up Pilates