lose weight by doing yoga

Can you lose weight by doing yoga?

The advent and use of modern technology has made our lives extremely convenient. While convenience is something that we all long for, this convenience has led to a lot of issues – one of the major ones being our increasingly sedentary lifestyle. It is because of this sedentary lifestyle that now a majority of the world population between the age group of 25 years to 40 years are obese. About 2.1 billion people in the world are obese and that is about 30 percent of the world population. And this number continues to rise.

So, when such a large number of people in the world are obese, one might think this to be something not to worry about and something that s normal. Well, it could have perhaps been normal if there would not have any health ailments, illnesses, or deaths due to obesity. But, the problem is more than 300 million people die every year due to diseases related to obesity. So, it is a bigger problem than we thought of.

There have been major awareness campaigns and measures that the governments worldwide have been taking to drive the importance of making their citizens free of obesity. But, as they say, great things are started at home. People all over the world have off late started to understand how harmful being obese can be and as such try out a lot of ways of getting fit. And all the ways of getting fit zero down to losing weight. People resort to ways such as weight training, cardio and even dieting to lose weight. More and more people are now doing yoga to lose weight.

Can you lose weight by doing yoga?

Practicing yoga is said to be effective not only for weight loss but for the overall well being of the body. Yoga as an activity is not merely physical, it is a union of physical, mental as well as spirituality all at once. But again, there are various forms of Yoga that can help you in nourishing your body, mind, and soul. The more active forms of yoga are especially helpful for weight loss, and you might even find that you increase your BDNF too.

Experts believe that different types of yoga have a different kind of impact in bringing about overall healthy body weight. Let us find out in detail about these different aspects if you wish to lose weight with yoga.

Which yoga is best for weight loss?

When we talk about yoga, there are various types of yoga that are meant to target various aspects of well being. It is no more a rocket science, that weight loss is a complex process. It is a combination of many things that can lead to an effective weight loss however with yoga there are certain specific ones that are the best for weight loss. Typically the ones that are more kinetic or active types are more effective for weight loss. Active styles of yoga involve a lot more movement, relatively difficult poses with a focus on cardiovascular fitness of the body. Here are the three most effective yoga that may be best for losing weight:

1. Vinyasa

This yoga style includes swift uninterrupted movements between the different yoga poses which means you change positions from one yoga pose to the next, with push ups in the interim. Some of the yoga classes may have core training or power training involved while others may involve stretching and cooling down exercises. Vinyasa offers a lot of variety in terms of the classes and the sessions that are offered and if you want to lose a good amount of weight you will have to look for and select the right yoga instructor who offers more challenging sessions than others.

lose weight by doing yoga - Vinyasa

2. Ashtanga

Ashtanga yoga is not that intense cardiovascular kind of a workout for you, but it is helpful in promoting weight loss in a number of ways that you perhaps were not aware of. It is a perfect combination of a physical workout along with mental conditioning. This yoga involves strength training along with muscle building exercises. This yoga is fast-paced and expends a lot of energy. The yoga is basically an eight-limbed yoga having 8 parts or aspects hence the Sanskrit name Ashtanga which means eight parts. The numerous benefits of this yoga include an overall improvement in the energy levels along with an overall physical, mental and spiritual well-being.

lose weight by doing yoga - Ashtanga

3. Bikram

The Bikram yoga is said to be the most effective yoga that promotes weight loss along with a lot of other benefits. This yoga comprises hot yoga variations that are done in a series of 26 postures in a room with 105-degree temperature with around 40 percent humidity and for 90-minutes. That sounds to be a pretty difficult thing to pull off. But this yoga is one of the most detoxifying experiences that help the ones taking these sessions in building strength, increasing flexibility, along with promoting weight loss. The extreme heat may be difficult to bear but it actually helps in warming up the muscles before the workouts so that injuries could be avoided and the muscles and the body can get more flexible.

lose weight by doing yoga - Bikram

Some of these exercises can be dangerous if done improperly. You may want to check out this yoga adjustment workshop online so you know how to adjust your poses.

