How to Lose Weight by Doing Yoga

How to Lose Weight by Doing Yoga

There is a certain image surrounding yoga that some enthusiasts and trainers have struggled to shrug off – that yoga is a gentle activity for relaxation that isn’t really exercise and has no real benefit for weight loss.

While it is true that yoga is designed for stress relief and a gentle practice that is ideal for first timers and rehabilitation, it can be quite intensive and can have an incredible impact on fitness and weight loss.

This guide on how to lose weight by doing yoga will look at some of the different forms of yoga before delving deeper into the discipline’s advantages on well-being, dieting and shifting those pounds.

Interested in a complete Yoga body shaping and fat loss program that works on your schedule? Check out the Shapeshifter Yoga system HERE

There are different types of yoga out there with different benefits.

# Hatha yoga – the yoga that most of us start with, with gentle poses, a focus on rhythm and breathing and routines that really tone the core and improve posture and balance.

# Vinyasa yoga – the faster paced, more advanced option that takes poses further and is used more for weight loss than relaxation.

# Bikram yoga – also known as hot yoga, this is not for the faint-hearted as the heat is turned up in the studio so you sweat more and work harder.

# Kundalini yoga – a much gentler option that works with chanting, breathing and meditation.

These are four of the key types of yoga being taught and practiced but lots of instructors have created their own versions with twists on the themes to intensify certain elements and benefits. You can go as extreme as you want when choosing a form and the greater the physical intensity, the greater the chance of burning calories and losing weight.


Is Yoga Really Enough?

It is easy to see why many people are skeptical about using yoga to lose weight; this is a gentle, rhythmic process that generally focuses on breathing and posture rather than any sort of intensive aerobic or cardiovascular activity more associated with weight loss.

It is true that you will burn significantly more calories through a tough workout or a run than you will with an hour on a yoga mat – the faster, energetic vinyasa only burning seven calories a minute – but it all depends on your long term goals.

Do you go for the intense regime for quick success or use yoga for a slow and steady approach that has additional benefits for weight loss management?

Yoga is about more than trying to tone a muscle or shed a few pounds and the combination of additional benefits can have a massive impact.

The beauty of yoga is that you can gain so much and make so many improvements to your body and well-being with a practice that does not hurt like a tough session in a gym or require the same determination as a run. Regular yoga sessions can offer the following:

  • Burnt calories
  • Improved muscle tone
  • Greater flexibility
  • Relaxation
  • Breathing techniques
  • Mindfulness
  • Body awareness

So how can these individual benefits have a positive impact on your diet and attempts to shift those unwanted pounds?

Let’s start with improved muscle tone and greater flexibility. It never fails to surprise people the changes they can make to their body shape and posture by toning muscles with these poses – sometimes muscles they did not realize they had.

How to Lose Weight by YogaWith gentle progress, you can see improvements in core strength, tone and flexibility that not only allow for a better execution of the poses but also give you the opportunity to carry out exercises that were once beyond your ability.

The more awareness you have of your body and the individual areas that can be improved, the easier it is to then tailor routines and other activities to losing weight in those areas, for example concentrating on flattening your stomach or toning your arms.

There are many people that use the gentle flow of a hatha yoga session for stress relief and relaxation, rather than as a form of exercise or a weight loss strategy, because of the energy release, the concentration on the poses and the benefits of the the breathing exercises.

You can really achieve a sense of calm and perspective with yoga that is not dissimilar to meditation and these principles, particularly those breathing techniques, can be carried forward to other forms of exercises.

yoga poseIf you can breathe properly and enjoy the motions of an exercise it becomes a much less stressful affair, you can potentially achieve more and workout for longer and this then has a positive impact on the calories you can burn.

Finally, there is the concept of mindfulness, something that is being taught in schools and professional environments as a way of improving well-being and relieving stress.

With yoga, you can work on this idea of being more mindful of your body and its needs by focusing on your breathing, your posture and the muscles you are targeting.

Practicing mindfulness can be greatly beneficial when dieting as you can become more aware of cravings and hunger and more appreciative of the food you eat, to the point where those cravings disappear, snacking becomes less desirable and you really make the most of a healthier diet.

It is often the case that enthusiasts doing yoga alone lose very little weight but no longer put any more on because of improved calorie intake – weight loss is as much about the calories going in and the ones being burned.


