DISCLAIMER: Always consult with a healthcare professional before starting any new routines, programs, or nutrition plans to ensure you receive the best medical advice and strategy for your specific individual needs.

Yoga is in vogue today and there are plenty of reasons why. In today’s busy and hectic world that we live in, people have time for everything, from work commitments to household responsibilities but not for themselves. It is becoming harder and harder to find time to get some exercise, relax, and focus on self-care. And here, precisely, lies the purpose of yoga practice, teaching us to be more mindful and present and more connected to ourselves, at least for a while.


The enthusiasm for a balanced and healthy lifestyle and meeting one’s personal needs are high and practicing yoga offers a way into achieving those goals. The practice is so popular, and accessible (a wide variety of YouTube videos, DVDs, books, studio classes, podcasts, and apps are available), that people have ample opportunity to give yoga a go.


Yet, with so much information out there, there is always a risk it could be misinterpreted. Some people associate yoga with challenging poses and contortions while others think of it in terms of fitness and weight loss. Still, others associate yoga with religion, sages and hermits, and new-age mysticism.


So, what is yoga really about, how did it originate and change through the centuries, and what are the different styles you might experience today? Here are the answers to get you started with a mind-body practice that can support your emotional, cognitive, spiritual, and physical health.


What Is Yoga


Yoga is a Hindu mind-body practice, which combines a variety of activities, including meditation, breathing techniques, and physical postures. Postures or asanas are performed to strengthen and stretch the body’s muscles, ligaments, and joints. The regular practice aims to improve balance, strength, flexibility, range of motion, and mobility.


While yoga poses range from simple backbends and stretch to more complex balancing postures, they are always performed in sync with breath control. Deep, conscious, controlled breathing which matches the rhythm of exercise is at the heart of yoga practice. Deep breathing calms the body, soothes the nervous system, improves blood circulation and blood flow, and supports the function of vital organs.


Focusing on each aspect of breathing also enables yogis to stay present, at the moment, and aware of the here and now. As such, conscious breathing is a form of meditation. And at the core of meditation is present moment awareness – stillness in thought that heightens our connection to sensations, sounds, and sights, enabling us to observe here and now.


Combining physical postures, conscious breathing, and meditation, yoga brings physical wellness and mental clarity. The body responds favorably and with regularity, the practice results in muscle toning, lower blood sugar, balanced insulin levels, improved spinal health, increased blood flow, lubricated joints, increased lung capacity, and regulated blood pressure.


The bonus of conscious breathing and meditation leaves the mind feeling peaceful, deeply relaxed, and more centered in the present moment, letting go of the future and past.


The Remarkable History of Yoga



Before moving on to explore the different types of yoga, here is how it evolved to be what it is today, from the early oral tradition to the diverse styles of yoga that we now have.


The history of yoga dates back to 2,500 BC and its origins can be traced to Northern India and the Indus Valley civilization. The first mentions of the word yoga are found in the Vedic scriptures – religious texts with rituals, mantras, and songs used by the Brahman priests.


While the original practice involved diverse and often contradictory techniques and beliefs, the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, written by Sage Patanjali around 400 CE, outlined the key elements of yoga philosophy and practice, systematizing them into sutras or aphorisms.


It was only in the late 1800s that yoga teachers began to travel to America and Europe to share their teachings. Yoga and meditation exploded in popularity in the U.S. in the 1960s and since then it has become a way of life for millions of people.


Today, there are many different types of yoga, from more relaxed and gentle to fast-paced and more physically demanding.


Types of Yoga: How to Choose the One for Yourself


If you’ve been considering starting your yoga journey you must be wondering which style of yoga to choose. Here’s a little breakdown of each of the most popular styles.


Hatha Yoga


Hatha yoga focuses on practicing asanas or physical postures and syncing them up with breath control. The focus is on proper alignment and doing each pose correctly, holding asanas for at least one minute. In comparison to slow-paced Hatha, yoga styles like Ashtanga are more dynamic, and poses are held just briefly.


Ashtanga Yoga



Ashtanga is more rigorous, structured, and routine based than Hatha and Vinyasa which are more flexible and freestyle. The same poses are performed in the same order each time, with mantra chanting at the beginning and end of a yoga practice. Combining inverted postures, core strengthening, and deep stretches, Ashtanga is also more physically demanding and requires a level of endurance, flexibility, and physical strength.


