Sometimes people ask me: if they practice asana, can they lose weight?
I don’t know exactly. But I can tell you what happened to me.
I’m 160 cm tall and usually around 48 – 50 kg. I’ve never tried to lose an ounce on purpose, and my weight doesn’t change often.
I have three meals a day, but since last year I’ve cut down my breakfast if I want to practice asana in the morning. Now I only have a cup of coffee about two hours before practising Mysore style. My lunch time and dinner time are quite stable, and the diet mainly includes rice, noodles, vegetable, tofu, dairy and chicken. During weekends I get sloppy. Either on Saturday or Sunday, my husband and I enjoy a hearty English or American brunch, and have dinner around 6.30 pm.
For three times per week, I practice Ashtanga yoga for two hours straight and the practice includes the complete primary series, all the jump-backs jump-throughs and some poses of the intermediate series. This has been going on for a year or so, and I still didn’t lose an ounce.
Well, considering that I’m quite thin already, I guess that makes sense.
But things do change sometimes:
2010 at Yoga Thailand, Koh Samui
Except on Saturday, I had been following this schedule for a one-month training:
7am – 8am Pranayama
8am – 10am Mysore style
afternoon theory classes and restorative yoga
I didn’t have breakfast in the morning, and only had two vegetarian meals a day. I liked a cup of coffee in the afternoon and that was all. After a week, I was surprised that I had lost 1 kg. When I completed the whole programme, I had lost 4 kg.
2012 at Ashtanga Yoga Shala NYC
This week I’m doing three workshops for the whole week. The Mysore style practice isn’t included or required for the workshops, but I want to practice in the morning:
8am – 10am Mysore style
10.30 am – 2.15pm Adjustment Workshop
I have a cup of coffee around 6.30am, a peach before 10.30 am, some smoothie and baby food at noon. After the workshop I still have to commute and teach, so I only have a light meal and some fruit around 4.30pm and 8.30 pm.
After three days in a row, I found myself lost 1 kg.
Well, I do feel tired studying intensively and taking care of the chores at the same time, especially I have to walk, take the subway and train to commute between Westchester and East Village. Sometimes I also don’t sleep very well at night. But I certainly don’t feel weak or light-headed.
I don’t suggest that you should do what I do if you want to lose weight. And of course there are plenty of other things you can do if you want to lose weight, you don’t necessarily have to practice yoga asana.
But if you are willing to commit to a daily practice and adjust your diet, I believe weight loss is just a natural result.
Yogi and yogini, what are your stories?