When our medical weight loss clients begin to put together an exercise program, many of them ask about yoga. It’s great for lowering your stress levels and developing strength and flexibility. And because yoga can help you get in touch with your body, it might even help you stay motivated and aware of your body’s changes. So yes, yoga can be a great addition to your medical weight loss plan. But there are five things you should know first.
There are many types of yoga. Before you sign up for a class, ask yourself what you hope to accomplish with yoga. Then look for a class that matches your goals (talk to the instructor if necessary). Some yoga classes are meditative and “stretchy” whereas other focus on more movement. There are even “hot yoga” classes held in very warm rooms, designed to make you sweat.
Yoga is not just a form of exercise. Yes, many celebrities practice yoga, and we often associate their lean, toned bodies with this form of exercise. But yoga is also a spiritual practice, and should leave you feeling mentally and emotionally balanced. You might notice that your stress levels lower, or that you begin to feel more in tune with your body.
Yoga is not competitive. With other forms of exercise, you might feel competitive feelings creeping in. But yoga is more about being your personal best, so resist the impulse to glance around the room and compare yourself to others. Most asanas can be modified for beginners, so don’t worry if you’re not “there” yet. One day, you will be!
You can go at your own pace. Most yoga instructors will not push you beyond your comfort limits, so you don’t have to worry about this being a high-pressure type of class. You can modify the exercises so that you don’t risk injury, and take breaks when needed.
Yoga is more challenging than you might imagine. Many of us picture yoga classes as relaxing, meditative settings. But you might leave your session dripping in sweat! Yoga is deceptively difficult, and even when holding still your body will be working hard. But the good news is that you can get very toned over time.
Yoga is a great choice for most exercise programs, but do meet with us first. We will clear you for underlying medical conditions, and offer other advice on your medical weight loss program as needed.