Hatha yoga, the yoga of physical postures and poses known as asanas, has caught on so much in the U.S. that it's difficult to find a town that doesn't have a yoga training studio. In case your town is behind the times and you're interested in pursuing yoga for health and mental/emotional equanimity, there are online courses.
Yoga is basically non-aerobic, and unlike strength training, no-pain, no-gain doesn't apply here. That doesn't mean it's effortless. It takes work to get into postures, but one doesn't tear muscles and ligaments getting into them. Repeated practice with postures and stretches will get you where you should eventually be.
There are even devices or methods of using chairs and walls to help with early struggles with positions due to physical limitations from injury or old age.
In addition to gaining flexibility, natural strength, and good health, yoga can help you lose weight. Various internal organs are strengthened with hatha yoga that promote sustainable natural, gradual weight loss. Especially assured if you eat properly according to yogic principles.
Six ways yoga helps you lose weight
(1) Activate the thyroid gland with the shoulder stand. Your thyroid plays an important role in maintaining a healthy weight because it regulates your metabolism. A famous yogi once said not everyone will benefit from the head stand. But everyone benefits from the shoulder stand. It is an inverted pose that's easier to perform than a headstand and promotes thyroid activity.
(2) Stimulate the gastrointestinal (GI) tract's vital force. A GI tract that is damaged or weak is a primary obstacle to poor digestion and weight gain. A sluggish liver will mess up your metabolism and digestion. An active liver helps you digest foods better and helps eliminate cravings that lead to ingesting unhealthy foods and beverages.
Yoga back bending exercises handles the whole abdominal area in addition to flexing the spinal cord to create more overall flexibility and proper alignment.
(3) Activate internal body heat and increase heart rate with the sun salutation. This routine done quickly is an exception to the non-aerobic rule. Not everyone uses it. There are 12 different positions to go through in a series without sustaining any of the poses if you want that heart rate to go up.
All 12 are considered one series, and usually several series are done with short standing pauses between each. These stops and starts pump up the cardio system without straining your heart and stressing or beating up your knees and ankles.
(4) Natural strength building by working your muscles with balancing poses helps create better metabolism with overall muscular strength without pumping iron.
(5) Flexing the colon will help unclog waste. This can be achieved with bandhas (which are inner knots or locks that hold pranic energy within certain areas in the body), which can even be done in the car during a traffic jam. Bandhas help tone abs too.
(6) Alleviating "comfort food" binging. The corpse pose is the most underrated and misunderstood of all postures. It's the final pose of any hatha yoga session. It looks easy, but it's a challenge because it requires you learn to relax every muscle in your body, aligning your sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems.
A properly done corpse pose opens chi energy channels to cure ailments and relieve the anxiety/tension that invites "comfort food" binging.