Yoga is revered for its power to relieve stress, increase flexibility, and build muscle tone. It is not, however, well known for promoting weight loss. So you might be surprised to learn that it can actually help us burn calories.

Traditional yoga is not an extremely active pursuit. It works our muscles, but we rarely break a sweat just by holding a pose (unless it’s really hot in the room). But the muscle-building effects of yoga do allow us to burn calories more efficiently. So if we participate in a good aerobic workout, we will see greater results than we would if we weren’t doing yoga.

Yoga can also give us the discipline we need to stick to a diet and exercise program. It enhances the relationship between the mind and body, giving us the motivation to take better care of ourselves. Lack of motivation is a frequent problem among those who want to lose weight, so this is a very important benefit.

New Incarnations of Yoga

Those who want to lose weight solely through yoga might find what they’re looking for in non-traditional yoga classes. There are a number of yoga styles that can give us the traditional benefits of yoga and a cardiovascular workout at the same time. These include:

* Vinyasa yoga – This type of yoga is based on movement from one pose to another while practicing yoga breathing techniques. Sun Salutations are frequently used, but other poses are usually included as well. This is sometimes done in a hot room to increase sweating.

* Ashtanga yoga – Ashtanga is a complex style of yoga that includes six different series of poses. Each serious is more complex than the previous one, so it is important to start at the beginning and work your way up.

* Power yoga – This is an Americanized version of yoga. It combines faster, more active movements with traditional yoga breathing techniques.

These types of yoga are more likely to increase our heart rate and work up a sweat than traditional yoga. While they may not give us as much of a workout as aerobics, they combine weight loss and cardiovascular benefits with the muscle building and flexibility training of yoga. And for those who do not have the time to participate in two separate workout programs, they can be great options.

Other than being forms of exercise, yoga and aerobics seem to have little in common. But traditional yoga can enhance the effects of more intense workouts, and these newly popular styles of yoga can give us the best of both worlds. If other workout routines have left you disappointed, adding or switching to yoga might be the answer you’re looking for.