While these exercises are beneficial in their respective ways, one might wonder if yoga really helps in the reduction of belly fat. Let us find out.

Does yoga reduce belly fat?

Yoga postures and exercises are known to help in the overall toning and well being of the body. However, there are certain yoga exercises which target the belly fat and the area near the abdomen. Let us have a look at these yoga exercises or asanas as they are called in the yoga world.

1. Paschimottanasana

This is also known as the forward bend pose. In this asana or exercise, you are required to sit with your legs stretched straight and then you bend forward to the maximum extent you can. This exercise stimulates your center of the abdomen or the solar plexus. This pose is the perfect pose to tone your tummy. It also provides a great deal of stretching to your thighs, hips, and hamstrings. This exercise is ideal to burn tummy fat and fat around the abdomen area.

Doing this exercise is simple. You have to sit on the floor with your legs stretched in front. Then stretch your hands above your head and slowly bend down to hold your toes and legs. Bend till you can feel a stretch on your hamstrings, thighs, and hips. Stay in that position for about 60 to 90 seconds. Repeat for 10 times initially and then increase according to your convenience. This exercise is to be avoided in case of abdominal surgeries, slip disc disorders, asthma, etc.

2. Bhujangasana

This is one of the tried and tested yoga postures that stimulate your abdomen and back muscles in a great manner. This is also known as the cobra pose and is now a part of many workout and training regimes. Regular practice of this asana not only helps you in getting your abdomen muscles stimulated and some fats burnt but it also helps in strengthening your back muscles and relieving your back pain if any.

To perform this asana, begin by lying down on the floor with your chest facing towards the floor. With your palms on either side of your waist on the floor, start raising your body and fix your gaze towards the ceiling or the sky. Let your back and waist be raised with your gaze fixed upwards for around 15 to 30 mins. You will feel a pretty good stretch on your abdomen and also on your back muscles. This is one of the most sought after exercises in sports training sessions and is advised to people suffering from back pain.

3. Balasana

As the name suggests this is the child pose that is again a very good exercise posture that targets your abdomen area. Though it is usually done as a cooling down exercise after a rigorous exercise session, this exercise is also said to stimulate your abdomen and belly fat and induce quick fat burning.

This process of doing this exercise requires you to first sit on your knees with your heels slightly apart and in such a way that your buttocks nearly touch the floor. Now with your hands straight over your head bend forward till your hands, palms and the forehead touches the floor. Hold that position for some time and repeat till you can. This asana is one of the best tummy tuckers. You will feel a stretching sensation on your tummy and back area as soon as you start doing this exercise.

All these exercises are however prohibited for pregnant women and people who are recovering from surgeries or have other critical medical conditions. One needs to exercise caution while performing this exercise and if you feel discomfort or pain while performing any of these exercises, stop immediately.

So, when it comes to reducing belly fat, yes yoga can help you reduce your belly fat to a great extent provided they are coupled with other exercise regimes and are done regularly. Now that we have seen some yoga exercises for belly fat, you would be perhaps wondering if it burns any calories. Of course, there is some amount of calories being burnt but it would be interesting to know how much and in what time.

Let us find out.

How many calories does yoga burn in 30 minutes?

The number of calories burnt in a yoga session is based on the weight of the individual performing these exercises. A 30-minute yoga session is as good as a water aerobics session and is better than a moderate weight lifting session. The studies were compiled by a detailed study concluded by Harvard University. Let us see what the studies reveal.

A 125-pound person doing Yoga for 30 mins burns 120 calories and the same increases to 149 calories for a 155-pound person and 178 calories for a 185-pound person. Water Aerobics has the same 30 min figures as that of Yoga whereas general weight lifting burns comparatively fewer calories as compared to Yoga (90, 112, 133 calories for 125, 155, 185-pound person respectively).

The above study gives an idea of the effectiveness of Yoga in terms of burning calories. The study above talks about hatha yoga or stretching yoga. The more active forms of fat burning yoga would obviously burn more calories. In general, a 30-minute yoga session can burn anywhere between 120 to 190 pounds and that depends on

  • the body weight of the person practicing yoga
  • the yoga type being practiced
  • the intensity of the yoga
  • the gender – male or female

Keeping all the above factors in mind, you may burn as much as 200 calories and as few as 120 calories in a basic 30-minute yoga session.