How to Lose Weight by Yoga

Hopefully this guide on how to lose weight by doing yoga has offered a different perspective on the discipline and shown that with the right approach, you can burn calories and change the shape of your body.

Yoga is not a quick fix solution and it does require some discipline but once you start to see the many different benefits at work, you can then use them to push your weight loss regime even further and make even bigger losses.

Yoga alone, either hatha, hot yoga or any other form of your choice, will burn some calories through energy expenditure but once you start to take advantages of your new strength, flexibility, breathing techniques and mindfulness, the opportunities for greater calorie burning and diet control are fantastic.

For a safer, easier way to do yoga and get better results fast – check out the Shapeshifter Yoga system HERE

58 thoughts on “How to Lose Weight by Doing Yoga

  1. I never considered yoga for weight loss before. I always thought it was more about mental stress relief and being “centered” and all that kind of stuff. I need to walk a lot, it’s the only kind of physical exercise I can actually do, I don’t play football and I don’t go jogging … ever. I do meditate a lot and I think that I will explore yoga a little more, perhaps together with my wife 🙂 Who knows!

    1. Hi Nigel,
      Well if you meditate a lot you are basically halfway there – Yoga is the next logical step! Hope you ( and your wife ) enjoy the process 🙂

  2. I have heard of yoga as you have mentioned for relaxing stress release and knew it was a form of exercise. I did not realize just how much yoga actually covered. I never got involved with yoga or read up on it so it only makes sense as you have stated the different styles can cover a very wide area of fitness.
    It just goes to show how much you can learn about things with websites as great as this one.

  3. My body is so fat and that is why I gonna thank you for this review, very great indeed to loose weight with simple exercise, I did not know that by simple exercises I will loose my fat and do my normal daily jobs. It has been hard even for me to walk around. And you have assisted me.

    1. Well that’s great to hear Divican but don’t be too hard on yourself – you don’t look that overweight ( from the picture on your avatar! ).

  4. G’day Chris,

    i think Yoga is a disciplined practice that offers a variation of benefits for ones physical, mental state and consciousness.

    I have tried yoga techniques before and I think from personal experience it can create a sense of increased mental productivity, also flexible limbs and stature if performed regularly.

    I think yoga is a great way to tone ones physical appearance and even increase attractiveness.



  5. Yoga is something I always tell myself I will get into but I never do. My excuse is that I am too busy and when I go to the gym yoga is not my priority.

    I don’t need to use it for weight loss, I need it for overall flexibility of my body. What yoga program for beginners should I look into so I can start doing this at home??


    1. Hi Marko,
      The Shapeshifter Yoga system we mention here ( in the article above ) is excellent for beginners but it does also concentrate on aspects of weight loss. I would recommend taking a look at it if you are a newbie to the subject 🙂

  6. Like a lot of people, I also thought yoga was for flexibility, posture and relaxation. I didn’t think it could be vigorous enough for weight loss. I always assumed that to lose weight you had to puff and sweat, in order to burn fat. But if you can use yoga to improve tone and build lean muscle mass, being more muscular will automatically boost your metabolism. I like the tight, lean look that yoga gives you, and it doesn’t leave you hurting like a gym workout. I practice Hatha yoga 2x a week.

  7. Over the years, I have done yoga by following a dvd. But I found that I just never really stuck with it. I often thought about finding a place that teaches yoga perhaps at our local Gold’s Gym but I always thought that everyone would be further advanced and I wouldn’t be able to keep up. Any suggestions on the best way for a newbie to get started?

    1. I would say you’ve got the right idea with finding a class at a local gym Wendy. When you are first starting out in anything it’s beneficial to have some sort of teacher to guide you 🙂

  8. Hi Chris,

    Very nice article and extremely helpful!
    I did once tried to do yoga with books, but my yogist friend suggest me not to do it by my self,but with a teacher! I really liked it, it relax me a lot. I also would like to reinforce my muscles . Is it possible with yoga? I am not the kind of person who would run or do intense exercises to loose weight:) I am a kind of lazy. I personally prefer swimming or walk and I think that yoga would be just wonderful for me!
    Thank you for this awesome blog

  9. Hi Chris,

    I have been practicing Vinyasa for 4 years now. I tried hot yoga – I didn’t like it and Kundalini doesn’t feel right with my body. I am always on-the-go kind of person so Vinyasa, combined with some Hatha (for me to catch my breath) is a great workout for me.

