Can Yoga Do Something To Lose Weight?
Lose Weight Through Yoga: When Your Soul Is Burning Calories
>> Disclaimer: Yoga practice is not for losing weight! Behind the postures (asanas) is a millennia-old philosophy that can contribute to more self-acceptance and less attachment to the physical body. Reducing yoga to performing asanas that burn as many calories as possible would have missed the mark.
My first lesson on the yoga mat was motivated by one thought: lose weight. Getting thinner. My years of struggle with diets and the subject of food had made my weight keep climbing. In my desperation, I looked for solutions and came across yoga.
Acceptance was my teacher's favorite mantra.
I quickly learned that spiritual practice was not about losing weight and burning calories, it was about accepting my body for who it is. A concept that appealed to me very much after years of mortification.
Yoga is 99% practice and 1% theory.
I encountered Pattabhi Jois ’famous quote right at the beginning of my yoga practice. It took a while before I really understood what he meant by that.
Without realizing it, I turned the words around in Patthabi Jois ’mouth. My curiosity grew and the books piled up next to my bed. I started reading everything related to yoga. In theory, I understood that it was about indulging in the moment. Full of acceptance and without expectations. However, I failed to actually implement the essence of the theory on the mat.
I didn't want to admit that I still had a very specific goal in mind: my dream body.
Acceptance? Not even close! Whether in magazines or on Instagram, I was magically drawn to pictures of relaxed yogis. Fascinated by the flexibility of their bodies, I secretly wanted to go there. For me, yoga became an expression of ease and inner well-being. Two keywords that were associated with the ideal of a slim body deep down in me. Unfortunately.
Subconsciously, I began to transfer my stuck beliefs one to one to yoga practice. With fatal consequences:
I greeted the sun with the intention of burning calories under it. Preferably twice a day!
I studied the course plans of various studios and always decided on the sweaty hours. I made a good class by how much I felt my muscles afterwards and how strong the sweat marks on my hands and feet were on the yoga mat below me. The warriors were among my closest confidants, as were sun salutations of all kinds, while meditations and breathing exercises were on the red list - after all, they didn't burn any calories in yoga.
I was only looking for experiences in my body. I met other areas of practice with great disinterest.
Yoga teaches us that in reality we are nothing but pure consciousness. But my understanding didn't go that far. In my imagination I was one with my body and feeling for me took place exclusively on a physical level.
After practicing for a while, I began to feel more and more tired and limp.
My euphoria about standing on the mat every day gradually subsided. I decided to weigh myself to see if at least in that way it was worth the effort.
What followed was the shock of my life: four kilos more despite the intensive practice.
I couldn't believe my eyes when I saw the number on the scales. Even though I ate a healthy diet and did not miss any opportunity to practice! Why should I please still practice? I personally blamed yoga for the disaster and banished my yoga mat to the corner.
Reality check: Yoga is not a request concert
Yoga gives us exactly what we need, not what we want. I wanted to lose weight. But I got lessons. Yoga pointed to my real construction sites. For years I chased a number on the scales while in reality I longed for the feeling I suspected behind it. I was beginning to understand that my rigid approach had nothing to do with self-acceptance.
And then came the turning point.
After a while the yoga mat began to blink at me from the corner. Something told me to give yoga another chance - and I dared a second attempt: I practiced intuitively instead of stubbornly following my program.
At the same time, I knew that something had to change and began to trust my inner voice. Guided by her, I approached my practice with more serenity.
I practiced when and how often I wanted. Without compulsion and without expectations.
I felt good and my interest grew in dealing with the meditative aspects of yoga. In the beginning, I avoided important practices, simply to burn more calories. Yoga became the new diet for me. In doing so, I left out exactly the part that I lacked for inner balance.
Today I practice intuitively. Yin yoga and meditations are an integral part of my practice.
I finally feel that I have arrived in my body without wanting to change it. A feeling that can also be seen on the outside.
Do you recognize yourself in one or the other sentence and are about to give up? Then try to change something in your practice.
>>> You might also be interested in:
- Kilo crisis in lockdown? This is how you handle your weight with love
- Beyond the body: The role of asana in yoga philosophy
- Vinyasa Yoga: The way is the goal. Breathe, work out, switch off
- Jivamukti Yoga: The Path to Enlightenment Through Compassion
- Best of Livestream: Where we now practice yoga and do workouts
- Meet Franzi on her workshop tour Yoga & Emotional Hunger 2021. Dates: Munich 23/24 January 21, Frankfurt 30/31 January 21, Hamburg 6/7 February 21, Stuttgart 27/28 March 21, Vienna 01/02/05 .21, Nuremberg 08.09.05.21, Berlin 15./16.05.21, Düsseldorf 12./13.06.21, Basel 19./20.06.21, Mannheim 26./27.06.21
5 tips on how your practice has a positive effect on your body feeling
1. Find your style: The yoga practice should help you to achieve more balance. Always ask yourself what is lacking in your inner balance. Try different types of yoga and find a style that suits you. My absolute insider tip: Yin Yoga. Minimal effort with maximal relaxation.
2. Surround yourself with like-minded yogis: Granted, many classes are dominated by the physical aspect, the asana practice. But there are exceptions! Find a studio that focuses on spiritual practice. Connect with like-minded yogis to avoid competition on the mat.
3. Meditation, Pranayama & Co .: You have the feeling nothing is happening here? My experience: it's worth taking a closer look. Losing weight starts in your head! And what is better than listening carefully to a meditation?
4. Your intentions matter: What is really behind your desire to lose weight? Do you long for a certain size or rather for the freedom to accept yourself for who you are? Yoga will bring you closer to your true goals. And send you on detours if you only approach your problem superficially.
5. Battery check: How full is your battery Adjust your practice to your energy level so that it doesn't cause further stress. However, this is not a free pass to be lazy. Keyword: balance!
Surprisingly, it was mainly the calm Yin Yoga that brought me closer to my “dream body”. It was only when I began to nourish my soul with periods of rest that the pounds began to melt. My soul became the furnace of my body. When fed with enough time out, it runs at full speed and burns the real calories!
Photos © Franziska Krusche
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