Dear readers, say hello to Agni. She is our anonymous columnist who will be responding to your questions about what happens on and off the mat in the yoga world. She is a yoga practitioner and teacher with several decades of yoga experience. She has had many amazing teachers, and even more amazing students. She chose the “nom de plume” Agni in homage to “Dear Abby”, and because she hopes to help us burn down our obstacles to joy and freedom. Send Agni the questions you won’t ask your own yoga teacher at – no topic is taboo.
Dear Agni,
I hear that hot yoga helps with weight loss, but is that true? In other words, if I am trying to lose weight, am I better off just doing a more active physical exercise that would burn more calories, or is hot yoga a better option?Weighted


Dear Weighted,

I am not entirely qualified to answer this, but I guess that hasn’t stopped me yet! Were I more of a personal trainer, or someone interested in yoga for weight loss myself, I might have more of an answer for you. But here are my thoughts:

To me yoga is a practice, a discipline. Its goal is freedom from suffering. It might utilize asana, it might not. It might lead to weight loss, it might not.

I’ve carried a few extra pounds of my own in my lifetime, so it’s not that I don’t know the desire, I just don’t see yoga as the means. To me, putting physical goals on the practice of yoga is a limited way to think. There’s so much more yoga can offer than a tight butt or a flat stomach.

Instead, let’s inquire deeper into the extra weight itself. Why are you carrying it? Why do you want to lose it? What would weight loss give you? Perhaps these are the questions to ask before seeking the best way to burn calories. Inquire into the root of your habits and you might find the weight comes off as a consequence, not the goal. That was the case for me!

So maybe there’s your answer.

[Photo by emily balsley- CC BY]