    While I don’t have a weight issue, some of my Yoga peers do and over the years, I could see them getting toner and slimmer. As a result of that, they are more radiant too.

  10. Hi Chris,

    Agree that doing yoga could lose weight but not with immediate effect like those slimming course. However, in a healthier and natural way.

    I found the bikram/hot yoga with the best effect in losing weight. I previously participated the bikram yoga as found that could help to warm up faster in performing the yoga postures (as my body is too stiff). Without realizing, my body weight reduced by 7kg in 3 months without any diet control.

    I have stopped pratising for quite a while due to busy working schedule and it is time back to yoga for better mindset and body shape control.

  11. Hello!
    I really enjoyed this post of yours. I love yoga and I knew that it is very beneficial for the body and mind but I never heard that it can help you lose weight. I thought that doing yoga can help you build strength and improve your posture.
    That is great news and since I am looking into losing some pounds I will definitely start going to more yoga classes.
    Thank you for sharing this info with us!

  12. Hi Chris,

    Well, I always thought that you had to be very flexible in order to do yoga and that it was more a meditation exercise!

    I didn’t know that there were 4 types of yoga!

    Now, if I want to start doing yoga, and I’m not very flexible or in great shape, which type of yoga do you recommend?

    I don’t want to feel overwhelmed. I’m not looking to lose weight, just improve my overall health!



    1. Hi Sonia,
      Hatha Yoga ( the first example covered in the article ) is one of the most gentle versions and is a favorite for beginners to take on 🙂

  13. Great Niche. Everyone is interested in learning how to stay slim. Good article on bread. I love bread but try to refrain from over doing it. I eat lots of salads to get my green vegetables. I am wondering about the Venus exercise program does it come with its own diet plan? I am interested in toning up more than anything. Thanks for the information.

    1. Hi Vicky,
      Yes the Venus program is a complete system that comes with a diet plan – it covers just about all the bases for weight loss 🙂

  14. Great article on how to lose weight by doing yoga. I’m actually reducing my body fat at the moment after training quite hard with heavy weights for 2 years. I’ve always been interested in yoga since it improves mobility and increases core strength and stretches tonic muscles. What you think is the best yoga is one wants the most grueling physical exercise at the same time? Thanks a lot for writing this out. All the best to you.

    1. To be honest Jesse I really couldn’t answer that as I don’t really know what you’re getting at? We have listed the popular types of yoga in the article above so I would suggest checking each out and seeing which one fits your current needs 🙂

  15. Hello and thanks for sharing this post. 🙂 One of my friend has lost extra pounds with yoga and her body looks very feminine and tight. If I compare her body shapes to the others who has done weight training, she looks way more softer but still fit and sexy. Should try this too!

  16. Hey Chris!
    Nice post I have always loved visiting your site and this time is about How Yoga can help in weight loss , I too have been posting more on weight loss these days so do check out those sites as well
    I couldn’t more agree on your site and hope you keep posting!!

  17. fascinating stuff. I have read a couple of pages of your site. My sister always said to me that she thinks yoga is ridiculous, and how can it work. But I totally disagree. I used it when pregnant and it helped me immensely to stay strong and keep mobile as well as relax. I think it has to be one of the most amazing exercises that can do all those things! I am interested in the more energetic types, so I will look into those. I shared your page on twitter too.

    1. Great stuff Ruth – thank you for sharing our work!

      My partner also used a lot of yoga when she was pregnant with my second son! 🙂

  18. I have always been a fan of yoga. Even suggested it to my wife as something when she mentions a desire to lose weight and feel better. Unfortunately she has never been a fan of yoga. She tried a type of yoga before and was not into style. She seems to view it as too slow. She enjoyed cardio classes at a gym though.

    1. Well it sounds as though she should stick to cardio Justin! Yoga will not be for everyone at the end of the day so you must find something that is a good fit for you ( or your wife in this case! ).

  19. This gives me another perspective on yoga. Like other people said, I don’t really think of yoga as losing weight though I know it’s great for mind, body, and soul. I will definitely have to look into this more as I didn’t realize the different types of yoga and how one in more strenuous than the other. I’ve been thinking of going to the gym to get back into shape but may have to consider implementing yoga into my routine as well.

