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With its emphasis on mindfulness and meditation, yoga is a great soothing practice for the mind. Of course, there’s also movement involved, but how effective is it? Can you get a more lean-looking physique by practicing yoga as your only exercise?
Read on to learn:
- 6 ways yoga transforms your body and the way you look
- how long you need to practice to see visible results
1/4 What happens to your body when you start doing yoga?
There are many types of yoga out there. Strength-building and vigorous yoga styles such as Power, Vinyasa, and Ashtanga are your best friends if you’re looking for visible physical body changes.
Here are 6 ways your body will change with consistent yoga practice:
1. You’ll become more flexible
A stiff body never sounds fun. Not only can stiffness cause tension and discomfort but it may make everyday activities downright painful.
Our body naturally gets stiffer with age, but we’re speeding up the process tenfold by leading inactive sedentary lives. Here’s where yoga comes to the rescue.
Research shows that yoga is a great way to regain and increase your natural range of motion. What’s more, yoga is more effective at improving flexibility than other common physical exercises such as aerobics, Tai Chi, Zumba, etc.
You’ll likely feel more freedom and space in your body after a single yoga class, but it might take about a month or so to see long-term flexibility improvement.
Remember that you will become more flexible if you practice consistently. Cliche as it is, it’s not about the destination but the journey. Instead of focusing on the ultimate goal, focus on the frequent small wins. For example, when you’re struggling to reach the floor in a forward fold, focus on reaching your ankles first.
2. Your muscles will get more defined
Not only will you become more flexible with yoga, but also you can grow your glutes, define your abs, and finally shovel snow without feeling dead the next day (because ya know, winter is almost here).
All jokes aside, regular yoga does help you gain muscle strength and definition, according to research. The poses in Hatha yoga strengthen your chest, abs, and core. Several poses, including the Forearm Plank and the Boat Pose, build core strength. Other exercises, such as Chaturanga, target your upper body. In addition, such poses as Warrior III and Half Moon will strengthen the lower body and improve your balance.
It might take longer to see visible results, but you can always throw some weights into your yoga practice to speed up muscle growth.
3. Your balance and endurance will increase
Strength-building types of yoga will get your heart pumping and improve your stamina. This means you’ll get better at simple daily activities such as walking up the stairs when the elevator is broken or taking long hikes.
Yoga also might decrease the risk of falling by strengthening your core and improving your balance. One study showed that 8 weeks of yoga can increase your balancing time by 3 times.
4. Your skin might improve
Yoga won’t treat your acne or improve skin texture, but it might help your skin heal faster and look more radiant.
How exactly? Yoga has been shown to reduce inflammation, stress, and regulate the function of adrenal glands, all of which play an important role in reducing breakouts.
5. You might become taller
Slouching and droopy shoulders are expected results from constant sitting and looking down at our phones. Yoga not only adds physical activity into your day, strengthening those tense back and neck muscles, but also makes you more mindful about your posture throughout the day.
So don’t be surprised if you feel like you grew a few centimeters taller after taking up yoga.
6. You will lose weight faster (if that’s your aim)
Losing weight requires major lifestyle changes, including adding more movement, getting more night rest, and switching up your diet. And guess what? Yoga checks all the boxes.
First, it adds activity to your day and burns calories.
Second, it builds muscle. The more muscles you have, the faster your metabolism.
Third, it lowers stress, helping you sleep better and avoid binge-eating.
Forth, yoga promotes healthy eating habits and may encourage you to be more mindful about what you’re putting in your body. (Read about yogic diet here.)
Finally, yoga will increase your confidence and self-image. And who knows, maybe after a few weeks of yoga you won’t be crazy about losing weight anymore because you’ll feel perfectly comfortable in your present body.
Physical changes are just one part of yoga. Learn how yoga benefits your body from the inside here.
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2/4 How often do you need to do yoga to see results?
Wondering how long does it take to get better at yoga?
Regular yoga practice is the key to achieving success and seeing visible physical results.
If you’re new to yoga and don’t do any other form of exercise, start practicing two-three times a week and gradually build it up so your body can adapt. Doing too much too fast may lead to injuries and hinder your progress, which is exactly the opposite of what yoga is supposed to do!
Eventually, you can even practice every day if you wish. Make sure to vary your practice, alternating between strength-building days and relaxation, to avoid straining your muscles, joints, and ligaments.
When it comes to rest, it is okay to take a week off every now and then. You might feel stronger when you return.
Check out this useful guide on how often to do yoga based on your goals.
3/4 How long should I do yoga each day?
It depends on your current fitness level and your goals.
For example, if you do yoga to lose weight, practice more intensely at least three to five times a week for at least an hour. If you’re a beginner, start slowly — start with half an hour of practice and build up from there. This allows you to build strength and flexibility and prevent injuries.
If you only have 20 minutes to spare per session, that’s fine too. Make sure you don’t let unrealistic goals or time constraints get in the way. Do what you can and don’t worry about the rest.
Even if you practice yoga for only one hour a week in total, you’ll experience the benefits. The more you practice, the greater the benefits you’ll experience.
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4/4 How long does it take for yoga to change your body?
If you practice yoga consistently and under the guidance of an instructor, you should start seeing visible results in about 5-10 weeks, although this will vary from person to person.
To get maximum benefits, you should practice yoga as a whole. Therefore, in addition to postures and meditation, you should also make healthier food choices.