It has become fashionable these days to do an insane number of repetitions of a posture (Asana) and claim to have lost weight as a result. While we are not disputing the claim, it’s the safety aspect of it that we would like to draw everyone’s attention to.
In traditional Yoga, repeating an Asana ad nauseum is not recommended. It could and does result in injuries, pulled or even torn ligaments and unnecessarily stressed joints.
On the contrary the benefits of Yoga lie in holding a posture for longer and longer durations as we perfect the pose and get more comfortable in it. However, even here the Yoga instructor will specify the maximum time a practitioner should ideally hold the pose. After the specified time, the practitioner is expected to release the pose, take a few seconds to reset and then assume the pose again. Once again hold for as long as is comfortable and release. Usually, a Yoga instructor will ask you to repeat the posture once more and at the most, three times. He or she will also demonstrate the right way to breathe as one gets into and out of a pose.
Weight loss is not the goal
At Pratimoksha we always say that weight loss is a by-product of Yoga, and not the goal. The impact of Asanas is usually holistic because that is the aim — all-round wellness. Through the first two limbs of Ashtanga Yoga — the Yamas and Niyamas (observances or rules that Yoga sets forth) — we learn to inculcate a certain discipline that seeps into our lifestyle, which includes our food and sleep habits.
Once we set these aspects of our life right, weight loss will happen naturally. And along with weight loss, we gain increased stamina, flexibility and strength. This is how Yoga works. As we continue to practise Yoga, we learn to maintain our healthy weight.
So remember, while Yoga can and will help you lose weight, extreme care must be exercised that you are not overdoing your Asana practice with the sole aim of shedding kilos.
Take a look at our previous blog on the various styles of Yoga and check out which one suits you.