“How many calories will I burn in a Yoga class?” I hear this question often from people looking to Yoga as a way to manage their weight and physical fitness. But my answer typically has a lot less to do with burning calories than with the unexpected ways in which Yoga enhances our overall well-being.
Back in my youthful days, I gravitated toward exercises that would burn the most calories. I figured this was the obvious way to get the “biggest bang for my buck.” Hey, I’m no sucker! If burning calories was the only benefit of exercise, I would have been right in my thinking. But after years of high-energy workouts, I didn’t feel so great.
Need a change of pace?
My life, like my fitness routine, was busy, hectic and stressful. When I noticed that my body felt increasingly like a tight knot, I realized I needed something different. So, I decided to take up Gentle Yoga.
Being an energetic type, it took willpower to stick with the practice at first. I found Yoga to be more difficult than running a marathon or climbing a mountain. Moving slowly, coordinating my breathing and being present in the moment was not only more challenging, but also less interesting to me than my previous activities. I wondered, “Is this actually doing anything for me? Am I even burning calories?”
One day while practicing Gentle Somatic Yoga, I was prompted to ask myself, “How is my well-being today?” Though I had been a health enthusiast living an active lifestyle for years, I rarely made such an inquiry. This moment of self-reflection was supported by the practice itself, which helped me integrate my insights.