National Yoga Awareness Month happens in September, and is the perfect time to learn about the benefits and styles of this ancient practice. Yoga is based on the idea that the mind and body are one.

The word yoga comes from the Sanskrit language and translated means “union.” Yoga includes breathing, meditation, and exercise that together create postures or poses that are repeated during yoga practices.

As busy women juggling work and family life, it is often difficult to find the time to go to the gym and workout. What is great about yoga is that it requires minimum equipment and can be done right in the privacy of your home.

There are several DVDs, books and videos that you can purchase, download or rent from your local library that allow you to get professional instruction for a very low cost, or even free.

Yoga as an effective weight loss method

Daily stresses, hormonal changes and weight gain after child birth alone are a huge reason why yoga is a great practice for women. A woman’s ability to manage and handle stress depends highly on her overall health.

Also, stress can play a huge role in weight gain. While diet pills, fad diets, crash diets and even surgery are becoming ever popular ways to lose weight, exercise and proper nutrition are ultimately the healthiest ways to accomplish your weight loss goals.

While some people may believe that yoga is not an effective weight loss tool, studies have shown that this is actually a huge misconception. Research shows that yoga has several benefits such as alleviating pains and problems caused by menopause, menstrual cycles, pms and pregnancy.

It has also been shown to boost metabolism which helps prevent the accumulation of fat, alleviate stress, burn calories, relax the body, build strength and improve concentration. With yoga you may not shed the pounds immediately, but you can build a more tone, sculpted body at a healthy rate.

Types of Yoga to try for weight loss

There are several different types of yoga which can make it rather easy to get overwhelmed when trying to figure out which styles of yoga are best for your wellness.

If you are most concerned with weight loss and getting in more of a vigorous workout the following yoga styles may be best for you:

Ashtanga Yoga

Ashtanga yoga is a very vigorous style of practice and may take a bit more dedication to master. It pushes your body in a physically demanding way. Many of the poses include push-ups and lunges.

This type of yoga is great for sculpting of the arms and chest and also is a great source of cardio. Due to its vigorous nature, this form of yoga has shown to be extremely useful to helping women lose weight.

Here’s a great Ashtanga class to get you started:

Bikram Yoga

Bikram yoga is typically done in a room that is over 100 degrees and high humidity. It consists of 26 poses that are designed to give you a full body workout.

The high heat allows participants to get a great sweat in which allows the muscles to loosen while sweating helps cleanse the body. For a complete cardiovascular, aerobic and fat-burning workout bikram yoga is your best bet.

Yoga can help women find physical and emotional balance, and is the perfect workout because it allows you to work at your own pace and focuses not only on physical health but mental wellness as well.

As with starting any new exercise regimen, be sure to consult with your physician prior to practicing.

While you may be busy taking care of others, be sure that you make time to take care of yourself.

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