  20. Great article! Yoga is really underestimated in terms of weight loss, it can actually be a really good workout. The first time I tried yoga, I thought it was just a bunch of poses with really slow and mindful movement in between. When I was finished I was sweating like I did HIIT and the next day I could really feel I worked out. Vinyasa is awesome to lose weight and tone the body, highly recommend it 🙂

    Take Care,

    1. Hi Eva,

      Great to hear that you’re taking so much exercise/workout out of your yoga! Thanks for your opinions/recommendations on Vinyasa 🙂

  21. Hello there,
    I believe it’s possible to lose weight doing yoga.
    The good thing about yoga is the fact that it gets you more in touch with your body.
    By doing yoga maybe we can become more in tune and appreciative of our bodies, and will make it more likely to eat healthier.
    Yoga is a great way to get the mind and body working together.
    Thank you for the post, I enjoyed it.

  22. I love it when bloggers post how physical exercise can have an impact on nutrition. It absolutely works together. If you are practicing yoga and becoming more in tune with your body, you absolutely can become more in tune with the rest of your body. Mindfulness and desiring what is best for you long term really impacts the life style choices that you make. Being mindful with yoga and how it is impacting your body makes you feel better about yourself. That makes you want to treat yourself better. This leads to you choosing better food. This leads to your children and those around you seeing you model healthy choices. Soon your community is impacted because you chose to love yourself. Excellent blog article. Well done.

  23. I have enjoyed reading your post. Thank you for explaining various yoga types. I heared about them but didn’t know what is the major focus of this yoga types. I agree with you that it is better to lose fat with a slower yoga approach rather than some fast approach. Usually fast weight lost will result in fast weight gaining. Yoga is a great activity for a good heath, it connects body and mind and I love it. Great article!

  24. I never knew there were different types of yoga! Who knew? I think I’ll need to focus a little more on Vinyasa yoga with the holiday season approaching! Do you have any recommendations or tips for someone new to this and what I should do? I would like to know a little about what I’m doing before I start taking classes.

  25. Great post,

    I think yoga is understated especially with achieving weight loss. It is not something I am any good at as my flexibility is quite poor but I see others in the gym who are very good at it. Maybe I should now try and improve!.

    A well presented and easy to understand blog, well done.

  26. First of all the design of your site is really cute. Hehe! At first glance I thought it’s a site meant for kids but as I saw the title it’s about losing calories. I found it really informative. I never thought there are different yogas. Now I’m more informed about this new ways of losing some chub and relaxing at the same time. I might consider trying yoga soon. Keep up the good work. 🙂

    1. Well I’m glad you enjoyed your visit to the site! Don’t know about the ‘cute’ status though but I’ll take it! 🙂

  27. I found this very interesting because even though you are burning calories at a lower rate than you would doing a different type of workout you mention the other benefits of doing yoga which I’m familiar with. I don’t do yoga but I know of incredible stories about people that tried it out and credit it with changing their lives. The article was cool.

  28. Contrary to what some people may think I agree, yoga is hard! Every time I’ve done it I find myself shaking and sweating because it’s hard to hold the yoga positions for as long as you’re asked to. Would you recommend though that someone doing yoga include a cardio workout a couple times a week as well? Also how often is it recommended to include a yoga session throughout the week, and how long should they customarily last?

  29. Hi, thank you for sharing such a nice article about yoga… Yoga is an excellent excercise, it helps so much to relax! And it’s amazing for your body as well..

    The fact, that yoga helps you to loose weight is a huge bonus and I think that everyone should try it 🙂

    I didn’t know there is more types of yoga…so it’s interesting…

    Thanks 🙂

  30. Hello, thank you for insightful article. I think that everything what you wrote here about connection between yoga and weight loss is true.
    I think that does not matter who it is, beginner or in advanced level, yoga requires a lot strength.
    If somebody did the Greeting of Sun or somebody calls it Sun Salutation, knows that these asanas look simple , but it takes some effort and constant strength for accomplishing it.
    In yoga everything is connected. Mind and body work together. This ancient practice change our perception of things. We are relaxed. We choose different food, because junk food does not give any benefit for body. We feel after practicing yoga what is good for us.
    Good habits lead to changing lifestyle and with it, weight returns to normal.
    Of course, we need to do yoga, not just lay on the floor.
    Thanks, all the best, Nemira.

  31. I can definitely attest that yoga helps with weight loss, not just because of burning calories but because of the way it helps with your stress levels.

    I really like how you broke down the separate types of yoga – I always wonder about what the differences are.

    You remind me to get back into it – because I always do better when I’m practicing my yoga

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