Yoga is the practice of moving ones body in ways that create a stable mind state of peace both when practicing and when moving throughout the rest of your day. Yoga is ancient, originating first in India. It has been linked to many threads of Buddhism and Hinduism, but today it is also used with other religions or as a secular practice.
The benefits of yoga are multi-layered, with the first focus of benefit being on a more peaceful mind-body connection. Yoga is slow moving and quiet. When practicing you are able to think mindfully about the movements of your body and posture and calm yourself. Yoga is indeed a mental practice. But it can also be used to promote a healthier and stronger body and as a tool for weight loss.
Bikram yoga, for example, is the practice of the 26 Postures of yoga in a very hot room. It is said to warm your body up so that you can stretch and mold it for the better while also sweating out the impurities and helping you to better control your breathing for a calming effect in your daily life. As far as weight loss and Bikram are concerned, the excess sweating with the difficult poses can burn more calories and tone your muscles. Just don’t forget to drink a substantial amount of water before and after a Bikram session.
It must be mentioned here that, though there are many factors that can influence your diet, the general rule is, to lose weight, you must burn more calories than you consume, and the calories you consume should be of a high caliber.
For example, a candy bar and a salad with chicken may have the same calorie count, but the latter will help you lose weight better by giving your body nutrients and sustaining you longer so that you won’t binge later on.
When choosing foods to eat during weight loss, go with non-processed, non-packaged foods: fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, nuts, oils, eggs, fish, and lean protein.
If you read the ingredients in something, and you don’t understand the words, don’t eat it. Also, you’ll need to eat less. A pound of fat is equal to 3,500 calories, so to lose one pound per week, you must create a deficit of 3,500 calories that week. To do this, you have to find out how many calories you consume on an average daily basis.
This number is called your AMR (Active Metabolic Rate), and you’ll need to look up the calculation for it–which you can easily find online–and plug your numbers in. Once you have this number, record what you eat daily. Subtract your daily caloric intake from your AMR and you have your calorie deficit.
When doing these calculations, if your caloric intake is over your AMR, you have a problem, and you’re eating too much, but if you simply find your deficit to be minimal, this is where exercise can help. When you exercise you burn more calories and you can then add these calories you burn to your deficit, quickening your weight loss.
Yoga is an excellent tool for weight loss in that it tones and sculpts like no other exercise. Poses like the Plank and Warrior are key strength training poses that use your own body weight to build strong, lean muscle, and though you cannot replace fat with muscle, you can use eating right to drop pounds and then add muscle separately. A pound of muscle is far smaller than a pound of fat–and much better looking!
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