Gymondo® Magazine: Fitness, Nutrition & Weight Loss

Can Yoga Help You Lose Weight? Weigh in on the Benefits

The practice helps with more than just stress relief. 

Yoga might not be the most intense, fat-burning workout around, but the practice can help you reduce stress, increase your heart rate, burn calories and improve sleep. 

But can yoga help you lose weight? Let’s weigh in on the benefits to find out. 

The Benefits of Practicing Yoga

Yoga helps your body respond to stress more effectively. High levels of stress can push certain hormones out of whack, which may impact the ability to manage your appetite. This may lead to consuming more comfort food, which equates to more calorie consumption. Less stress leads to better weight management. 

Additionally, yoga helps you sleep better. Studies have found that people who practice yoga have fewer sleep disturbances compared to those that don’t. Poor sleep increases ghrelin, a hormone notorious for increasing one’s appetite. Increased ghrelin coupled with the stress hormone cortisol may lead to uncontrollable sugar cravings. 

Some studies suggest yoga keeps you from gaining weight. But whether yoga helps you lose weight depends on what type of yoga you practice and for how long. 

What Types of Yoga Are Best for Weight Loss?

The number on the scale shouldn’t be the only reason you start a workout routine. It’s important to note that your diet also plays a crucial role in weight loss.

The right yoga practice coupled with a nutritious meal plan is helpful in reaching your goal weight. 

But what kind of yoga is right for you? If you’re unfamiliar with the practice, there are various types of yoga—some more intense than others. Experts recommend Vinyasa yoga for weight loss since it’s more athletic-based than other forms of the practice. 

Vinyasa yoga is strenuous and cardio-based with constant movement throughout a typical class. You might have heard the term “yoga flow” before, which means that movements run together. Within the Vinyasa practice, flows break off into one subset after another with little to no rest in between, similar to power yoga. 

Each move in a Vinyasa flow requires core strength and challenges all the major muscle groups with Warrior poses, balancing postures, push-up style Chaturanga and Crescent lunges. 

As you develop lean muscle with Vinyasa yoga, weight loss becomes more effortless. The more muscle you develop, the easier it is to burn calories. If you add weight training to your workout routine, even better!

Weight Loss Facts

To lose weight, you must create a calorie deficit—consume fewer calories than you burn. When you consume too many calories and don’t burn them through physical activity, you gain weight. However, if you burn more calories than you intake, you lose weight. To lose a pound of fat, a 3500 calorie deficit is needed. 

While you may lose weight by solely reducing your caloric consumption, it’s not super-efficient. By not exercising, you lose significant amounts of muscle. The more muscle you have, the higher your metabolism, which makes it much easier to burn calories and lose weight. 

Studies suggest those who lose weight rapidly through excess calorie restriction end up gaining the weight back. And when you severely restrict your caloric consumption, your body will go into energy and fat conserving mode (also known as starvation mode). When in this state for too long, you’ll lose muscle and significantly lower your metabolism.  

Related: How to Burn More Calories

The healthier, more sustainable approach to losing weight is to simply eat less and exercise more.

How Much Weight Can You Lose Practicing Yoga?

Studies indicate a 45-minute yoga session burns 180-460 calories. The number of calories you burn depends on a number of factors:

  • Your weight
  • Your age
  • Your overall activity level
  • Your diet
  • The type of yoga 
  • The duration and the intensity of your yoga session
  • Your gender 

If your goal is to lose weight, experts recommend practicing yoga up to 4 times a week and pairing it with extra cardio and weight training.

*Note: The chart above lists the number of calories burned based on the weight of a 150-pound (68-kilo) person. This number will vary based on weight, age, gender and intensity level. 

Practicing Yoga at Home

You can easily practice Vinyasa yoga at home with the help of Gymondo. To maximize your weight loss success, it’s important to switch up how you train. Couple 3-4 days of yoga with 2-3 days of cardio and weight training for faster results. Within the Gymondo app, you’ll find yoga, cardio, HIIT, weight training and more. Plus, explore over 1000 healthy recipes. Start your free trial with Gymondo today and kickstart your weight loss success.

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Kristy Crowley

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