Exercise Stretches and Yoga
For Weight Loss and Wellness
Can exercise stretches and yoga really help you lose weight?
Quite simply, yes they can. Although yoga does not burn as many calories as cardio exercise, stretching and yoga are still great ways for toning up and losing weight. Exercise stretches will give you a real workout in the sense that they can connect your mind, body, spirit. Women working on weight loss report that yoga gives them focus and body awareness not associated with other forms of exercise.
Body Mind and Spirit
For consistent weight loss, yoga unites body, mind, and spirit by focusing on three things: stretching poses and postures (asana), focused mindful breathing (pranayama), and deep relaxation (savasana). Even a beginner will benefit from simple, mindful exercise stretches.
The secret of health for both mind and body is not to mourn for the past, worry about the future, or anticipate troubles but to live in the present moment wisely and earnestly.
Gentle Movement and Awareness
With gentle yoga and stretching exercises, emphasis is not on "doing it right" and pushing your body to perform, but rather working at your own level and feeling positive energy internally. Yoga will guide you to treating your body with love and respect and gently nurturing you back to health. Learning how to stretch in ways designed for you will nourish your body with gentle movement and awareness.
Although Yoga does not burn as many calories as cardio exercise, it does have benefits not offered with other forms of exercise. Yoga combines exercise stretches with relaxation and focused breathing that puts you in touch with your body like nothing else does, and indeed can help you take off extra pounds.
A Real Workout
Celebrity yoga trainers Ana Brett and Ravi Singh, who have worked with such celebrities as Madonna and Gwyneth Paltrow, also believe in yoga's weight-loss powers.
"We have seen it in ourselves, we have seen it in our clients – yoga can give you a real workout even if you are a beginner," says Brett, who, with Singh, created the best-selling DVD program Fat Free Yoga.
Open to Change
Yoga can open you to change, so if you are making lifestyle changes to the food you eat and other destructive habits that have packed on the pounds, yoga will help give you a connection to your body that will help you improve your food choices and activity level.
Yoga forges a strong mind-body connection that will help you make you more aware of what you eat and how it feels to be full. You learn that your body is not the enemy and you begin to make healthier choices that lead to weight loss.
Tips to Help You Get Started
Learn "to feel" the sensation of movement. Slowly move and stretch and experience the moment.
Focus internally rather than physically. Breathe in deeply and exhale even deeper. "Feel" each breath and relax into it.
Exercise in a room without mirrors and if stretching with others, do not pay them attention. Focus inward and concentrate internally.
Yoga should never hurt. Don't push yourself to the point of pain.
When doing osanas, never push beyond your comfort level. Give yourself permission to rest if necessary.
Take every advantage of concentrating inward. Driving your car is a perfect time to practice deep breathing. When walking in a store, for example, be mindful of how you are moving. Is your head up and your shoulders back? Are you breathing fully?
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