If you thought yoga is only about gentle postures and chanting Om in an incense-filled room, you may be in for quite a surprise during your first yoga class.
While there are many forms of yoga, some, like Ashtanga yoga, can produce quite a caloric burn. In fact, given yoga’s ability to increase metabolism and tone and strengthen the body, it can be a great way to fight the freshman 15. But yoga’s physical benefits are just as important as its mental benefits in helping you avoid weight gain.
Here is what you need to know about yoga and your health.
Yoga and weight loss
Yoga can be such an effective workout to avoid the dreaded freshman 15 because it does more than just give you a cardiovascular workout and produce lean and toned muscles. When it comes to weight loss and health, yoga’s real gold star comes from its ability to produce body awareness. In doing so, it has a near magical way of making you much more aware of the reasons for choosing certain foods over others, controlling portion sizes and clueing you into why you are eating.
The fifteen pounds gained by college freshmen are all due to mindless and careless eating, poor sleeping habits and little physical activity. No one needs four slices of pizza at 2 a.m., nor does anyone need the buffet-style breakfast, lunch and dinner that is served in dorm cafeterias.
By practicing yoga, whether it’s a more restorative form of yoga like Anusara yoga or an athletic style like Ashtanga, yoga heightens the sensations of your body allowing you to decipher between needs, wants and cravings.
What to look for
Since yoga is so popular right now, there is a good chance that your campus gym offers yoga classes, or that you can earn credits by taking a yoga class. In addition, there are probably yoga studios all around your college campus that cater to students.
If you’re not sure where to begin, ask around with your friends to get a recommendation. Most studios will offer a complimentary introductory class and many will offer discounted rates for students.
Tips for success
The key to fighting college weight gain with yoga is to establish a consistent and frequent practice. While it may sound like quite a commitment to attend a yoga class two or more times a week, you will quickly realize how important your yoga practice is to avoid the freshman 15.