Is Yoga Effective For Weight Loss?

  • Yoga is a reliable practice for improving your health both mentally and physically.
  • You can lose weight by regularly performing yoga for weight loss, especially Bikram yoga.
  • A few of the best fat-melting poses to include in your practice are the plank pose, one-legged downward dog, and the boat pose.

Weight loss may be most commonly associated with sophisticated equipment in the gym. However, there are actually other modes of exercise for people who do not enjoy lifting weights. Yoga is especially beneficial because it can help you burn fat and build muscle. More importantly, it also helps increase balance and minimize stress. Whether you prefer something fast and intense or slow and relaxing, there is a form of yoga out there for you!

What Is Yoga?

Yoga has been associated with various exclusive groups for some time. Fortunately, many people have recently started making yoga a part of their regular routine. The word “yoga” originally is derived from the Sanskrit root “Yuj”, which means to unite or join. When you are practicing yoga, you are participating in a spiritual discipline that unites both the mind and body. Depending on how you interpret it, the practice can be considered both an art and a science.

The origins of yoga have been traced back thousands of years to India. Since then, it has made its way to multiple parts of the world, as people discovered the many benefits that it provides. Nearly everyone can participate in yoga as it has various forms that can be practiced. 


What are some types of yoga?

There are various types of yoga practiced around the world. The list below includes some popular ones. It might help you determine which will fit your physical and mental needs:

  1. Hatha yoga revolves around the balance of yin and yang. The predetermined poses of this practice attempt to willfully even out the duality of the sun and the moon, or the masculine and the feminine. Hatha is one of the most common forms of yoga. In fact, it is also comprised of many different branches.


  2. Anusara yoga is a contemporary version of Hatha yoga. This practice is centered around the Universal Principles of Alignment. Every session begins with an incantation and ends with a meditation. Anusara does not necessarily have specific poses assigned to the practice.


  3. Ashtanga yoga consists of movements that are flowy and breath-synchronized. Powerful inhales and exhales are performed alongside predetermined poses. Ashtanga is a synchronous yoga practice. It focuses on aligning the breath with the body.


  4. Bikram yoga has become more popular over the years. In fact, there are several studios dedicated to the practice. This practice is commonly referred to as hot yoga; it is practiced in rooms that are heated to 105 °F (40°C) with 40 to 60 percent humidity.  The main focuses of Bikram yoga include increased flexibility and activating all parts of the body.


  5. Yin yoga is an element of T’ai Chi. Its main purpose is to cultivate qi – your internal energy. While balancing your internal and external energies, this form of yoga focuses on the flow of slow movements. Each pose is held and focused on for several minutes.

What are some benefits of practicing yoga?

As mentioned above, there are many different ways to practice yoga. All of them provide many benefits when regularly practiced. These include:

  • improving your balance and flexibility
  • helping you build strength in the entire body
  • benefitting the heart by reducing inflammation
  • improving your sleep
  • bringing up your energy and mood
  • encouraging healthy habits in other areas of your life
  • being utilized as a form of meditation and relaxation
  •  relieving pain associated with conditions such as arthritis and lower back issues

How do we use yoga for weight loss?

If you have a weight loss goal, yoga can be a great tool to help you reach it! Many people are under the impression that losing weight requires you to spend hours in the gym every day performing high-intensity exercises. Luckily, this is not the only way to accomplish your goals.

Just like going for a run or doing a squat, going through a series of yoga poses requires both your cardiovascular system and muscles to function. General movement burns calories; this process is accelerated if you are breathing hard and working up a sweat.

The best type of yoga to do if you are focused on weight loss is Bikram yoga (also called hot yoga). As mentioned above, it is done in a very hot and humid environment. This forces your body to sweat more than it normally would. The main focus of the intense heat is to loosen your muscles and promote flexibility. Burning calories is a great benefit, too! 

In Bikram yoga, the body mostly gets rid of fat through sweating. However, keep in mind that you will be losing water weight at the same time. Drinking enough water and staying hydrated is vital while performing hot yoga.

Doing yoga by itself will be effective for your weight loss. However, if it isn’t done consistently, it cannot provide you with the maximum benefits. Figure out how many days a week you can reasonably and realistically dedicate time to your yoga practice. Sticking with this commitment to yourself will help you burn fat faster and more efficiently.

One of the easiest ways to commit to a schedule is by doing yoga at home. While going to a studio can be a great environment, doing it at home eliminates the time spent commuting. It will also help with reducing the cost. These factors will make it easier to stick with yoga. In fact, you don’t have to leave your house to get your practice in!


Fat-Melting Yoga Poses You Can Do Anywhere


1. Plank Pose

Get into the starting position of a push-up. Have your hands flat on the ground with your arms fully extended. Keep your gaze on the ground in front of you while you focus on keeping your body in a straight line. Keep your core tight and hold this position for as long as you can.


2. Boat Pose

In this pose, you will be seated on the ground with your legs straight in front of you. Start with your hands on either side of you for support. Bring your extended legs up as high as you can while keeping them pressed against each other. Keeping your abs strong, lift your hands off the ground and hold your arms parallel to the ground. Try to keep your back as straight as possible with your shoulders back and chest up. Hold this pose for a predetermined amount of seconds before relaxing.


3. One-Legged Downward Dog

Start in your plank pose. Slowly lift your hips up towards the sky until your body looks like an upside-down V. Keep your legs as straight as possible and try to keep your heels on the ground if you can. Focus on placing your weight evenly throughout your hands and spread fingers. Slowly raise one of your legs as high as you can while keeping the knee extended. Hold this position until it is time to transition to the other side.

Yoga can be a great tool if you are wanting to lose weight. It has been practiced for thousands of years. In fact, more people are introduced to this amazing form of exercise every day! Whether you are more intrigued by Ashtanga, Bikram, or Yin yoga, all of these types can benefit you mentally and physically. Try attending a local class or finding a YouTube video to follow along with. You will discover just how great yoga can make you feel when you stick to a regular routine!


If you are wanting to lose weight, yoga can help you do so! There are many different types of yoga. They vary based on the inclusion of breathing techniques, certain poses, and overall rhythm. Sticking to a regular routine and being consistent is very important. It allows you to reach your physique goal while also benefiting you mentally and emotionally.

Scientific Information

  • Hatha is a preparatory branch of yoga. It is done at a slower pace and focuses on stretching, breathing, and controlled movements.
  • Meditation involves paying attention to the breath as it goes in and out, and noticing when the mind wanders from the task at hand.
  • T’ai Chi is an ancient Chinese tradition that involves a series of movements performed in a slow, focused manner and accompanied by deep breathing.
  • Arthritis is the swelling and tenderness of one or more joints.
Written by:
Christine VanDoren
Certified Personal Trainer and Nutritionist



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