Weight Management > Can Yoga Help You Lose Weight?

Can Yoga Help You Lose Weight?

20th Jun 19

Yoga is a wonderful mix of both mental and physical exercise. From mindfulness to increasing flexibility and improving general health, yoga is a well-rounded form of exercise. But it goes even deeper than that, and one interesting aspect to look at is how yoga can affect weight loss.

Weight loss is usually associated with cardio (aerobic) exercise, and that’s spot on! Cardio is the best way to burn calories in one workout. Yoga is, of course, not cardio exercise, but it does have some parallels, and it could be a great way to aid your weight loss, both directly and indirectly at the same time. Just when you thought it couldn’t get any better!

Want to move fast? Jump to the right section below.

Direct Weight Loss

The first thing that we need to look at here is how yoga can affect weight loss directly. What we mean by that is how yoga actually affects your body’s constitution. To lose weight, we know that we need to be creating a caloric deficit in your daily intake. That’s when your body sources energy from stored fat on the most basic level. Let’s start with that!

Types of Yoga

Yoga is an extremely complex and diverse topic, just as it is a complex way to work out. It’s so diverse that there is something in it for everyone, no matter your health and fitness goals.

Yoga is not just one type of exercise; there are different kinds of yoga. This is a significant factor in using yoga for weight loss. Things like power yoga or more flowing styles of yoga mean you’re moving excessively and consistently for long periods. Now, while that may not get your heart racing the way cardio does, the constant movement and muscle contractions will definitely burn calories.

Isometric Exercise

man doing yoga on a mat in the park

Staying with this idea of muscle contractions, a lot of yoga poses rely on and challenge your body strength. That’s how you get into and hold some of the more demanding poses that yoga has to offer. No matter where you are in your fitness, you’re going to be using your strength to a high degree, which is a direct form of isometric exercise. Essentially, holding these poses is what strength (or weight) training is. Things like planking are a great example, but yoga has so much more of it. These hardcore muscle contractions mean that you’re building up your strength and burning calories simultaneously. This will also boost your resting energy expenditure and metabolism in the long run and help with your weight loss.

Indirect Weight Loss

There are also some indirect ways in which yoga can help your fitness goals. This is mostly done in mental and psychological ways rather than burning more calories, but it’s usually something that dramatically impacts the long term.


Yoga’s core values rely a lot on taking the time to reflect. This means that you will be gaining an inward perspective as well, which has a huge impact on your awareness. It will become easier for you to determine what is actually good for you and what isn’t.

You’ll likely find, as a result, that you do not really want some of the calorific or unhealthy foods that you usually do. Quite the opposite! People are often quick to eat certain foods because of external factors. Stress, for example, is one of the biggest causes, as well as lack of time to cook a healthy and nutritious meal. Yoga could help you feel more in control and less stressed, which in turn will free up time and teach you how to live in the moment. Quick, ready meals might become less frequent, which would be a great help to your nutrition! Your weight loss will see some positive changes right alongside your mental health.

Mindful of The Body & Mind

woman sat outside with her legs crossed meditating

Yoga is a promoter of good mental health and good physical health at the same time. That’s a great thing from yoga, and it can’t always be replicated in other forms of exercise. The majority of this comes from the point above, but there’s another side to it, too.

Yoga means you’re actively making your body and your mind a better place. You’re exercising both, and because you’re taking a positive action to do it, you’re less likely to take a negative action elsewhere in your life. It tends to have a knock-on effect, and that’s vital for your weight loss.

Ultimately, losing weight needs to come from your lifestyle as a whole and not just diet. For that to happen, you need to be in the right mental state as well as physical. Unrealistic fitness goals and target dieting like getting fit for summer, for example, are short-term. Your fitness needs to be for life, not temporary, and yoga is one of the best ways to keep it that way!

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Before beginning any exercise or nutrition program, consult your physician, doctor or other professional. This is especially important for individuals over the age of 35 or persons with pre-existing health problems. Exercise.co.uk assumes no responsibility for personal injury or property damage sustained using our advice.

If you experience dizziness, nausea, chest pain, or any other abnormal symptoms, stop the workout at once and consult a physician or doctor immediately.