Weight loss through Yoga…now that sounds omm-tastic. Losing weight with yoga is a very popular topic which I’m excited to cover in this blog post.
The bottom line of weight loss is: in order to lose weight we need to burn more calories than we take in. In practice this usually means that we need to reduce our total calorie intake in our diet and incorporate an exercise routine to rev up our metabolism. So the question arises:
Can Weight Loss Occur Through Regularly Practicing Yoga?
After doing my rather extensive share of research, I found that while it’s not entirely impossible to lose weight with yoga alone, in most cases practicing yoga alone is not enough for substantial weight loss. Research done by the American Council on Exercise shows that we burn on average 3-6 calories per minute practicing yoga, which equates to a total of only up to 180-360 calories burned in the single class. By comparison, in an aerobic workout we burn 10-17 calories per minute, which adds up to about 600-1000 calories burned in an hour.
Short answer: usually not.
But I Want to Lose Weight With Yoga!
Okay, fine. Don’t despair. There are ways to lose weight with yoga.
Incorporate An Exercise Routine Right Before Your Yoga Class
After all this hard work, imagine winding down and calming your nervous system during yoga while at the same time giving those overworked muscles a well-deserved stretch. The best workouts are a mix of both cardio and resistance strength training but if you prefer, you can also alternate the days you do your cardio and resistance training. It’s better to exercise for shorter periods of time but frequently (5-6 days ideally) to maintain the habit than to exercise less for 2-3 times a week for 2-3 hours at a time.
Take More Vigorous and Dynamic Yoga Classes
Because classes like Ashtanga and Power Yoga are practiced at a fast-pace and the sequence of moves are intense, they will raise your heart rate and you will be sweating tons. As the focus in these classes are on strength, you will be working your core muscles a lot and building upper and lower body strength which will tone your body.
Method three (for beginners):
If you are a beginner in yoga, it’s not recommended to dive into Ashtanga and Power Yoga classes immediately as you might injure yourself. In this case, look into the Hybrid Yoga classes available in your area like Yoga Sculpt with free weights or Cardio Fusion Yoga for example. Hybrid Yoga classes are innovative and are usually a combination of yoga, exercise and other disciplines like dance to get your body moving! See my previous post here on Hybrid Yoga for more details and ideas.
Yoga is a perfect component of an effective weight loss program by providing important benefits that support weight loss.
As you probably know, one of yoga’s many benefits include mindfulness in our day to day lives. Research confirms that although exercises boosts our metabolism, what “regular” exercise such as jogging or running doesn’t provide us is the kind of mindfulness and body awareness that practicing yoga does. When we are mindful about how we feel, we also have an increased sense of body awareness. Our relationship with food as a result changes: we become conscious of seeing food as nourishment which heals and energizes us.
When we mindfully eat, we end up making healthier choices in our diets and we actually pay attention to hunger and satiety (feeling full) which is the key for both weight loss and weight maintenance. Some yogis even take things further and change diets completely for a plant-based or raw vegan diet.
Stop Emotional Eating
Yoga, as a stress management tool, also curbs emotional and binge eating so we end up eating less. Studies done by the American Council on Exercise show that people who regularly practice yoga for at least 4 years are less likely to gain weight and, on average, would lose 4 pounds during this time period, while those who didn’t practice yoga at all gained, on average, 14 lbs.
Can I tell you a secret?
Yes? Okay, here it comes. I got so intrigued by the research I’ve done for this article that I am actually working on another post which will cover all about cleanses.
Want to start losing weight with the combination of yoga, exercise, and mindfulness from the comfort of your own home starting today?
Back to you.
What are your goals with weight loss?
Do you think yoga will play a role in the process?
Let me know by leaving a comment below!
PS: I respond to all comments.