Does Yoga Burn Fat?
I’m here to help you through this question and show you the physical benefits of yoga and how this may impact weight loss. But also, more importantly, I’d like to show you how the mental benefits of yoga may truly complement and accelerate your weight loss journey, making it a more sustainable and pleasant journey as you reach the body you desire.
Fat burning 101
Weight loss and fat burning are terms thrown around constantly nowadays, but what do we actually know about it all? What we may forget is that by scientifically understanding how the body loses weight, we can tailor our daily habits and lifestyle in a way that can help us get the results we want.
Basically, weight loss happens when you are in a caloric deficit – when your body is burning more calories than it is consuming. This is an incredibly simple equation that has unfortunately been preyed upon by many, devising ‘lose weight quick’ schemes, a lot of which are unhealthy and unsustainable.
But, this is the reality and this is the only way anyone loses weight. The same goes for if you want to put on weight – you need to consume more calories than you are burning.
So, does yoga burn calories?
If you’ve been to a yoga class for an hour, you will certainly notice the muscle burn, the sweat and the feeling you had a proper workout by the end of it.
Your body is burning calories all the time. So, of course yoga burns calories – however the amount you burn depends on your body and how long you practice for. Obviously, the longer you practice the more you push and challenge yourself, the harder your body has to work and the more calories you will burn.
According to Harvard Health Publications, if you weigh 125 pounds, you could burn 240 calories after doing yoga for an hour. To accelerate this further, you could consider really pushing yourself out of your comfort zone when practicing.
Certain yoga styles may help more…
Have you ever heard of power yoga? Power yoga basically combines yoga and fitness, resulting in a fast-paced, dynamic workout not for the faint-hearted, so may offer more in terms of burning calories and seeing results. Learn more about power yoga here.
For example, someone who weighs 130 pounds can burn 304 calories when practicing power yoga, so it seems power yoga may be a more efficient way to shed some weight.
Tone up with yoga
What people really find when practicing yoga is how much it tones your body. Yoga places huge focus on strength, flexibility, balance and stretching – all of which go hand-in-hand with weight loss, and help to reveal and strong and toned figure.
Toning during yoga works because a lot of yoga is actually strength training. You are using your own body weight instead of actual weights. If you look at yin yang yoga – where you’ll attempt to hold poses for sometimes 5(!) minutes, think about just how much strength this requires for your muscles.
This is great if the thought of actually going to a gym either puts you off, intimidates you, or simply bores you. Have you been paying into a gym membership each month only to constantly avoid going? Why not put this money into a yoga membership instead and see if your motivation changes. You’ll be getting better doing yoga than never going to the gym!
Make weight loss sustainable
One reason why yoga may be so popular as a tool for weight loss is the huge amount of benefits that come from a regular yoga practice aside from losing weight.
I’ve gone into more detail looking at the mental benefits of yoga in one of my other posts which you can find here. But basically, I feel that the mental and emotional benefits you can get from practicing yoga can help you to maintain a regular weight loss practice.
When you first start, going to the gym can be seriously demotivating. You don’t know which weights to use, or how to use the machines, everything feels too heavy and it’s easy to feel intimidated. I think it’s easy to underestimate just how off-putting this can make going to the gym! And it can also take a while to begin to see results from the gym,
When you go to to your first yoga class, you get that instant gratification of stepping out, feeling calmer and more light and hopefully that will motivate you to get back there again!
It’s also no secret that yoga has the potential to significantly improve your mood, sleep and motivation. Improving these will encourage you on your weight loss journey, making the process easier and more manageable.
If you’re lucky, your yoga class may also feature some aspects of meditation. This may be guided, or self-guided, or anything you want it to be. On the path of weight loss, I feel that focusing on self-love and self-care throughout the journey is important. You want to make sure you’re losing the weight out of love for yourself and your body.
Unfortunately what happens to lots of people is they lose the weight, however still have their negative feelings around themselves and their body. Yoga helps you do the inner work effortlessly, alongside the physical work.
After practicing yoga, lay on your back on your mat and simply repeat some affirmations in your head (or out loud!) focused on loving and looking after yourself. By accepting and loving yourself as you are, you are more likely to make healthy choices, from a healthy mindset, leading to a healthier body.
So it’s a no brainer
Personally, yoga for weight loss is a no-brainer for me. You can tailor it how you want, build up your strength and a toned physique, all the while making weight loss as sustainable and enjoyable as possible.
Also, tailor it how you want! Just yoga/yoga and weight training/yoga and cardio. The options are endless to make your weight loss journey work for you.
Let me know how it goes!