Yoga for Weight Loss, Wellness, and as a Way of Life

How do YOU define a healthy lifestyle?

People use yoga for various purposes: yoga for weight loss, yoga for balance, yoga for stress relief--and the list goes on and on. I have seen that the benefits of yoga are infinite. Yoga has the ability to truly change your life.

Many people have false ideas about yoga. My traditional family was concerned it was some strange religion. Some people think you just sit around and hum. Others believe it is simply stretching, and therefore could not produce any real benefit.

Yoga can be extremely intense, depending on the type of practice. It has brought me some of my most intense sweating and most lingering soreness--even beyond what I've experienced with traditional cardio and weight exercises.

What you find with yoga is that it does far more than strengthen your body. It changes your mind. If you have the right instructor (I particularly like Baron Baptiste instructors), you will gain insight into the nature of life. You will learn things through your experience with your body that you will automatically begin to apply to your life.

In yoga weight loss happens naturally, without focus on that particular goal. Your body gets stronger, and you begin to see it as more beautiful than ever before. It is so subtle you don't even know it is happening at first. And yoga is so good for your inner peace that you want to make it a regular part of your life--and, of course, consistency is the downfall of most fitness efforts.

Many times I see people who are far too focused on weight changes. Yoga provides a total life balance that goes deeper than the surfaces changes. Ultimately you won't need different techniques for stress management, personal development, exercise, and relaxation--your yoga practice can be all of these rolled into one.

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Jennifer Pereira MA, RD, LD, CSCS, LPC - WISE Therapist & Dietitian

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