September 27, 2011

Bikram Yoga and Weight Loss

I first signed up for Bikram yoga because I'd heard that it helps the weight melt off.  I was so excited, ready to work hard in class and watch the extra pounds drop off.

It didn't happen.  My body shifted a little.  I firmed up a little.  I know I definitely got stronger but I didn't drop any pounds, my tummy didn't shrink and I didn't fit into a smaller dress size.  For 2 years I practiced and yes, I got stronger and yes, I became more flexible, I gained confidence and got to know my body but I lost zero pounds.

It was after the Bikram Yoga Saanich Asana Competition and I was looking at photos of myself and I didn't like what I saw.  I was proud of myself but I expected my body to look different after 2 solid years of practice.  I decided to take matters into my own hands and see what else I could do.  

I contacted Kyla of Inside Out FitnessShe appealed to me most of all because she also practices Bikram yoga so understands a practitioner's need and want to practice yoga.  Once a week, for 6 weeks, I met with Kyla for a private training session.  She gave me a 40 minute workout that I could do on my own at home and incorporated weights, body weight exercises and a little cardio.  She also suggested that I increase my protein consumption to at least 15 grams of protein per meal.

By week 4 I was wearing underwear that had never fit me.  Finally!  The results I had been looking for.  I think what had happened was that as with any exercise my body got used to the cardio aspect of my yoga practiceGaining muscle mass and increasing my protein intake did me wonders.

I believe that some people probably lose weight through yoga practice.  I know some women who have quit their gym memberships once they started practicing Bikram yoga.  I think that my food choices probably limited my weight loss and I believe that my body just needs more muscle to be slim.  I believe that every single person is different and you need to find what works for you.  But if you're struggling with weight loss with Bikram yoga, try kicking it up a notch.  Try a couple body weight workouts through the week.  The more muscle you have the harder your body has to work to keep you going throughout the day.

1 comment:

Yolk E said...

I'm glad you're getting the results you wanted. I think you hit on the universal work-out truth: you have to figure out what works for YOU.

I had the opposite issue: I worked out a lot, but those five or ten pounds never came off. With Bikram the pounds dropped off within a couple of months, and my metabolism seems to be way amped up. I have a feeling it's thyroid related. Probably Bikram yoga stimulated my thyroid production (or de-stimulated--it is so confusing!), so I got to where it needed to be. Regular workouts, "calorie burning" and counting calories didn't do anything for me.

Interesting stuff...