How can yoga help you lose weight

Yoga is not just a trendy activity. It provides real benefits for the entire body. Being a non-aerobic activity, yoga doesn’t apply the expression “no pain, no gain” like other workouts such as weight training do. Besides improving your flexibility, posture, and health, yoga will also help you lose weight and maintain a fit body. Here are some ways in which yoga can reshape your body and have you looking slim in your new yoga leggings.  

Ways in Which Yoga Can Assist You with Weight Loss

1. It Activates Your Thyroid Gland
This happens especially when you do the head or shoulder stand pose. Although not all yoga practitioners feel the benefits of a headstand, the shoulder version will suit everyone. This is basically an inverted asana. Most people would rather do it instead of a headstand because it is easier to perform. It promotes thyroid activity.

2. Boost Internal Organism Heat
This leads to an improved metabolism, which makes your body burn calories much quicker. The best yoga pose that increases your heart rate and body heat is the sun salutation. Well, this is not exactly a pose. It is an entire sequence made of several asanas.

The secret to losing weight with the sun salutation method is to perform all the poses one right after the other without sustaining any of them a long time.

3. Yoga Intensifies Detoxification
Having some extra pounds might be a cause of a high toxicity level in your body. This means that you should probably follow a detoxifying program to lose weight. During this process, both your kidneys and liver–which are organs that detoxify your body–will start working better.
What I am about to tell you may surprise you. Yoga tones and strengthens not only your muscles and your physical appearance but also your inner organs. Some of the simplest forms of detox are represented by breathing exercises and yoga poses with twists.

4. Overall Natural Strength
During a yoga sequence, your muscles must be deeply engaged in the poses. Some might think that yoga won’t help them lose weight because there is not a lot of movement involved. Well, those people are wrong, my friend! Yoga asanas require a lot of isometric work from your body.
The best poses to boost muscle mass are the balancing asanas. They engage more than one group of muscles at once. You can also try standing positions which are easier and are best suited for beginners.

5. Improves Digestion & Unclogs Waste
Certain yoga poses for weight loss will flex your colon, which leads to a better digestion process. The best methods to achieve this goal are bandhas which can be done in your car during a traffic jam. The term comes from Sanskrit, of course, and it means to tighten or to hold.

These movements refer to the contraction of your pelvic area muscles, including the genitalia and the anal sphincter. Don’t jump to conclusions. These simple movements work miracles when it comes to your digestive tract.

Summing It Up
All the facts mentioned above are strong reasons that demonstrate weight loss and a healthier lifestyle through yoga. Try them all, and let us know how they went.

Seasonal Eating for Yogis

June 21st is technically the summer solstice, but Memorial Day usually marks the start of “summer” with weekend BBQs and healthy seasonal side items like a big green salad, grilled corn on the cob, and colorful fruits.

Seasonal eating has a lot of health benefits, and summer produce is refreshing and brings new variety to your diet.

Many healthy yogis choose to eat seasonally, changing how they eat depending on the fruits and vegetables that are most fresh in any given month or season. Seasonal eating simply means that you eat foods that are currently being grown and harvested at the same time you buy them.

Many traditional cultures were engrained in seasonal eating because they had to be, but supermarkets, processed foods, and global trade have made it an unnecessary practice today. However, seasonal eating shouldn’t be ignored just because we have other unhealthy alternatives available.

Our bodies crave seasonal foods because they are fresher, taste better, and are often less expensive. Seasonal produce brings the fuller flavors of fresh, whole foods back into your diet, which is why so many yogis love seasonal eating, especially in the summer.

To stick to seasonal eating all summer long, try planning meals for the week around the best foods the summer season has to offer – like salads, smoothies, and fresh juices. A good goal for seasonal summer produce is to fill half of your plate with fruits and veggies at every meal. You should also be aiming to eat the rainbow, always fueling up on a wide range of colorful fruits and vegetables for the best nutrient intake.

Fruits and vegetables are nutritional all year round, but even more so when they are in season, so stock up these fresh ingredients now! On Saturday mornings head to the local farmer’s market for fresh seasonally grown produce that you can eat all week long. Different parts of the world and even different states will have different seasonal produce if you’re eating locally grown foods, which is why the farmer’s market is a great option for produce shopping.

Enjoy the many health benefits of eating seasonally like putting your body in rhythm with nature, eating the best produce, being kinder to the environment, and helping out your wallet all at the same time.

Here is a list of seasonal summer fruits and vegetables for your summer meal planning:

  • Fruits
  • Cherries
  • Blueberries
  • Blackberries
  • Grapes
  • Cantaloupe
  • Watermelon
  • Peaches
  • Plums
  • Raspberries
  • Strawberries
  • Mango
  • Nectarine
  • Apricot
  • Pineapple
  • Lychee
  • Vegetables
  • Asparagus
  • Beets
  • Celery
  • Cucumber
  • Eggplant
  • Turnips
  • Zucchini
  • Lettuce and Arugula
  • Mushrooms
  • Carrots
  • Summer Squash
  • Corn
  • Bell Peppers
  • Garlic
  • Green Beans
  • Peas
  • Tomatoes

It’s time to celebrate seasonal foods: they give you the most flavor and nutritional value when they are the most affordable! Check out this interesting video by Melissa for more info about seasonal eating!

