Every month, there are thousands of people who search on the internet for "yoga to lose weight". Today, I decided to bring my vision on this phenomenon. And I intend to differentiate myself a little from the most visible results. "Doing yoga to lose weight. "Yoga exercises to lose weight. "Many people sell you the recipe for happiness through articles, files or videos. But is it really yoga? Explanations...
Doing yoga to lose weight
If I ask you what yoga is, you'll probably answer that it is a physical practice, where we follow a series of postures. And it is true. But yoga is also breathing exercises, relaxation and meditation. So it is not what we can consider as a sport, where we find the notion of play and effort within the very definition. Rather, yoga is a holistic practice.
That's true, I could describe 5 wonderful postures to help you lose weight. And if that's just what you came here for, I invite you to discover these twelve basic postures that will be excellent for sweating and losing a handful of calories. But in reality, I believe that no matter how many times you practice these postures with this goal in mind throughout your life, you will miss the essence of yoga. Yes, yoga is first and foremost a philosophy of life. And among the eight principles at the foundation of yoga is the notion of Niyama. The attitude one has towards oneself.
Lose weight through yoga
And this is probably where you should focus your yoga practice. Yes, it is a practice without movement, without a gesture. A practice of introspection. Because we don't do yoga to eliminate our extra pounds, we do yoga to stop fighting against this body that we mistreat. We do yoga to improve our relationship with ourselves. We do yoga to love ourselves and finally consider that we are a beautiful person.
Of course, doing yoga to lose weight is possible. As in running, cycling, in the gym or Irish dancing, you'll probably sweat while practicing, especially with intense yoga styles like Ashtanga or Vinyasa Yoga... But that's not what yoga is all about. Yoga can help you develop a new relationship with yourself. And it is perhaps in this way that it will make you "lose weight" the most...
Yoga helps to reduce low self-esteem
Getting on a yoga mat means agreeing that you're going to be pushed around. You're going to leave on this mat everything you know about yourself, or rather everything you think you know. All the masks you wear, all your injuries, all your blockages. All the answers to "who I am", all the times you've said to yourself "I'm not capable of..." This, in order to confront your reality, your interiority, yourself. On your yoga mat, you will meet someone who has no one to please, no ideal weight to maintain, no figure to firm up. For all this, yoga is the best way to tame you.
It's true, perhaps the most important thing in yoga is how you will maintain your body. But it will be through love and not through struggle, anger or hate. Yoga is going to be magical: It will invite you to love your body for real. This body that will carry you through every moment, that will blink with every blink of an eye, all your life, will work for you wonderfully. On your yoga mat, you will listen to your heart beating in silence, the coming and going of your breath. And there you will cultivate a new awareness of it.
Your body functions enough to keep you alive. This is perhaps the greatest gift it can give you. And even if every day, in front of your mirror, you grin when you see it, it continues to walk for you, without any respite. So, no doubt that, faced with this observation, you will end up wondering if doing yoga to lose weight finally has any interest.
Yoga invites you to love yourself unconditionally
Yoga will therefore make you lose some of your low self-esteem. It is inevitable. And it will germinate a new seed in the course of your sessions. What if I really love myself? That's a challenge, isn't it? It is this quest that is undoubtedly an exceptional reason to practice regularly. Because nothing is won yet. Because there is still a long way to go. For everyone.
Deep down, I believe that it is this path that transforms yoga into an uncontrollable habit in our lives. You'll see, it will soon become an addiction, because yoga adds love to everything you do. And that's where it becomes useful and vital.
Your body is so incredible... It allows you to enjoy the people you love, to have crazy laughs and to live all your happy moments. What if it was your relationship with it that needed to change today? What if doing yoga to lose weight didn't make sense anymore?
Yes, doing yoga to ease your anger towards yourself is possible. Yoga will allow you to strengthen your inner strength, to refine your vision of yourself and to stop comparing yourself. It will help you not to go for a "bikini" goal. You are beautiful when you feel good about yourself. You are beautiful when you are fully yourself. And I swear that yoga will give you that.
Yoga makes women's conditioning slimmer
Recently, I discovered some of the history of yoga in the West on Ariane's Facebook page, Yoga Coaching. She reminded me that until the end of the Victorian era, women were imprisoned in huge dresses that limited their movements. Showing a little of their skin was synonymous with sin. Women's bodies had to live hidden.
At the end of this era, the liberation of women's bodies began quite naturally. This, through dance and then through other practices such as harmonic gymnastics. This practice included gymnastics, breathing and relaxation exercises to develop the body, brain and soul. This reminds you of Hatha yoga? It's normal, these classes were greatly inspired by it. The unconscious goal for these women was to reconnect with their bodies, to free them from dogmas and to reconquer them.
Over time, the idea that women could have full control over their bodies was gradually integrated. But were they completely left alone about what formed an ideal figure or a suitable outfit? You can judge for yourself by looking at the front pages of the women's magazines of our time.
Having said that, yoga classes today are mostly made up of women. The reason? Probably because they find a way to tame their bodies that has been controlled for so long by others. No doubt they find a way to reconnect with their female body that has been so long frowned upon.
Somehow, I believe that yoga invites us to an inner revolution. Through this practice, we can finally decide that the way society and others look at our bodies is worthless. We come to tell ourselves that it is simply sublime and perfect as it is.
Isn't it time to eradicate the boxes in which we have been trying desperately to get women to fit in since the beginning? Those principles that act like the remnants of the outfits that have compressed us for so long?
What if doing yoga was a wonderful way to free yourself from the shackles of society and what is expected of a woman? Would doing yoga to lose weight in order to achieve a slim, firm figure in a bikini line still make sense?
Yoga reduces stress
We live in the heart of the 21st century, in an era where stress seems to be an integral part of our lives. It's true, it's rare that we live without any pressure, without any annoyance. Stress is the flip side of the coin of our much more comfortable lives. But is it really mandatory? Can't we try to take it away from our lives?
Personally, I believe that we can always return to a more Zen life. And yoga is a wonderful practice to serve that goal. We can climb on our mat every morning to get rid of our long to-do lists and our continuous running after time. It's a fantasy, don't you think? Probably, or it just requires a first step.
I believe passionately that with yoga you can relieve your stress level and make your worries go away. Your mat is a great companion on this path, to lead you little by little to a life where you will be fulfilled and relaxed.
And deep down, it may actually make you lose weight if you are one of those people who eat emotionally when the stress is too much.
You now know my opinion on the idea of doing yoga to lose weight. Unfortunately, I was not able to share with you a magic recipe on this notion. But maybe we can all decide today to love ourselves fully, as we are and to honor our bodies. Maybe we can decide that none of our pounds are too much and especially not if it is society that makes us feel it.