Welcome to Lesson 2: STRETCH

So I’ve got good news, and I’ve also got, well, not exactly bad news – but a reality check. Let’s start with the latter:

If you want to lose weight, you MUST exercise.

There are no two ways about it.

Why?

Because dieting alone is not enough. It’s just one piece of the weight loss puzzle – and if you diet without exercising, you’re going to pile on that weight again in no time, and worse still you might even fall sick.

Now let’s put that aside for a while, and take a look at the GOOD news:

Yoga is the only form of exercise you need to lose weight.

Am I saying what you think I’m saying? Yes. Go ahead and cancel your gym membership, give your free weights to your neighbor, and sell your treadmill on eBay. Because yoga really is the only form of exercise you need to get and stay fit, flexible, strong and slim.

Sounds impossible? Let me tell you a story…

What yoga really does to you?

52-year-old yoga teacher John Schumacher never power walks, he doesn’t lift weights, and he doesn’t go to the gym. In fact his daily fitness formula consists only of asanas and pranayama.

In the three decades that he’s been doing this, even his own students question him. Most assume it’s impossible to be truly fit without a conventional physical activity like running or weight lifting.

Eventually, John decided to prove everyone wrong. He signed up for physiological testing at a lab in Gaithersburg, Maryland – and just as he expected, he fell in the top range of his age group for a wide range of fitness tests, including maximum heart and exercise recovery rates. His doctor told him that he was in excellent physical condition, and estimated he had less than a one percent chance of suffering a cardiac event.

What’s more, John’s case is far from isolated. Studies of yoga practitioners have yielded similar results, including a study at the University of California that examined 10 college students before and after eight weeks of yoga training.

Through light weekly regimens consisting only of 10 minutes of pranayama, 15 minutes of warm-up exercises, 50 minutes of asanas and 10 minutes of meditation, the students’ muscular strength increased by as much as 31 percent, their muscular endurance by 57 percent, and flexibility by up to 188 percent.

Want more proof? Sure – a related study at Ball State University looked at how 15 weeks of twice-weekly yoga classes affected the lung capacity of 287 college students. All of the students involved, including athletes, asthmatics, and smokers, significantly improved lung capacity by the end of the semester.

Why is yoga so incredibly effective?

According to Yoga Journal the answer is that it fulfills all 4 requirements of an exercise routine that promotes weight loss.

Those requirements are…

1. Cardiorespiratory fitness. This refers to the fitness of your heart, lungs, and blood vessels. As you use yoga to work on your cardiorespiratory fitness, your stamina will improve, and you’ll lower your risk for a host of diseases like heart disease, diabetes, and cancer.

2. Muscular fitness. This refers both to muscle strength (how heavy an object you can lift) and muscle endurance (how long you can lift it). Without exercise, all of us lose muscle mass as we age, which can eventually result in weakness and loss of balance and coordination. As you grow more muscular through practicing yoga, your metabolism increases and you burn more calories at all time, even when you’re sleeping or watching TV. In fact every pound of muscle you have burns about 35 to 50 calories a day.

3. Flexibility. As most people age, their muscles shorten and their tendons, the tissue that connects muscles to bones, become stiffer. This reduces the range of motion, preventing optimum movement of your knees, shoulders, elbows, spine, and other joints. Loss of flexibility may also be associated with an increased risk of pain and injury. Through exercises that promote the strengthening of the bones and muscles, yoga keeps these problems at bay.

4. Body composition. Your body composition refers to the percentage of your body made up of fat instead of muscles, bones, organs, and other nonfat tissues. Experts have long recommended that we do at least three different types of activity to achieve optimum cardiorespiratory and muscular fitness, flexibility, and body composition – and yoga fulfils all these criteria.

4 reasons why yoga is better than any other form of exercise:

1. Yoga is gentle – unlike running or weight lifting, you don’t strain your body and muscles, you’re less prone to injuries, you work out your whole body and every muscle in it, which makes you more flexible and toned (without building big bulky muscles).

2. Yoga makes you mindful – it’s probably the only form of exercise that trains you to make healthy lifestyle choices, helps you avoid unhealthy ones like snacking or overeating, and helps you detect and listen to your body’s natural signals.

3. Yoga is relaxing – because it’s gentle on your body and mind, it helps you melt away stress, which is one of the biggest causes of overeating.

4. Yoga is fun – unlike cardio or weights which tend to get boring after a while, yoga is extremely diverse. There are hundreds of poses and sequences to practice, and you can take your time as you progress from the simple to the advanced ones.

Now that you know why it’s so effective, how about getting started with your yoga exercises?

Stay tuned for my next blog post, because I’ll be sharing with you what many people – including my yoga Guru in India – consider to be the single most effective yoga exercises for weight loss.

Until then, remember to share these blog posts with your friends. The world needs more slim and healthy people after all :)

To The Slimmer, Healthier & Sexier You,

Nika

PS. Want to start learning the full scope of yoga’s weight loss exercises? Module 1 in the Slim4Life home training program is packed with over 70 minutes of high quality tutorial videos, and an illustrated step-by-step guide to 90 slimming yoga postures, so you can start losing weight the healthy way – from the comfort of your living room. Click here to find out more.

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