One of the first things people put on their weight change to-do list is cutting and burning as many calories through exercise as they can. And when those initial results pay off, we want to shout it through the rooftops—until it happens: the dreaded plateau. (We’ve got more about how to handle that here.)
Here’s the truth: Weight care is more complex than calories in, calories out. Biology, sleep, stress, and other factors also affect your weight. And good weight care should include stress management, hormone balance, sleep, and, of course, healthy eating. Besides that, when you overdo the intense workouts without enough rest in between, it can often lead to increased injury and joint pain. To avoid having to remember what RICE stands for (it was rest, ice, elevation… and what?), plan to avoid pain while still working toward your goals. Here’s how: Add another activity that can help you on your weight loss journey—one you can do for years to come and that delivers benefits beyond the calorie burn.
Yoga is one type of movement that can complement your more intense workouts and help you accomplish your goal. (Can’t get into yoga? Tai chi and chigong are great, too.) In today’s fast-paced world, many of us are yearning for a way to slow down, specifically to slow down our minds. After years of relying on other things—magazines, fitness influencers, smartwatches, and more—to tell us what our bodies need to be healthy, it’s a breath of fresh air to find the answers within yourself through yoga practice.
Yoga provides the space for us to slow down. It encourages us to look inward when deciding what is best for our bodies by silencing outward influences that have obstructed our view for so long. Not only do you get immediate benefits from each session, but regular yogis also find it has a domino effect in their lives. Yoga helps manage stress levels, increase flexibility, reduce joint and muscle pain, and help you make better food and lifestyle choices.
You know the mental health benefits yoga is famous for: stress reduction, better coping skills, improved mindfulness in food and life choices, and improved self-awareness. But there’s more to take advantage of, especially when you think about the pillars of good weight care:
Yoga is connected with mindful eating and weight loss. People who practice yoga are more in-tune with their bodies and hunger signals, making them less likely to overeat and make better choices regarding nutrition. Studies also show people who practice yoga have a lower BMI than those who don’t.
There is a great emphasis and focus on the breath as you move through the poses in yoga practice. This mindfulness practice has been shown to relieve stress, improve mood, and increase focus.
Increased strength and flexibility come from a consistent yoga practice, both of which will reduce your risk of injury and body aches.
Cardiovascular benefits are associated with practicing yoga, including lowering blood pressure and balancing blood sugar levels.
Certain types of yoga are excellent calorie-burner workouts. Vinyasa, power, and ashtanga yoga are more aerobic and keep you moving. In addition, yoga can boost metabolism to help you burn even more calories throughout your day.
In a perfect world, we could assume that everyone feels comfortable trying such a beneficial exercise. In reality, that just isn’t true. Many have not tried or made yoga a regular practice, and here are some of the most common reasons why and ways you can overcome those fears.
I’m not flexible enough.
This is the most common reason why people don’t try yoga. But this is definitely a reason you should. Instructors will lead you through a safe class by ensuring proper alignment within the body, using props such as straps and blocks, and modifications as necessary. It’s essential to know that no one started their yoga journey being the most flexible.
It’s too expensive.
Many yoga studios today are boutique fitness centers with a higher price tag. Fortunately, there are yoga studios out there that honor and respect everyone’s budget and simply want people to experience the benefits no matter their financial situation. If you find many studios near you sit at the higher price range, look for free classes and events they offer. Another great option is to use free videos online.
I don’t have time for a 1-hour yoga session.
If you find you are short on time, know that a yoga session does not have to be an hour for you to reap the benefits. A complete yoga session can be done in 15 minutes or less. Another tip is to keep your yoga mat and clothes in your car or somewhere easy to grab and go. Research shows that you are more likely to commit and complete movement by scheduling it in your day.
It’s not intense enough for me.
It is common to think that exercise needs to be fast-paced and involve heavyweights to be considered intense. Even though yoga looks different from other exercises many of us participate in, it can be as hard and as challenging as you want it to be. This is because yoga activates many large muscle groups, including stabilizer muscles, throughout the workout.
I am injured or limited in my movement right now.
Yoga can be intensified and modified at any point in your practice. For example, if someone is experiencing an injury or has limited movement, there is always room to return to the basics. Many forms of yoga can be practiced when movement is limited, such as chair yoga.
I can’t silence my mind.
Along with concerns about flexibility, this is also a top concern about practicing yoga. As previously mentioned, we live in a fast-paced world, and we often forget how to slow down. Slowing down and practicing mindfulness takes awareness and work. You may notice that it’s hard to silence your mind during your first few sessions. Even after years of practicing, you may have classes where your mind races. No one is perfect, and no one has a flawless yoga practice. The goal here is to take imperfect action.
Now that you know the benefits of a consistent yoga practice and how to tackle barriers, it’s time to get out there on your mat! There are so many yoga videos available online for all different levels. Start small and build on your practice, and as you do, you’ll notice positive physical and mental changes.
All levels, all bodies, all genders, and all souls welcome: Yoga with Adrienne is designed for all levels, from beginner to advanced to a space of high-quality free yoga videos. Check out her chair yoga for a gentle and supportive practice.
Studio to street: Practice mindful movement and reap the benefits that transcend beyond the mat with Alo Yoga. Alo believes in the power of taking the consciousness on the mat out into the world to better our lives and our communities.
Power up with this 30-minute power yoga flow: Pop Sugar Yoga takes you through a breath to movement power yoga flow to increase flexibility and strength.
Yoga en Español: MalovElenaEl canal Malova Elena está dedicado al desarrollo de la conexión entre cuerpo y mente y la conciencia en cada movimiento. (If you’d prefer yoga with a Spanish-speaking instructor, check out Malova Elena’s YouTube channel—she is dedicated to developing the mind-body connection and awareness in every movement.)
Body positive yoga: Enjoy a judgment-free zone that encourages yogis to embrace their body size as well as their desired difficulty level. Whether you are a beginner or an advanced yogi, Body Positive Yoga has a space for you.
Yoga for men:Man Flow Yoga is a channel designed for men who are new to yoga, who don’t find themselves to be very flexible, and who want a more effective workout.
Yoga for marginalized communities: Founded by Xā Carter, Xude Yoga prides itself on being a healing and comforting space for those in marginalized communities looking for a yoga practice.
Holistic wellness that meets you where you are, no matter your body size or experience: The Underbelly is a space that fosters a community of acceptance so that no one feels overlooked or underserved within the wellness industry. Co-Founder Jessamyn Stanley invites you to discover the power of yoga and self-acceptance while living in a larger body.
Found is among the largest medically-supported weight care clinics in the country, serving nearly 200,000 members to date. To start your journey with Found, take our quiz.