A Popular Question: Is Yoga Helpful for Weight Loss & Why?

is yoga helpful for weight loss

Yoga has many known benefits, like helping improve mental health, increasing flexibility & strength, as well as creating a better mind-body connection. 

One of the often asked questions of yoga relate to weightless. Can yoga help one lose weight?

Well, we think the obvious answer is yes it can, but let's look at yoga for weight loss a little more in depth.

How Yoga Helps You Lose Weight?

yoga and weight loss

a. The Basics:

To understand yoga for weight loss, it's important to take the concept of "weight loss" in general back to it's simplest form, right?

To lose weight, you need to create a caloric deficit, it's as simple as that. This means that your body is burning more calories than you are taking in. It goes without saying that just physical exercise is probably not enough; things like eating a well proportioned diet and managing your diet, is essential for what we would call "healthy" weight loss. 

Things like understanding heart rate zones can also become an important step in the process, but people often get caught-up in terms like "fat burn" zones and such. Here's a good read on this concept: Fat Burning Heart Rate: What It Is and How to Target It, from verywellfit.com. 

b. What Types of Yoga Are We Talking About?

Fact is, yoga can come in many different forms, from restorative yoga (that involves a slower pace, with more lengthy asana holds), to hatha yoga, hot yoga, all the way to a more modern twist on yoga like combining boot camp with yoga

Even with more subdued styles, you can truly work-up a calorie burn and sweat from advanced asanas. For beginner yogis, you may be in for an intense session, and come to realize some poses are not as easy as you may think. 

The fact of the matter is with proper physical exercise (like yoga), diet and a healthy state of mind, yoga can be a tremendous addition to your weight loss endeavors. 

One of the added benefits of doing yoga or adding yoga into your daily routine for weight loss is that it may add a more gentle, relaxing approach to a calorie burn. 

c. What Does The Research Say On Yoga For Weight loss?

One study set out to better understand yoga interventions and how they help to improve obesity related outcomes, like BMI (body mass index), body fat and waste circumference. Within the study, multiple themes were identified of those individual's who used yoga for weight loss. The themes were "a shift toward healthy eating, impact of the yoga community, physical changes, psychological changes, and the thoughts that yoga for weight loss was different then past weight loss experiences". 

This study here perfectly sums up not just some of the benefits of yoga and weight loss, but yoga on any practitioner, regardless their end goal. Yoga has the potential to impact an individual in not just physical ways, but also behavioral and psychosocial ways. 

A published article on AJMC, discussed the findings of one study providing evidence that restorative yoga practitioners lost significantly more subcutaneous fat then those involved in stretching exercises over the same time period. As stated in the article, types of yoga, like restorative yoga are great for individuals who are overweight, because it focuses on holding poses for extended period of time, with aids like supported blankets or cushions

This can also allow someone to feel less anxious, the ability to focus on their breathing more effectively, and may help them feel as if this is a less daunting task, then traditional aerobic-type exercises, especially if they are just starting out. 

Short term yoga programs also have provided benefits. For instance, subjects who underwent just a 10-day yoga-based lifestyle intervention, showed significant reduction in weight from baseline, as well as BMI, and systolic blood pressure. The research study concluded that even a short intervention "may be an important modality to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease". 

Other studies have compared yoga to other exercise techniques, like simple walking. One study compared the two over a 15-day, 90 min/day supervised walk, or supervised yoga session. Both exercises showed significant changes in BMI, waist circumference, hip circumference, lean mass, body water and total cholesterol. The yoga group also showed a reduction in LDL. 

What Types Of Yoga Are Ideal For Weight Loss?

losing weight with yoga

So what forms of yoga may work best for a calorie burn?

Well it's no secret if you get that heart-rate up with more intense exercise, you are likely to burn more calories. However, like we discussed above, starting with forms of yoga, like restorative, may be better for your body if just starting out. 

If you are looking to elevate your chances to induce weight loss (when combined with proper nutrition), you might want to try your hand at forms such as hot yoga or Bikram yoga, which add another layer with heated rooms.

However, the real heavy hitters here include power yoga, ashtanga, and vinyasa yoga. These are popular, more active forms of yoga, creating a lot of movement for extra calorie burning. 

Targeting larger muscle groups, staying consistent and frequently changing up your yoga maneuvers, can also contribute to huge benefits as far as weight loss is concerned. Challenging yourself with more complex poses may help amp-up the intensity for more calorie burn as well. 

Ready For A Quick Burn?

Final Thoughts!

Bottom Line, Of Course You Can You Lose Weight With A Regular Yoga Practice!!!

It takes time, just like any type of lifestyle change. More active forms of yoga (similar to aerobic exercise) will most likely help you the most with this goal. On top of losing weight, yoga can also contribute to a more toned physique, and improve your metabolism, according to Healthline.

can you lose weight by doing yoga

Keep consistent with your practice. You'll also want to make other changes in your life to supplement the weight loss effects of yoga, like proper diet. Make sure you are eating right, as your diet can actually help you perform better during yoga as well, so keep this in mind!

In addition, getting the proper amount of sleep can help you perform better, but also recover from your daily or weekly yoga routines. Good health involves a full life change, so don’t neglect other areas of your life!


- https://www.verywellfit.com/the-truth-about-the-fat-burning-zone-1231545

- https://www.hindawi.com/journals/ecam/2016/2914745/


- https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23210469/

- https://europepmc.org/article/PMC/4051462

- https://www.healthline.com/health/yoga-for-weight-loss#calorie-burning-and-weight-loss

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