Yoga: Slim Bodies, Strong Minds
Changing Your Lifestyle
Michael A. Taylor, MD, medical editor of Yoga Journal
magazine, and a gynecologic oncologist in Carmichael, Calif., cautions that
yoga itself will not do the trick in helping you lose unwanted pounds.
"When people are looking for a magic bullet, they're
looking for one bullet, one thing that will change their life," he says.
"Yoga isn't a magic bullet ... but it does offer the benefit of a change in
philosophy and lifestyle."
If you take up yoga purely to lose weight, you may be
disappointed, Taylor says. "It's when you become involved with the whole
lifestyle process -- that's where yoga fits in."
Even if you're less than svelte, you can join a yoga class.
"Not all yogis are thin," Taylor says. "Anyone can do yoga: older
people, physically disabled people, overweight people."
What you need to do, however, is know your body's physical
limitations -- and make sure that your instructor knows them as well, Taylor
advises. "Correct guidance is important," he says. "When beginning
the yoga process, it's important to be aware of your own limitations -- to rest
when you need to rest, for example -- but it's also important to tell the
instructor so that he or she can work with your individual situation."
In a yoga class, it's not important what you look like, Taylor
adds. "The image of their body may concern people who want to lose weight,
but in class, you're in your own space. You learn not to judge yourself or
others, and this creates a safe environment."
Beginning yoga classes also focus less on postures and more on
becoming aware of your body and learning how it moves, Taylor says. "You're
really learning, from the very beginning, to nurture and take care of
Something for Everyone
If the poses are difficult for you, modifications can always be
made. If you have a hard time bending, for example, you can start off doing the
postures in a chair or even on your bed. Many yoga postures can also be done
with props, like bolsters or blocks, so that you don't have to bend as far.