Beginner’s Guide to Yoga

One of the greatest benefits to yoga is its ability to aid in weight loss. All yoga is designed to increase muscle strength, although special forms raise the heart rate enough to be an effective way to lose weight. If you’re interested in yoga for weight loss, the first step is to learn which forms will help you.

What is Yoga?

Yoga began in India around 5,000 years ago. There are a dozens of popular forms of yoga used today, including yoga for weight loss. For themost part, yoga uses breathing techniques called pranayama, postures called asanas, increased flexibility and meditation, or dhyana.

The best form of yoga for weight loss is called vinyasa, or flow yoga. This style is different than most in that it begins with many fast-paced poses, or sun salutations, followed by many standing poses to keep you moving constantly. After the warm-up, deep stretches and back bends are added. There are a number of popular styles of vinyasa practiced today, making it easy to find a class nearby. Here’s a look at two popular styles.

Power Yoga

This style of vinyasa yoga is easy to find at many gyms. Power yoga gives you a great cardiovascular workout and remains a great form of yoga for weight loss. This style of yoga is largely based on the intensity of another popular form called Ashtanga, although it incorporates many fixed poses.

Ashtanga Yoga

This vigorous form of yoga has many advantages for anyone who wants to lose weight with yoga. Ashtanga is often available at yoga studios and beginners are usually encouraged to start with a series of classes. One of the best things about this style is it follows a set series of poses every time. This makes it easy to learn the poses and then practice yoga at home.

What do you need for yoga?

The beauty of yoga is it requires nothing but your body. Still, there are many yoga props that can make the experience more enjoyable. Yoga mats, often called sticky mats, are one of the best things to buy if you plan to practice yoga for weight loss at home. These mats have a non-slip surface and are thinly cushioned. They work best on a flat surface and can be wiped clean after a workout. Yoga mats cost around $20 and make many poses more comfortable on a hard floor. Yoga blocks, on the other hand, help you stay in the correct form. These blocks are rectangular and may be used at different heights. The last yoga prop you may find helpful is the wedge, which is a triangular-shaped item that looks like a soft door stop. This wedge is designed to give you extra support and avoid painful overstretching during many yoga poses.

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