Breaking the Chains of Common Yoga Misconceptions

Yoga is a practice that most people misunderstand, especially if they have never tried it themselves. It is a personal experience that differs from one person to another. But before claiming any opinions (not just in yoga, but almost anything), give it a try and experience it yourself. There are a lot of common stereotypes about Yoga that are not necessarily true. Most of these statements are from individuals who have not tried practicing yoga or are afraid to even begin. Remember that yoga is a personal practice. Everything depends on your mentality and your willingness to practice with an open mind. Here are some common misconceptions about practicing Yoga:

Yoga is meant for flexible people only.

There are varieties of yoga and you don’t necessarily have to be flexible to begin. Flexibility will be developed alongside your balance, focus and strength as you dig in more to the practice and you become familiar with your body. You’ll be surprised at how flexible you can be!

“I can’t even touch my toes!” Some yoga poses would require flexibility of the hamstrings such as standing forward bend. But you do not have to go deep into the posture to feel the stretch. Listen to your body and go as deep as you can without hurting and forcing it.

“I can’t twist myself into pretzel.” Twisting poses are not meant to be rushed. It has to be carefully and mindfully done to avoid any injuries. Do not force your torso to perform twisting poses or it will be detrimental to your spine.

Most yoga asanas have gentler modification to match your level of flexibility and it will take time to develop it. But with regular practice, you’ll see it come without even noticing!

It’s a girly thing:

Totally wrong! Men found the practice of yoga thousands of ages ago. Both men and women can benefit from yoga. There are different levels of difficulty from easy breathing exercises (pranayama) to a more advanced physical practice of yogic postures in asthanga yoga. It will test not just the body but mostly the will of the mind!

“Yoga is a low impact physical activity.” There are different types of yoga you can choose from and the ashtanga practice is the most physical of them. It is a series of stretching, twisting, arm balances and inversions that would require not just strength but balance of both the mind and body.

“Not a workout at all!” Practicing yoga is not just physically molding yourself, although you will be toned during the process. It teaches patience, calmness and open mindedness through spirituality to unify the mind and body and unmask higher self from ego. Yoga is a physical practice with spiritual intention and it challenges not just the muscles in the body but the capabilities of the mind and its will to seek truth within.

You have to be skinny to do Yoga:

Everyone can do yoga. Anyone can. Any age. Any level of physicality. All you need is a good intention and a mind open to change. There’s a lot of yoga practices you can choose from like Hot Yoga, Vinyasa and Power Yoga that could actually help you shed pounds and tone your muscles. Yoga does not have any prerequisites. You can practice anytime, anywhere. No equipment needed. A mind open to transformations and a heart willing to accept realizations is all you need.

“My body’s too heavy.” Your body already has the strength it needs to carry its own weight and control how it moves. You just have to discover the techniques that properly execute flows and postures, which can surely be achieved with regular practice.

“I don’t look good wearing Yoga pants.” Yoga is not about looking good, but rather feeling good. It’s not about whether your pants look nice or not. It is about accepting yourself as you are without any judgments.

There’s no need to follow any standards for one to start practicing yoga. It’s open to anyone willing to embrace change and truth.

Yoga is a religion:

People who practice yoga came from different religions and belief systems. You might notice relics of Hindu Gods/Goddesses in yoga studios because it revolves around the belief of unmasking our higher self. Yoga does not impose any religion upon anyone, but rather, it proposes a way to understand the unification of the mind and the body through physical practice and spirituality.

“It conflicts with my religion.” Yoga is not a religion. It does have its own principles which may differ from what you personally believe, but when these different beliefs are properly assessed, analyzed and absorbed, both can lead to better understanding of self. Yoga never forced anyone to change their religion but offers possibilities to unravel the best version that you can be.

It’s dangerous:

True danger only surfaces when one practices with ego. If you flow with the intention of boosting your ego, every failure you encounter while practicing will turn to frustrations. Not lessons, as they’re intended to be. Your journey in unraveling and self-realization will turn to an annoying routine and eventually, you will stop with the practice and end up worse than when you started.

“I’m afraid I’ll break my bones.” Patience plays a vital role in Yoga. The progressions needed to develop and familiarize yourself with the flows and posture will assure that you won’t hurt yourself as you advance in the practice. Do not jump into postures just because they look cool! That’s ego. And ego causes danger.

Be patient with the practice. Be patient with yourself. Stay humble and always be a student willing to learn new things. Slowly and surely progress further into the practice without any detrimental injuries that could hinder you to go deeper.

Before making any assumptions and opinions about the practice, first you have to try it out yourself. Everyone has different perspectives and different experiences. But yoga is intended to aid in one’s improvement of Self. The physical reward of the practice is just a bonus to its true prize – a developed personal knowledge of self.