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Yoga for Weight Loss

While yoga continues to experience a modern renaissance in popularity with new yoga classes popping up all over the nation each year, the practice and benefits of yoga have been experienced for thousands of years. It’s no wonder yoga has maintained its popularity when you look at its incredible positive impacts on your health. From increased flexibility to stress reduction, yoga benefits your body both inside and out. However, one benefit that’s attracting increasingly more people to various forms of this exercise is weight loss.

Aerobic Exercise

Yoga provides gentle aerobic exercise, making it a more accessible way to burn calories for a wider range of people. Aerobic benefits are especially effective for those who have never taken part in a regular exercise routine or have low activity levels, but even athletic individuals can benefit from yoga’s aerobic effects. When practiced regularly or in combination with other aerobic activities, yoga can rev up your metabolism, helping you more easily reach the calorie deficits necessary to burn fat towards not only losing weight but keeping it off.

Strength Training

Yoga is incredibly effective at increasing both strength and flexibility using your body’s own weight for resistance. Strength training through yoga helps you lose weight in two main ways. First, it builds muscle tissues, which in turn burns more calories to maintain than fat in your body. Second, working muscle tissue results in a calorie burn even after you finish a yoga class due to excess post-exercise oxygen consumption, or more simply put, the extra calorie burn needed to return oxygen to its normal resting levels in your body.

Hormone Balance

Yoga can also impact weight loss by helping control stress hormones often associated with weight gain. Yoga’s dual components of exercise and stress reduction help reduce the release of a hormone called cortisol, according to studies from the Thomas Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia. Cortisol is a stress-related hormone that causes weight gain by both increasing your cravings for unhealthy food and encouraging the storage of the foods you eat as fat. During the Philadelphia study, participants consistently had their cortisol levels drop after a yoga class through moves like Halasana (Plow Pose) and Vrksasana (Tree Pose). This means that not only will you feel a reduction in your stress levels after class, but your weight will be positively impacted as well.

Whether you’re an experienced yogi or you’re researching options for your first yoga class, one of the greatest benefits of yoga is that it can be modified for all fitness levels. This makes yoga accessible to anyone with an interest in experience yoga for weight loss or any of its many other health benefits.

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Yoga for Pain

Yoga for Chronic Pain Management

Chronic pain can be emotionally and physically debilitating. Chronic pain affects us on many different levels. Your brain senses pain from sensory, emotional and cognitive angles. The brain is wired to expect severe pain, and it swiftly initiates a strong pain response. Neuropathways rely on past experiences that help the brain deal with similar threats. Our cognitive and emotional responses can jumble our actual pain signals.

Yoga and Chronic Pain Management

Yoga teaches you to be aware of your posture and alignment. The mindfulness training gives yogis tools for engaging with pain in a way that reduces damaging emotions. Most chronic pain remedies are ineffective. Conventional treatments do not focus on the pre-established neuropathways. Similar physiological treatments are prescribed for an emotional response and actual pain. To effectively manage chronic pain, the treatment should include a physical and psychological assessment. Yoga therapy targets the central nervous system. Yoga poses reduce sensitivity by changing the brain’s response to chronic pain.

Physiological Changes in the Brain and Chronic Pain

Chronic pain causes several physiological changes. Physiological changes can affect your physical and mental health. Breathing changes can make your breath shaky and shallow. Erratic breathing can cause an irregular heartbeat. Tense muscles can keep you in a constant state of alertness. The pain can affect your thinking patterns. You may be irritable and less optimistic. Yoga can decrease physical pain. The increased oxygen flowing to your brain can rejuvenate your muscles.

Yoga Poses Relieve Pain and Strengthen Muscles

Yoga poses can decrease the intensity of arthritic pain. Practicing yoga poses on a regular basis may give you a positive physiological response to pain. Chronic pain can worsen your ability to cope with stress. Asana poses are designed to strengthen and stretch your body. You are not responsible for your chronic pain. However, you must make pain management your responsibility. When you are finished stretching, you will notice an improvement in your physical and emotional health.

You should always start with gentle yoga poses. Start with simple stretches to improve breathing. The Cat-Cow Pose is great for increasing your range-of-motion. When you can do the gentle stretches without pain, you can add Warrior poses and more advanced poses. Focused relaxation may relieve chronic pain. Savasana is a good restorative pose. Conscious relaxation techniques include body scans and simple breath awareness. The techniques should cultivate kind feelings towards yourself.

Here’s a video showing the Cat-Cow Pose:

Bikram Yoga

What is Bikram Yoga

Most people would cringe at the idea of doing anything in a hot, humid room. Not Yogis, though. Bikram Yoga has gained an immense amount of popularity over the years, and for good reason. There are tons of benefits to this yoga style, but many people still question what it even is. If you are considering Bikram Yoga, here are a few things you need to know about it.


Bikram Yoga, also known as “hot yoga”, has swept the yoga world, gaining a huge following along the way. But it wasn’t always so well known. Bikram Choudhury, who taught yoga in Japan, chose to use heaters in his yoga classes after learning his students would go to the sauna on their afternoon breaks.

Starting out at a lower heat, 82 degrees Fahrenheit, he slowly moved the temperature up to where it famously sits now: 104 degrees Fahrenheit and 40 percent humidity.


One of the main reasons Bikram Yoga has become so popular is due to its outstanding health benefits. The 26 poses, created by Bikram Choudhury, are said to clean veins, arteries, and improve mental state.

Then there is, of course, the sweat. It’s been well known for many years that sweat helps to eliminate toxins from the body, and by the end of a Bikram Yoga class, many yogis are dripping in sweat. The heat and humidity of the room also help participants find a deeper stretch, as the warmth of the room enables tight muscles to become loose and flexible.

Traditionally, Bikram Yoga consists of 26 poses that last 90 minutes. Although some classes can be shorter, this is the original form and has been found to be extremely beneficial. Instructors have to go through a specific class, approved of by Bikram Choudhury himself, in order to teach this yoga style.

Preparing for Bikram Yoga

If you are headed out to a Bikram Yoga class, make sure you bring the essentials to stay healthy, hydrated, and comfortable.

  • Water Bottle- Keep this close by to stay hydrated throughout the practice.
  • Minimal clothing, or tightly fitted clothing- this helps keep your practice comfortable by reducing soggy, sweat bogged clothes.
  • Yoga mat- Many people choose to bring their own yoga mats to class due to the excessive sweating.
  • 1-2 Towels- Whether you keep it next to you or do yoga directly on your towel, you’ll be able to mop up any extra sweat.
  • Talk to your instructor about any health concerns- Your instructor is a trained professional and can advise different poses depending on your health concerns. Make sure to be very open and upfront with them about any potential problems you may face.

Bikram Yoga can be a challenging, peaceful, and healthy experience for those looking to step their practice up a notch. Make sure you bring the essentials and prepare yourself for a long, warm class!