Updated: Sep 23
Can yoga really help us lose weight? This might be a burning question for some of us who are sitting on the fence of whether or not to start your yoga journey to shed some weight. Let me share with you my personal experience.
I started yoga to lose weight.
After my 2nd baby's birth, like many women, I was out of shape. Not only that, I was fatigued, sleep deprived and very unfit but I was very keen to do something about this. At the 6th week post natal check up with my Gynae, I was given a green light that I could start some yoga exercise if I was keen to move my body and yoga would be safe for my c-section incision, I jumped straight to the next class available in my area. That was sometimes in February 2015. By July 2015, I lost around 13 kgs.
But yoga is so gentle and slow, how could it help you lose weight?
It depends on what type of yoga that you practice. There are gentle types like Yin, gentle Hatha which are extremely good to release tension, tightness and bring mind body connection which helps you to cope with stress and anxiety,but might not be very effective for weight loss. The types of yoga that I practiced during the time that I wanted to lose weight was Hatha flow and Vinyasa. When you flow through a sequence with aligning your breath and the movements, your heart rate increases, the cardio effect of the practice would kick in, and that is the best recipe for fat burning and weight loss.
The practice of yoga not only helped me to shed pounds, gain muscles, but the mindfulness practice shaped my mindset, it changed my daily habits and the way I eat. I was more aware of the choices of food I made. As a foodie, it was a real challenge to give up on food but I was able to portion control and to lean more on healthier choices, to differentiate between short term gratification vs long term gain.
The breathing exercise of yoga also helped me to breath so much better. As a result, I began to fall asleep so quickly and slept like a baby. According to Havard Health Publishing, 55% of people experience better sleep after they practice yoga. Yoga teaches you how to breath deeply and slowly. Deep breathing helps to relax your body, lower your stress hormones, lessen your anxiety. Less stress and anxiety means good sleeps. With good sleeps, healthier food choices and a committed yoga practice, I was able to lose 13 kgs in a short 5 months.
But that was not all, the biggest gain was the mental weight I lost during the process of fitting myself into my skinny jeans. I was able to find joy from within. I was less being worried about other people's opinions. Yoga has helped me to realize that losing weight was no longer something I would do for someone else, it was for me because I was worth looking better, feeling better and feeling more energetic to spend more quality time with my family and do the things I desired.
I continued to practice yoga throughout my 3rd pregnancy. I didn't gain much weight, I was less tired and I was recovering much faster compared to the 1st and 2nd pregnancy.
What was my routine to get results?
I was practicing 4-5 times a week. As a complete beginner who was recovering from a massive abdominal surgery (it was my 2nd c-section), it was really challenging to flow in a fast-paced Vinyasa or Flow class, so I attended mostly Hatha classes for about 2 weeks coupled with 1-1 private training with my teacher at home once a week to get all the alignments and techniques right. I progressed to Vinyasa and Flow practice soon after and I was very committed. I would go to group classes at least 3 times a week, once a week private training and and 1-2 times home practice using videos.
Now, yoga isn't just an effective tool to help me to stay in the range of healthy weight. Yoga is my lifestyle. Yoga is my food that if I don't consume every day, I would go hungry. The practice of yoga not only helps me to shed pounds, it helps me to stay focused, grounded, less anxious and more relaxed. You may have heard all of these benefits of yoga, all you need to do is to begin to experience it for yourself.
What can you do to start?
If you are inspired by my story and are super interested to start, just START! Don't over think too much. Over-thinking will add more mental weight on your mind. And mental weight is more dangerous than the weight you see on your weighing scale.
If you are a beginner, you can start booking into our Hatha practice. You will learn all the foundational poses in a slow and steady pace, preparing you safely for your flow practice like Hatha flow or Vinyasa. You could also check out our Yogalates class which is a unique class that combines movements from Pilates and Yoga in a single session to help you to build core strength which would complement your overall practice and you will flow smoothly and freely in your Vinyasa class in no time.
If you already have a regular practice but struggle to lose weight, have a review. Do you practice regularly enough? I recommend at least 2- 3 times a week to see result. Once a week is better than 0 but it is not enough. If you have been only doing Hatha practice, could you try a Hatha Flow pr Vinyasa class to see how you go? Our practitioners have shared with us that after practicing Hatha Flow and Vinyasa classes regularly 3 times a week for 2-3 months, they lost around 3-4 kilos. Some stayed with the same weight but they felt their clothes were much looser.
I am happy to chat if you would like to know more info. You know where to contact me. Drop me an email, a call or simply comment to this post.
From my heart to yours,