Vinyasa Yoga



Vinyasa is also more strict, fast-paced, and physically challenging than Hatha, with poses flowing from one to the other. Breath and transitions, which are essentially postures themselves, connect one pose to the next.


While Vinyasa is less structured than Ashtanga, the Sun Salutation sequence is at the core of the practice, moving from Downward Facing Dog to Plank to Four-Limbed Staff Pose to Upward Facing Dog. Yoga beginners may find the Sun Salutation physically demanding at first, but Sun Salutation has its place in the practice as it warms up the muscles and prepare them for more challenging postures.


Kundalini Yoga


Kundalini yoga involves a combination of postures, breathing exercises, singing, and chanting. Unlike Hatha yoga where the main focus is on asanas or physical postures, meditation, mantras, and breathing are at the heart of the Kundalini practice. Yoga students practice different types of breathing such as Dog Breath, alternate nostril breathing, and Breath of Fire.


Kundalini yoga also incorporates a number of mantras to set the energetic vibration for the practice. In essence, while other styles of yoga are more physical, Kundalini places a strong emphasis on mudras /symbolic gestures/, kryas /breath control techniques/, bandhas /energy flow locks/, meditation, and mantras.


Iyengar Yoga



One of the newest styles of yoga – Iyengar was developed by yoga master B.K.S. Iyengar yoga about 75 years ago. Here the main focus is on sequencing, alignment, precision, and the use of props like pillow-like bolsters, blocks, and belts. It is also common to see chairs, straps, and blankets in yoga studios, helping practitioners to get into poses with the best possible alignment.


Anusara yoga, which is a version of Iyengar, also emphasizes correct alignment but is more fluid and integrates spiritual techniques into every practice. Classes start with the Anusara invocation to enable practitioners to connect physical postures with feelings of devotion, grace, love, and self-honor.


Aerial Yoga


Also called suspension and anti-gravity yoga, this style combines Pilates, asanas, and the use of a swing or hammock. Students practice some of the yoga postures found in Hatha, Iyengar, and Vinyasa yoga while floating above the ground.


As asanas are performed in a hammock, this allows practitioners to do yoga poses without adding pressure on their spine, shoulders, and neck. While it might look a bit technical at a first glance, Aerial yoga is suitable for everyone who is fit and has good core muscles.


Wrapping Up


Yoga is a body of knowledge, mind and body practice, and a process of self-discovery through meditation, observation, and exploration. Owing to its thousands of years of history, it has evolved as a practice with a variety of techniques and styles.


From more traditional like Hatha and Ashtanga to newer ones like Iyengar and Aerial yoga, some practices are gentle and restorative while others are more demanding and physically challenging. For beginning practitioners, some of the vital questions when it comes to yoga are whether the newfound style matches their goals, personality, and fitness level. And most importantly, whether it feels right.


Choose the one style that best serves your goals, and practice with care and mindfulness.

DISCLAIMER: Always consult with a healthcare professional before starting any new routines, programs, or nutrition plans to ensure you receive the best medical advice and strategy for your specific individual needs.


DISCLAIMER: Always consult with a healthcare professional before starting any new routines, programs, or nutrition plans to ensure you receive the best medical advice and strategy for your specific individual needs.

Today we answer the question: “Is there a such thing as weight loss retreats for women over 40?”. Let’s dive right in.  


Once you hit 40, shedding off pounds can feel like an uphill battle. Reduced metabolism, fluctuations in hormones, and lifestyle-related factors like unhealthy diet, stress, and changes in sleep patterns can make weight loss for women after 40 a little more challenging.


Yet, although difficult, losing weight is not impossible when you turn 40. As long as you embrace some simple lifestyle changes like regular exercise, balanced eating, and healthy coping strategies for stress, you will be able to lose weight and keep fit.


One effective way to achieve all that is a complete environmental overhaul. While small changes can help you trim down, you will be able to achieve even better results when you are away from your familiar environment and the factors that can complicate your weight-loss efforts.


Even better, joining a weight loss retreat program will help you cultivate healthy lifestyle habits, improve your health and fitness level, and stay consistent once at home. 


