The selection of exercises these days can be dizzying. Do you want strength, endurance, cardiovascular health or just plain and simple weight loss? Instead of trying to incorporate these aspects into random workouts it may be simpler to go with yoga. Within the discipline of yoga there are many different branches and styles that can fulfill your every wish. From therapeutic moves to a full-blown cardio workout, yoga has more to offer than just downward dog.
If you desire weight loss, try Power Yoga (Ashtanga Vinyasa)
Ashtanga Vinyasa (often called Power Yoga in the West) is an excellent form of yoga for weight loss because it focuses more on the “workout” aspect of the practice. This form of yoga involves chaturanga, a portion of the Sun Salutation sequence that involves challenging and slow push-up like movements.
There is strong evidence according to scientific research that certain types of yoga aid weight loss. In one study in Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice, 12 weeks of yoga led to an overall reduction in food consumption and a slower eating rate. Another study found in the same journal discovered that when practicing yoga, weight gain lowered by 3 pounds in normal-weight individuals and 19 pounds in overweight individuals. Even after only 3 days of yoga there was a decrease in BMI and waist/hip circumferences.
Cardiovascular health is greatly improved by Ashtanga yoga.
A study was done in the Journal of Bodywork and Movement Therapies and it was found that Ashtanga yoga caused the greatest increase in heart rate during the session when compared to Hatha and gentler forms of yoga, reaching as high as 120 bpm in some individuals. Practicing yoga is highly beneficial for people with cardiovascular risks, as shown in a study found in Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice. Just one hour of yoga daily for 3 months led to decreased blood pressure, blood glucose, and cholesterol.
Reduce chronic lower back pain significantly with Iyengar yoga.
Chronic lower back pain is a dominating problem and one of the main reasons for visits to alternative healthcare professionals. According to an article in Pain, after 16 weeks of practicing Iyengar yoga, 64% of the participants reported a significant reduction in pain intensity and pain medication usage (88%). Iyengar is a form of Hatha yoga that puts the emphasis on posture and breath control, both vital aspects of back strength and health.