Weight Loss: Personal Trainer or Personal Yoga Teacher?

By: David E. Morgan

If you're looking to lose weight, you may have considered hiring a personal trainer. Here are seven reasons to consider personalized yoga instruction instead of traditional gym-based personal training to help you meet your weight loss and fitness goals:

1. You never need to set foot in a gym or use gym equipment.

Unlike most forms of personal training, yoga builds strength and endurance by bearing the weight of your own body. All you need is a little floor space.

The benefits are clear: You don't need to pay extra for a gym membership, buy expensive equipment (yoga gear is cheap and often unnecessary), or worry about other people looking at you while you exercise.

2. While personal trainers tell you to 'push harder, make yourself do it,' a personal yoga teacher will encourage you to respect your limits without judgment.

Non-harming is taught as a tenet of yoga. This includes respecting and accepting yourself (including your body) as you are today instead of forcing the body to do things it's not ready for. This also includes training the mind to be aware of destructive self-criticism. Over time, you can safely expand your capabilities and learn to accept and honor yourself without the harsh 'no pain, no gain' attitude.

While a yoga practice can certainly help increase your tolerance for uncomfortable situations, it is strictly a 'no pain, no pain' endeavor.

3. Personal training does a great job of getting the weight off and building muscle, but may do so at the expense of flexibility.

Yoga allows you to lose weight while building lean muscles for both stamina and flexibility, giving you added agility, speed, and range of motion - an extra edge for the tennis court, golf course, football field or hiking trail.

4. Your personal trainer may 'pump you up' to work out in an excited state, spurred by the fight-or-flight stress response.

A skilled yoga teacher can achieve the same cardiovascular training by having you hold poses, flow through a series of non-impact postures, or even through simple breathing techniques - all while in a relaxed state.

5. Personal training sessions can sometimes be mind-numbing and repetitive.

Yoga, on the other hand, requires concentration to keep balance in the poses, building focus and poise in all aspects of life and at any age.

6. Personal training targets only the physical aspect of your wellbeing.

Yoga is a technology thousands of years old developed to bring optimum performance and balance to all aspects of your life. Get rid of the weight in your physical body - while shedding mental, emotional, and spiritual weights that have been keeping you from being happy, whole, and connected.

7. Yoga directly addresses stress, one of the main contributors to health problems today.

Whereas you may feel the euphoria of an endorphin-induced 'runner's high' as an after-effect of a tough workout at the gym (until you crash), yoga practice includes stress reduction from beginning to end, with techniques you can use long after your private session ends.

No doubt every personal trainer and every private yoga teacher is different and brings his or her own unique talents and training into an overall plan to help you lose weight. But before you sign your personal training contract, be sure to consider personalized yoga as an effective weight loss strategy.

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