Why Weight Loss for Women Over 40 Is Often Challenging?



There are a number of reasons why losing weight takes longer after 40, from menopause and hormonal changes to a sedentary lifestyle, unhealthy diet, work-related stress, and lack of enough rest and sleep.


Today more than ever, life is fast-paced and full of stress, strain, and worries, and many find it challenging to find room and time for self-care. Not only are we in a rush and turn to ready-to-eat food to save time but stress can cause emotional overeating and loss-of-control eating.


While it helps us fill emotional needs, comfort eating often results in difficulties with weight loss and maintenance. 


“Replacement Therapy” 



Emotional eaters tend to overeat in response to negative feelings and conditions like loneliness, stress, anger, anxiety, and depression. Many turn to food to combat difficult feelings, fill a void, or when they have no other forms of pleasure.


The problem is that in doing so, we stop learning healthy ways to cope with difficult feelings. Not only this but the feel-good foods we consume are packed with sugar and carbohydrates and low in nutrition, resulting in weight gain and malnutrition. 


Inactive Lifestyle 


A sedentary lifestyle is hurting health in many ways, from reduced metabolism and chronic inflammation to a higher risk for hypertension, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, anxiety, and depression. A sedentary lifestyle and low levels of physical activity are also associated with being overweight and obese.


In fact, one study shows that middle-aged women with obesity and more severe menopause symptoms are more likely to live a sedentary lifestyle. 

Lack of Rest


Work overload and lack of rest are associated with multiple health problems, including type 2 diabetes, coronary artery disease, and stroke.


Research has also found that middle-aged women with a heavy double burden (work and family responsibilities) are more prone to have a high average BMI.


One explanation is that demands from caregiving and work can lead to chronic stress which is linked to the release of cortisol into the bloodstream. Cortisol has been shown to stimulate the body’s carb and fat metabolism, thus increasing appetite and contributing to eating foods that are high in fat and sugar. 



Many women report gaining weight around menopause, and the main reason is changing hormonal levels. The levels of estradiol, which regulates fat distribution and metabolism, decrease, increasing the risk for weight gain.


Also, lower estrogen levels result in an elevated waist circumference due to visceral fat increase in the midsection. Unlike subcutaneous fat which is found under the skin and places like the buttocks and thighs, visceral fat deposits deep inside the abdomen, surrounding vital organs like the intestines and liver.


The increase in visceral fat is associated with a higher risk for inflammatory diseases, heart disease, diabetes, and insulin resistance (Obesity Action Coalition).




Metabolism and nutritional needs change when the body starts transitioning to menopause. Estrogen levels decrease and slow down metabolism, which is the rate at which your body’s cells convert calories into energy. When metabolism gets slower, you need fewer calories per day to maintain your usual weight.


In addition, thyroid levels decrease, insulin levels rise, and estrogen drops, all of which make you feel hungrier. As your metabolic rate is now slower, you may end up consuming more calories than you burn, resulting in weight gain.



Like other women in their 40s, your life likely revolves around your children and other members of your household. This can make it difficult to focus on dieting. And if you have young children, you’re likely spending your after-work time preparing food. On weekends, you think about breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Mac and cheese, fluffy banana pancakes, rich potato dauphinoise, French bread pizza.


Yet, when you hit 40, you can’t eat like this and expect to stay slim. Likewise, telling yourself you just need to cut down on carbs will not help. You need to change your mindset if you want to stay thin. 




If you are like most women in their 40s, you have enough on your plate. You have children to look after, your job is stressful, and you are feeling the financial strain at times. All these stressors and competing demands can cause your levels of cortisol to increase, resulting in a drop in blood sugar and cravings for high-sugar foods. 





According to a study in Scientific Reports, people between 40 and 50 years get the least amount of sleep. On the wrong side of 40, you have plenty of responsibilities to shoulder both at the workplace and at home.


Besides juggling work commitments, children, and household chores, this is the time when many starts taking care of older members of their families. As well as physical changes that influence sleep, stress is a common reason why people in their 40s get less sleep.


As the body releases cortisol during times of stress and blood sugar drops, this can make us crave sugary foods. Because sugar is absorbed quickly, which makes it a quick source of energy, it’s often the first thing you grab whenever you are feeling stressed. 


