Can Yoga Help You Lose Weight?

The supermodels and celebrities love to rave about the weight loss properties of yoga - but is it true? Can yoga really help you take off those extra pounds?

It’s hard to believe that such a relaxing, go at your own pace, sort of exercise could really give you the workout necessary to lose any weight but it turns out that the hidden power of yoga isn’t about how many calories it burns - it’s about tuning into your body and being mindful of the choices you make.

Yoga gives you the opportunity to reconnect with your body and to step back into that space of making choices from a balanced, healthy mindset. When you take the time to cultivate a yoga practice you are also taking the time to evaluate your body and the level of health you have. So many of us go through our day preforming the same routines over and over again and never really stopping to take into consideration what effect our choices are having on our bodies. That morning latte may not seem like such a big deal but when you look back and think about how many you’ve had it can have a culminating effect.

Practicing yoga lets you really evaluate where you are physically and gives you the ability to make any decisions or changes that you may have been putting off. By being more in tune with our body were able to make better choices and that is a huge part of why yoga is so beneficial.

Many have reported that while practicing yoga they’ve begun to be more aware and mindful of the foods they eat and the drinks they drink. So much of yoga is about honoring your body and only doing the things that serve it and trust me - it’s extremely difficult to leave a yoga class feeling calm and centered and then turn into the drive-through of a fast food restaurant. Those things just don’t mix. It’s so much more difficult to make decisions that you know harm your body when you’ve just spent an hour on a mat communicating with your body about what it needs, how it’s feeling, and what it can do.

The other end of it is that while yoga certainly isn’t an extreme cardio workout you are still exercising and moving and you do still burn calories. Typically the amount of calories you burn in a yoga session, per hour, are about a third of what you would burn during a normal cardio session (such as running, bicycling, or swimming). That may seem like a lot less but the trade off is that instead of the short bulky muscles you would build doing other forms of exercise which are heavier you build long lean and light muscles doing yoga and that in turn can help you look and feel thinner.

And on top of everything yoga is actually quite addictive. Many people have a hard time going through the day without having done their yoga because they miss that calm, centered feeling they get from their practice. Because it’s such an easy practice to keep up, and it doesn’t require going to the gym or having equipment any more fancy than a mat and maybe a pillow, yoga is also an inexpensive way to lose weight.

So overall yoga may not shed pounds as fast as a fad diet or a four hour run on the treadmill but it will shift your way of eating, your way of exercising, and your way of relating to your body which can not only help you lose weight - it can keep you healthy, and keep that weight off permanently.