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Why Yoga Isn’t Just for Weight Loss

Why Yoga Isn’t Just for Weight Loss

I recently read this article in Elephant Journal about the downfalls of promoting yoga as a weight loss tool and I have to say, I completely agree. Yes, yoga can contribute to a healthy lifestyle that can help practitioners lose weight. And yes, we are a country riddled with obesity, so encouraging healthy practices is a good idea. However, there are two important downfalls associated with using yoga as a weight loss tool: it promotes a negative body image and it contributes to the commercialization of yoga.

As someone who struggled with body image for years, I know all about using exercise as punishment. Though I have always felt spiritually nourished by running, I used to use other forms of exercise – weight lifting, spin, step aerobics, cardio kickboxing and boot camp – as little more than tools to enable my fear of gaining an ounce. If I ate a few extra calories, I punished myself with exercise. And when I worked out, the anxiety over my weight would be quieted, but only temporarily. It was like a drug.  I never had enough – and on the rare occasion when I missed a workout, I’d go into emotional withdrawal. In this way, exercise took me farther away from accepting myself and my body – the opposite of what yoga is supposed to do.

In addition, promoting yoga as a weight loss tool commercializes the practice. It puts it on par with jazzercize and zumba. Yoga, in this scenario, becomes something to market. And of course, it is intended to be something much more profound than a moneymaking gimmick.

 

What do you think? Is it a good idea to promote yoga as a method of losing weight?

 

Related:
Why Yoga Is So Misunderstood
Yoga Teacher Barbie: Empowering or Ludicrous?
5 Reasons You Should Start a Yoga Practice

Read more: Body Image, Fitness, Health, Spirit, Yoga, , ,

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Sarah Cooke

Sarah Cooke is a writer living in California. She is interested in organic food and green living. Sarah holds an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from Naropa University, an M.A. in Humanities from NYU, and a B.A. in Political Science from Loyola Marymount University. She has written for a number of publications, and she studied Pastry Arts at the Institute for Culinary Education. Her interests include running, yoga, baking, and poetry. Read more on her blog.

40 comments

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12:54AM PDT on Jun 28, 2013

I read your blogs regularly. Your humoristic way is amusing, continue the good work!
my diet

7:07AM PDT on Jun 15, 2013

Unbelievable work man!! Keep your heads high you probably did it.
african mango doest work

11:42PM PDT on Jun 14, 2013

Your articles and blogs are inspirational.
the advantage

10:50AM PST on Dec 7, 2012

Thanks

6:00AM PDT on Oct 23, 2012

I was attend yoga classes for two years. I liked it, but it doesn't help to lose weight at all. I ws forced to buy diet pills http://1loseweightfast.com/proactol.html

3:12PM PDT on Sep 29, 2012

yoga is spiritual, but an awesome work out too. like the article

4:32AM PDT on Sep 13, 2012

Tertiary care is specialized consultative health care, usually for inpatients and on referral from a primary or secondary health professional, in a facility that has personnel and facilities for advanced medical investigation and treatment, such as a tertiary referral hospital. Thanks.
Regards,
http://www.ipc-athletics.org/so-youre-too-skinny-how-to-gain-weight-naturally

1:12AM PDT on Sep 12, 2012

Many types of health care interventions are delivered outside of health facilities. They include many interventions of public health interest, such as food safety surveillance, distribution of condoms and needle-exchange programmes for the prevention of transmissible diseases. Thanks.
Regards,
www.hcg1234.com

9:51PM PDT on Aug 3, 2012

I've been doing asanas for years and it did nothing for my weight. Only after starting meditation practice to my surprise I started losing weight. Now I'm more body aware in my asana practice too and I progress rapidly buiding up strength and keeping healthy weight.

Why not promote a healthy practice to lose weight? Just because its benefits far outweigh weight loss doesn't mean it's not better than pills or dieting. Promoto yoga, promote fruits, vegies and other healthy things wherever possible! I'd like to see more people practicing yoga, becoming kinder, calmer and more spiritual. Just as I wished to see healthy meal outlets instead of fast food corners.

11:05AM PDT on Jul 29, 2012

Yoga sorts out all parts of my life, health and mentality

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
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