16 Oct Yoga for Weight Loss?
I thought twice about the subject of this blog. I mean it’s not very ‘yoga’ to be concerned about how we look, the ‘outer packaging’ when we’re meant to be concerned with tuning in and connecting with our true selves. But let’s face it, in a world where food is so accessible, we are busy and starved of ‘down time’, and most of our socialising centres around eating and drinking, most of us are concerned about our weight. I have to admit, one of the main reasons I was drawn to yoga was to manage my weight, and having moved from Scotland to a country where you actually get your bodies out in summer, I was concerned about getting in to shape.
Having previously run sometimes, gone to the gym sometimes in that ‘I have to be good -go hard!!!/arghh I can’t face it, all bets are off’ kind of way that meant that my weight yo-yoed as much as my ‘pushing through the pain’ did, I started doing Vinyasa Flow yoga classes. There’s no doubt that the strong physical movement and stretching burned energy (while we might control our breathing, our heart rate can really increase, and all the muscles in our bodies let us know they’re working!) which was great for weight loss and toning but, over time, something else started to happen. The practices of breathing and ‘noticing’ what our bodies are doing, led me to start to be more tuned in to my body and what it needed, as opposed to what I wanted which had often been more related to an attempt to avoid or change my feelings or thoughts (although I wouldn’t have noticed this at the time), and usually led to eating and drinking things that might have made me feel good for a moment but later took its toll! It might sound a bit cheesy, but my relationship to my body started to shift. I started to be kinder to ‘it’ in all sorts of ways – mixing my practice up with gentler more meditative forms of yoga like Yin, when I needed it and making choices about providing it with nutrients and energy, rather than numbing it with copious amounts of pasta (and a fair amount of wine) as was my previous tendency. I half expected that, with mixing in more ‘relaxed’ Yin style classes, I’d put on weight. But this didn’t happen – in fact I’ve been more steady weight-wise (and in other ways!) than I ever have been. Don’t get me wrong, I still fluctuate sometimes (during holidays I always ‘indulge’), but generally, I no longer think about weight much, as I know that I now have a steady practice that I can come back to even after a break, that works for me. That ‘panic dieting’ and falling off the wagon pattern has gone. And that’s such a relief as, like lots of woman, I used to think about food, my weight and my body in negative, critical ways, way too much.
Whatever brings you to yoga, whether like me it was a focus on the ‘outer packaging’ or you want to work on developing a more positive relationship with your self, it won’t disappoint.
For more information on yoga for weight loss see this interesting link;
Written by Kirstie from Sutherland Yoga
Photo, the lovely Georgie from Sutherland Yoga