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How Yoga Helps With Weight Loss

When it comes to weight loss, a good number of people think of cardiovascular exercises like running or aerobics but the truth is shedding pounds is much more complicated than spending thirty minutes on the treadmill every day. Yoga is a component of weight loss that should not be missed.

It’s hard to live in the Westernized world and not be aware of what yoga is. To some of us, it’s that stretching class where everyone breathes in and out, while others have completed a sun salutation or two.

In Northern India, hundreds of centuries ago, yoga was forged by the Indus-Sarasvati civilization. Today, it has spread around the world as a means to relax, find balance, tone your body, and lose weight.

Yoga is practiced either alone or with others, completing a series of several poses that can be held for many breaths or moved through quickly, depending on the type of yoga you are practicing. Enhance your yoga experience with some music from your favorite streaming source and beautiful scents from a nebulizer, like these at

Yoga For Weight Loss

While there are several types of yoga only three of them adequate exercises for burning calories. These tend to be the types that have constant movement. They are as follows.


This style of yoga is not for the beginner. It has a structure of five series, each one more challenging than the first. Practitioners are not allowed to move to the next step until they have mastered the one before it.

Ashtanga yoga is intended to purify the mind and the body. As your practice intensifies so does your mental balance. As for your body, you sweat, which helps with the purification. It was first introduced to the west in the 1970s.

As we move forward and you read about Vinyasa yoga you’ll find that Ashtanga is similar. The difference is with Ashtanga the poses are always in the same sequence, which you move through with specific linked breathing techniques. The bottom line is this style keeps moving and you will burn calories while cleansing.


This style of yoga was created by Bikram Choudhury and it is also referred to as hot yoga. There is a specific sequence of postures, twenty-six to be exact, and two breathing exercises. It is all completed in a room that is heated to a bit over 100-degrees in ninety-minutes.

Bikram yoga is the equivalent of brisk walking when it comes to calorie burning, but there are added benefits. Including glucose tolerance improvements, easing of chronic pain due to issues like arthritis, detoxification of the body, and stress relief. Of the three, this is the least effective style when it comes to weight loss.


Loosely meaning special arrangement, this type of yoga requires a constant flow through poses, which incorporates the movement of breath in and out of the body. This is where Vinyasa is similar to Ashtanga. The difference is that there are no set pose sequences and the practitioner can get creative. Also, there are no levels to defeat like with Ashtanga.

Vinyasa yoga is a general term for many styles of yoga including Prana Flow, Power Yoga, Jivamukti, and Baptiste. If you recognize the pose sequence of Chaturanga to Upward-Facing Dog to Downward Facing Dog, this is the Vinyasa sequence that you will find in several other styles throughout your search.

Why Yoga Helps With Weight Loss

The movement is what makes these styles of yoga best when it comes to weight loss. When compared to yoga styles like Hatha you can make the connection. Hatha focuses on staying in the pose for a few breaths, which is great for mindfulness and obtaining balance, but you won’t burn many calories doing that.

It also needs to be pointed out that yoga alone is no way to shed pounds. The fact is without a healthy diet and other forms of exercise included you might not lose much at all. That’s okay though, the addition of yoga to your regular workout can only burn more calories.

Yoga Is Not For Recovery

Some readers may think, “Yoga is stretching so maybe I should use it post-workout.” We’re here to say that this isn’t the best idea. If you hit the gym hard then you can do some light stretches or even throw in a child’s pose but yoga is more intense than it looks. You could risk hurting yourself or a spasm.

In The End

When it comes to losing weight only dieting won’t help nor will exercise alone. If you struggle with weight then you might want to consider a complete lifestyle change. Yoga is a holistic way to improve your overall life and health, not just your belt size.

If you have never tried yoga we recommend you seek out a studio and try a beginner class before jumping into one of these styles. Yoga is non-competitive and is a practice you will continue through life to improve upon and grow, except for your pant size. That should go down.

This content is sponsored by Mark Valley.

Photo: Shutterstock

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