We understand why so many people have questions regarding weight loss and exercise. For us, exercise used to only be about weight loss. The only reason we’d go to the gym, or go for a run, and even the Pilates/Yoga class. The goals were always to get smaller, get skinnier, to lose weight and have less body fat.
So, yeah, we understand why we get these questions (all the time): does yoga help lose weight? Does yoga increase muscle tone? Does yoga help with fat loss? Questions all to do with the aesthetics of the body.
We can blame many things for this mindset but the most important thing is what we do next.
How can we choose to move on from this mindset? How can we start to create a positive relationship with exercise?
You see, when the only goal is to lose weight, exercise is not enjoyable. It feels like a chore.
For us, it used to feel like punishment, like there was something wrong with us because we weren’t the ‘right’ weight.
This way of thinking caused us years and years of self suffering. For Emma, she had bulimia and for Carla, she dieted from age 11 up.
Add to that, the obsession with exercise and calorie burning, you can start to imagine how our relationship with exercise turned toxic.
Maybe you’re nodding your head. Maybe this is you now. Or perhaps this is you a year ago, 2 months ago, 10 years ago.
Wherever you are on your journey, our hope is that you can find a way to exercise that doesn’t invoke feelings of hate toward your body (hopefully we can help!). Because when you start to really think about it, how AMAZING is it that your body can move, can run, can dance, can do yoga. It’s damn amazing that’s for sure.
Yeah ok, I’m still wondering, is yoga good for weight loss?
We know, it takes a while to unpack this mindset change.
For us, practicing yoga led to the evolution of our self acceptance practice.
That is, acceptance of your body right here, right now. It’s amazing that a regular yoga practice helped us change our mindset.
But you see, yoga really is the ultimate way to connect mind and body. Research shows it also provides many other health benefits, like reducing stress and improving sleep. There have been many a study published, some of our favourites on what yoga can do for your brain and other organs.
But no matter what styles of yoga you are into, you really can’t move past the fact that when you’re on your yoga mat doing your yoga practice it connects your mind and body. It gets you into the present moment, out of your head and into your body.
It was this realisation, while we were listening to our yoga instructor and doing all the downward facing dogs, sun salutations and yoga poses that this practice was making us feel gratitude for our bodies, as they were, in the moment.
We weren’t thinking about how many calories we were burning, we weren’t counting down any clock (like we used to so often at the gym), we weren’t wondering how much we’d weigh after the hour of hot yoga or power yoga was done…
We were simply being. Simply moving our bodies. And it made us feel good and it was joyful.
Fast forward and that’s why we created MerryBody. To inspire you to feel the same. To inspire you to actually enJOY your workout.
And yet, we still understand why you have this question: what’s the best yoga for weight loss?
Because we are surrounded by messages that tell us that thinness = beauty. Thinness = better. But it is up to us, as individuals, to decide (and know) that this isn’t true.
And it’s also up to us to realise that thinness does not always = health.
And really, this should be one of the goals when it comes to exercise, to improve and maintain overall health.
So when you ask us: what are the health benefits of yoga? Now THAT is a great question because really there are so many.
Some of the benefits of yoga you may experience (yes, from all types of yoga):
- Improved focus
- Better connection to self
- Deeper connection and compassion for others
- More patience
- Increased vitality and energy
- Larger lung capacity
- Increased flexibility
- Build muscle and strength in the body
- Increased bone density
- Less stress and anxiety
- Healthy heart rate (resting and max)
- 2 minute plank hold (haha seriously, you will be able to do this with a consistent yoga practice!).
But I’ve been told to lose weight to improve my health!
There is no doubt that obesity can affect health. But to us, weight loss isn’t a plan.
If we were told to lose weight 10 years ago, we know without a doubt, it would not have been a healthy journey toward weight loss. We probably would have gone home and went through an hour of emotional eating and bingeing, then bought some kind of diet shake and doubled our gym workouts. And yeah, we may have lost weight but our overall mind and body health would have declined.
A lot of the time the focus is always on the end goal but really what is most and more important is HOW we get there.
So yes, adding a yoga practice may help you lose weight, so will walking, and most other physical activity (especially if you are sedentary for most of the day). Add to that, healthy eating, like eating less processed foods, adding more veggies and making sure you drink water.
It’s also important you check in with your doctor and get your blood work done to ensure there’s nothing else affecting your health.
When you think about it, wouldn’t you prefer to do a workout you actually enjoy? And wouldn’t you be more likely to stick to it if you actually wanted to do it?
Wait, I am allowed to enjoy exercise?!
Yes! You are! And we always recommend that if you haven’t found a way to exercise that you enjoy, to keep searching and trying new things!
This is why we have Free MerryBosy Yoga Class available, so you can test it out and see if this way of working out suits you. Seriously, if you haven’t tried Yoga or Pilates before, you need to sign up to this class!
Keep searching until you find something that doesn’t feel like a chore. There is no need to hop on the trend of the next BEST THING, simply move in a way that feels good.
You’ll find that the consistency you used to struggle with is no longer as hard. You might even look forward to your workout! For us, our yoga and pilates practice is now a highlight of our every day. It’s a celebration of our bodies. It makes us feel alive, energised and joyful!
We are excited for you to discover a way of moving that makes you feel good and that reminds you how amazing you are.
If you have more questions on this, let us know. We are here to help.
Emma + Carla