Don’t be fooled by yoga’s deep breathing and slow movements.
It can actually be a powerful tool for weight-loss.
While killing yourself at the gym will definitely burn calories, is that really how you want to do it?
If so, then more power to you mama. The gym can be a totally fun and blood-pumping experience…
…but that doesn’t mean that yoga can’t be those things too!
Not only that, but yoga also guides your entire lifestyle, bringing mindfulness into the way that you eat and move your body throughout the day as well.
This can help you lose weight both on and off the yoga mat.
Just think about it: what made you gain weight in the first place?
It was probably more than just lack of physical activity or a sluggish gym attendance.
So, losing it has to include more than just working out and burning fat.
Real weight loss requires a whole lifestyle change. Yoga can give us the tools to make that change.
Can You Lose Weight Doing Yoga?
There are so many benefits to a regular yoga practice, most of them providing a life-changing experience that a gym membership can only dream of. The physical asanas combined with deep breathing exercises and a humble mindfulness practice all contribute to being healthier overall, in mind, body, and spirit.
For many people, this includes losing weight.
Super athletic forms of yoga, like Bikram yoga and Ashtanga, will help you burn more calories per hour though they don’t tend to follow the ancient philosophies of yoga. Though the faster-pace will get your heart rate up and burn more calories, you will hardly be doing yoga in the traditional sense.
Plus, in a hot yoga class, you will mostly just sweat a lot and lose some water weight.
This can be a form of detox but isn’t all that helpful if you re-tox with an agitated mind and yucky foods right afterward.
When it comes to traditional yoga styles, the physical practice pairs well with the other parts of the practice as well, making a killer weight loss regime that doesn’t involve shame, torture, or self-doubt.
It’s kinda shocking to me that more people aren’t doing it, to be honest.
The mindfulness you create through your yoga practice can be just as effective as the physical practice when it comes to weight loss. With more awareness of our thoughts, we can better control them.
This eliminates destructive behaviors, such as binge drinking and emotional eating (yup, we’ve all been there).
And as for all that other stuff outside of diet and exercise?
Well, yoga can help with that too.
Stress, for example, wreaks havoc on our bodies. In times of stress, our bodies release cortisol, which can increase belly fat when there is too much of it too much of the time.
And, as I’m sure you can see where this is going, practicing yoga and meditation can help relieve stress and, in the end, help prevent further weight gain.
It also helps you stop focusing on your body weight and instead on your mind-body connection, which sounds like absolute bliss, doesn’t it?
Yup. Welcome to yoga, my friends.
How Often Should You Do Yoga For Maximum Benefits?
To see the benefits of anything, consistency is key. Ideally, your yoga practice would include five to six days out of the week…
…but that doesn’t mean it’s all chattarungas and sun salutations all of the time.
Change up the style of yoga to get the full benefits.
Use hatha yoga to build strength by holding each asana for long periods.
In need of more cardio? Try a vinyasa yoga or power yoga class to really get your heart rate up.
Don’t forget to incorporate a restorative yoga practice as well. This is what helps you deepen the mind-body connection and create awareness.
Just focus on building a regular yoga routine that fits your needs. If you’re not sure which style of yoga to try, drop into a local yoga class or check out my free online yoga videos.
If you’d like some guidance on a full yoga routine, check out my free 2019 calendar with daily yoga routines 🙂
Top Yoga Poses to Burn Fat
If you want to follow along in the video, then you will get a quality fat-burning yoga routine. But if you’d like to try it on your own at home, then try these top 10 yoga exercises for weight loss:
1. Low Lunge [Anjaneyasana]
This posture helps to build strength and flexibility in the hips. Step one leg forward and bend into the front knee. Keep the back knee on the ground. Bring your arms over head and straighten your spine. Relax into the pose and breathe deeply.
The deep stretch in the hips helps improve mobility. This is also good for those of you who sit at a desk all day.
2. Downward-facing Dog [Adho Mukha Svanasana]
Down dog is an important part of any yoga workout because it’s an active resting pose. It gives your body the break it needs while still keeping it working.
Root the palms of the hands and the feet into the floor. Keep your arms straight and square your shoulders to the earth. As you press into your hands, lift your sitting bones up to the sky. Your neck should be relaxed with the crown of the head pointing towards the earth.
Breathe deeply and feel the release in your neck and shoulders.
3. Side Plank [Vasisthasana]
Any variation of plank is good for strengthening the abdominal muscles. Side plank focuses on the obliques, which might not get as much attention as the rest of our core.
Start in a regular high plank and then shift your weight to your right hand. Bring your left leg on top of the right and open up to the side. Flex your feet to keep the legs active. Use the strength of your core to keep your hips lifted.
4. Twisted Chair [Parivrtta Utkatasana]
Twisting poses help to detoxify the body which can be an important step to weight loss.
With your feet together and back straight, drop your seat as if sitting in a chair. Bring your hands together in front of your heart. Twist to one side and hook your elbow on the outside of your knee. Press your hands together to open to the side and deepen the twist.
Stand with your front foot is aligned with your back arch. Bend the front knee and reach the back leg straight. Square your hips to the side and open your arms wide. Place your gaze over the right middle finger.
6. Triangle [Utthita Trikonasana]
Stand with your feet apart and hips to the side of your mat. Open your arms wide and shift over your front leg. Keep your arms and shoulders in line with your front leg. You can place your bottom hand on your shin or on a block.
7. Standing Forward Fold [Uttanasana]
Place your feet hips distance apart. Fold over at the crease of the hip with the spine long. Relax the neck and the crown of the head towards the earth. Keep your legs active by pulling the kneecaps up.
Sit on your feet with your toes together and knees apart. Keeping your spine straight, extend your torso forward and reach your arms long. Rest your forehead on the ground and relax down. Keep your arms active to feel a stretch in the shoulders.
This is an important restorative pose. You can come into this pose at any time to center yourself and come back to the breath.
This is a more advanced pose to help improve your balance and strength. Find balance in one foot, and then kick the other foot back and grab with the same hand. As you lean forward, arch your back, and press your foot into your hand.
10. Up Dog [Urdhva Mukha Svanasana]
Press your hands into the ground and straighten your arms. Press the tops of your feet into the ground and keep your legs active. Lift your thighs and knees off the ground. Gaze slightly up as you broaden through the collarbone and open your chest.
Just remember, yoga isn’t about the number of calories you burn. It’s about creating a healthy lifestyle. Being more mindful, making healthier food choices and moving your body will improve your life in so many ways. Weight loss is just the cherry on top!