The above implies that a yoga session is pretty effective if you wish to burn extra calories and you may quickly want to join yoga classes. But is it necessary to join yoga classes? Can yoga be done at the convenience of homes? Let us find out in the next section.

Can I do Yoga at home to lose weight or does it have to be in a class?

Yoga and the yogic exercises can be done almost anywhere and at any time of the day. That is, in fact, the beauty of these exercises – you can do them anywhere. Yoga can be practiced at home through YouTube videos or even following your favorite Yoga Teachers on Instagram (as a side now, you can even become a certified yoga teacher with a top yoga instructor school online).

In addition to online, of course, is practicing yoga in-person with a yoga class.

All you would perhaps need is an isolated corner or an area of your house and a yoga mat. Since most of these yoga poses and exercises are done either lying down or sitting you would not need a huge area for exercising. An area of your house equivalent to your height should suffice for your exercises.

The exercises and workouts mentioned above can be done at home and some of the very well known exercises that can be done at home are listed as under:

1. Surya Namaskar - Sun Salutations

This is a very famous exercise that involves changing positions one after the other in swift successions and repeating the steps. One of the most common exercises this exercise can be done outdoors as well as at the convenience of your homes.

lose weight by doing yoga - Surya Namaskar – Sun Salutations

2. Boat Pose

This is one more exercise that you can do sitting on your yoga mat. It involves raising your legs and hands to form a boat pose and holding it in that position until you can bear. This position is very effective in targeting your abdomen.

3. Plank Pose

This is one more yogic posture that you can do inside your homes. This pose has the best results when done after a workout. This pose is found to be very effective in burning the fat around the chest and the abdomen area and helps in strengthening your core and arm muscles.

So, virtually all yoga poses and exercises can be done at home and if you can follow a routine and be regular at it yourself, you may never need to join a yoga class. But self-discipline and following that routine is often difficult to achieve and that is why perhaps joining a class is best for best results. Besides under the guidance of a trained yoga instructor, you may be able to do your exercises in the right way and achieve results faster.

With that, we have covered all the major aspects of Yoga as an exercise. Let us also answer some other commonly asked questions.

What should I eat after yoga to lose weight?

If you wish to lose weight, eating right is the key. So, you have to ensure that you are not eating too many carbs all throughout. And immediately after a yoga session, make sure you eat a nutritious meal with some eggs, fresh veggies and fruits. Make sure you include enough lean protein in the form of fish or lean meat at least once a day, preferably for dinner.

Do not indulge yourself in sugary foods and if possible try to cut down on sugar completely.

Do Yogis eat eggs?

If you follow the real Yogic Diet, anything that is obtained from animals is considered as Tamsik and is not to be eaten. And hence eggs, meat, etc are not eaten by the Yogis.

Is yoga a cardio workout?

While some Yoga exercises such as Power Yoga, Bikram Yoga, Vinyasa, etc can be classified as cardio workouts, others such as Hatha yoga, Jivamukti can be classified as strength training exercises. So, Yoga as a whole is not a cardio workout but there are exercises within Yoga that are cardio workouts.


In conclusion, it is fair to say that Yoga is an effective all-round workout that helps in the overall well being of the body. It is an all-in-one workout for your body, mind, and soul.

So, does yoga help you in losing weight? Yes, by all means, you can practice yoga to lose weight. Consistency is the key.  But don’t just take it from us!  As your nutritionists, ask your life coach or even your yoga teacher.  Consistency Consistency Consistency.  So, if you wish to lose weight with Yoga you have to be determined and disciplined enough to follow a regular schedule and routine from a yoga class or at the convenience of your homes.

So, try out some yoga asanas today and embark on your fitness journey.

(Looking for more fun ways to lose weight? Check out TRX training! And if you like it, you might just want to get a TRX training certification online!)