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Slimming Down With Yoga
Building a Yoga Body

If you are already fairly active but out of shape and heavier than you would like to be, then start off with a beginning Yoga class. You need a good foundation if you have not taken Yoga before. But once you have the basics down, do challenge yourself. After you have studied Yoga for a while you will know how far to push your body without doing it harm. Once again, the issue of respect is involved. You care for your body, so you want it to be stronger, as opposed to punishing it for not being exactly the way you want it to be. Challenging yourself is important - the more you progress in your Yoga program, the more likely it is that you will be able to make physical changes.

(Article continued below.)

Many of you are wondering if it is possible to lose weight by practicing Yoga alone, without any other form of activity. Even though the answer is yes, keep in mind that you will have to work up to a fairly intense routine! A couple of easy Yoga classes a week will not do very much to make you more fit, although that's a great start and it's certainly far better than not doing anything. You will also have to eat sensibly. If you're consuming more calories than you're using you cannot lose weight - that's simple math. You will eventually need to practice Yoga most days for 45 minutes or an hour - just like you would any other activity. It will probably take a while to work up to that. And you should be practicing poses that build strength along with flexibility - a lot of standing poses that include lunges (the Warrior poses, for example), and poses for your upper body like Plank. (Obviously you will start off with modifications first, and gradually allow the strength to develop.) Building muscle through these poses will increase your metabolism and burn fat. Strengthening those core muscles - your abdominals and back - is also important, and this is where Yoga is especially useful. A vigorous style of Yoga such as Ashtanga will also burn calories and pretty much guarantee that you will lose weight, but any Yoga style that offers you a physical challenge will work. Keep in mind, however, that if you are not used to regular physical activity, it will take time to work up to the kind of intensive Yoga practice that will encourage weight loss. Patience is important (fortunately, Yoga teaches you patience). The bottom line is that Yoga is just like any other form of (dare we say) exercise - it must be done four to six times a week to be effective. Or you can alternate Yoga with other activities, such as walking, running and/or weight training. Yoga, however, is about more than just physical results, and its other benefits may be the real key to creating a body that you love.

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