Tips on Improving Women’s Health



Perimenopause or the menopausal transition is the best time to begin your weight loss journey. When your period stops permanently and estrogen levels drop, it will be more difficult to lose weight and get and stay slim.


So, if you are approaching menopause and weight gain is a concern, this is a good time to make some lifestyle changes that will help you get fit. From forming healthy eating habits and learning how to manage stress to joining fitness and yoga retreats to get back in shape, there are plenty of ways to revive your abandoned New Year’s resolution and reclaim your healthy self.

Fitness Retreats to Regain Control over Your Health



Fitness retreats offer a multitude of benefits, ranging from expert behavioral coaching and motivation and support to nutrition advice, stimulating activities, and getting started with self-care. Joining a fitness retreat is an opportunity to narrow your focus and work on yourself. It can be difficult to stick to your weight loss goals while juggling between housework, family, work commitments, and social events.


Working with a behavioral health team can help you take control of your weight and well-being. They will help you identify the causes of unintentional weight gain, gain control of emotional eating, and adopt healthy lifestyle habits. As unhealthy eating is one of the main culprits of weight gain, you will get expert advice from nutritionists and medical professionals to help you change your relationship with food and enjoy a super-tasty, improved diet.


Lastly, many fitness retreats incorporate games, low-impact exercises, dancing, and fun activities that boost metabolism, burn fat, and prevent weight gain. 


Get a Personalized Exercise Plan for Weight Loss 



Following a personalized exercise plan can be a great way to shape up and maintain a healthy weight. To begin with, a customized plan is tailored to you, your fitness level, and your goals. Everyone is at different levels and it is important to start where you are, expanding your comfort zone without discomfort and getting too far.


In addition to exercising at your own pace to gradually move into a growth zone, an effective fitness plan is one that is tailored to your goals. Whether you are looking to trim down, get in shape, build endurance, or get a bikini body, your plan should align with your goals while keeping you focused and motivated. 


Form New Eating Habits


Improving your eating habits is key to meeting your weight loss goals. That said, women in their 40s should follow some specific recommendations to account for metabolism slowdown.

Perimenopausal women need to adopt healthy habits such as control over emotional eating, limited portion size, and small, frequent, and well-balanced meals. Eating a diverse, balanced diet with plenty of nuts and seeds, whole grains, fruits and vegetables, and lean meat not only helps maintain a healthy weight but can reduce symptoms of menopause. 


Get Rid of Accumulated Stress



As stress is one of the main culprits for emotional eating and weight gain, good stress management is essential to weight loss success. Depending on what feels like it will work best for you, you can try yoga or mindfulness practice, keep a journal, find a new hobby, go on vacation, etc.


In essence, practicing self-care is key to taming stress, whether it is getting a massage, reading a book, or taking a long bath. 


Recharge with Energy from Nature



Spending time in nature is good for women’s health in a number of ways, from improved sleep and better breathing to reduced irritability and stress. Spending just 20 minutes in nature can help reduce cortisol levels according to a study at Frontiers in Psychology. Flushing cortisol out of your body not only makes you calm down but reduces stress-reduced cravings for high-sugar foods. 

Wrapping Up




Weight loss for women after 40 can seem like a challenge due to hormonal changes, metabolism slowing down, and a multitude of responsibilities and competing priorities. In middle age, many are sandwiched between children and elderly parents who need help with care.


Juggling your role as a worker, partner, parent, and caregiver can leave little time for self-care, leading to an inactive lifestyle, unhealthy eating, lack of sleep, and chronic stress. Dealing with the busiest time in your life shifts the focus away from your needs and what is best for you, making it challenging to stay committed to a healthy lifestyle.


While being in your 40s can feel like a pile-on, the perimenopausal transition is just the right time to start taking more responsibility for your health. Transitioning to menopause can be an opportunity for new beginnings and luckily, there are many good ways to get back in shape and improve your health. From forming new eating habits and taming stress to getting a personalized fitness or yoga plan and joining a fitness retreat, there are plenty of opportunities to kickstart your journey to a healthier, happier you. 

DISCLAIMER: Always consult with a healthcare professional before starting any new routines, programs, or nutrition plans to ensure you receive the best medical advice and strategy for your specific individual needs.