We get asked all the time, “How much weight can I lose doing Yoga? How many Yoga sessions per week should I do in order to see real weight loss?”
It’s quite an interesting question…
Yoga isn’t one of the most commonly utilized weight loss workouts. It’s typically used for relaxation, meditation, or to build endurance and mobility, but if done right, it can lead to some pretty amazing weight loss results nonetheless.
Below, we’re going to answer the question “How much weight can I lose doing Yoga?” and take a closer look at how this unique form of exercise can encourage real, long-lasting weight loss.
How Much Weight Can I Lose Doing Yoga?
Yoga isn’t the sort of workout people typically do for weight loss. To lose weight, most people rely on one of three types of workouts:
Resistance Training – Pushing your muscles to failure burns A LOT of energy, which in turn increases your metabolism and helps to burn fat. Resistance training on its own can be amazing for weight loss, and can lead to serious improvements in your physical health overall
Cardio Training – Cardio training like running, jogging, cycling, rowing, and stair climbing are popular weight loss exercises because they specifically target fat-burning. They keep your heart rate in the “fat-burning zone” (when you’re pushing your heart just enough to need energy while still enabling it to burn stored fats rather than relying entirely on blood sugar) for longer periods (30-60+ minutes).
HIIT – High intensity interval training pairs the intensity of resistance training with the fat-burning benefits of cardio. The result is most noticeable for your cardiovascular conditioning, but it can be a means of seeing real weight loss, too.
Now, you might be thinking, “Hang on, Yoga doesn’t fit into any of these categories. Yoga is definitely not high-intensity—quite the opposite, in fact—and it’s not resistance training or cardio training. So how can it help me lose weight?”
Well, the truth is that Yoga is BOTH resistance and cardio training, in its own way.
Think about how much your legs burn after a minute or so of doing Warrior Two, or how your arms start to shake when attempting to get into Crane pose. You’re not using heavy weights in Yoga, but working with your own bodyweight is a form of functional resistance training. The bodyweight training focus more on endurance than raw power or strength, but it’s still a type of resistance training nonetheless.
And you can definitely feel the cardio workout after a few Sun Salutation sequences. The constant flow between poses won’t push your heart to its max, but it will keep it in that low fat burning zone—similar to a walk or slow jog. There’s still the improvement in cardiovascular conditioning and the activation of stored fats over the course of a Yoga workout.
Granted, this is typically the case with the more active types of Yoga—Vinyasa, Astanga, Power Yoga, and Kundalini Yoga—where you are moving through sequences of poses without long periods of rest between. The constant motion engages your muscles and forces your cardiovascular system to work harder to provide a steady supply of oxygen and energy. The result: fat-burning!
With a Yoga workout, you’re not going to blaze through a massive amount of calories like you would when running, swimming, lifting weights, or HIIT training. But that’s not necessarily a bad thing. It just means that you’ll burn fewer calories throughout the day. Pair a Yoga workout with a slight caloric deficit (200-300), and you’ll see excellent weight loss results.
But there’s another benefit of Yoga that can really maximize your weight loss: stress management!
Stress can be a major obstacle to weight loss. Not only will it lower your metabolism, but it will increase your cravings and make you more prone to stress-eating—always unhealthy foods higher in sugar and fats.
Stress interferes with healthy body function, but it also makes your body more prone to storing fat rather than burning it. Yoga can combat it by increasing the endorphins that elevate your mood, balance out your hormones, and reduce the stress hormone cortisol. Coming out of your Yoga workout, you’ll find yourself much more centered and at peace, your mind and body aligned to your purpose of losing weight through healthy exercise and dieting. The result: better weight loss over the long term.
Asking the question, “How much weight can I lose doing Yoga?” is a tricky question because, at the end of the day, it’s all about a caloric deficit—i.e., fewer calories eaten than burned in a day.
The average Yoga session burns between 180 calories (for the calmer, slower Yoga types) and 500 calories (for the faster-paced, longer-lasting sessions), depending on your weight and specific metabolism.
If you’re doing one Yoga session per day and keeping your body at a small caloric deficit (of 100-300 calories fewer per day than your metabolic rate demands), then you can realistically expect weight loss of around 1-2 pounds per week. It may not sound like a lot, but it’s a long-term, sustainable, and, most important of all, HEALTHY rate of loss!
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Yoga Lean is a weight loss program oriented toward those who want to improve mobility and endurance while also seeing real, long-lasting fat loss. It doesn’t matter if you like exercising or not; with the daily Yoga training sessions, you’ll find yourself feeling much happier, more at peace mentally, and physically stronger every day. Within a few short weeks, you’ll see the answer to the question “How much weight can I lose doing Yoga?” for yourself just by stepping on the scale and watching those numbers drop!
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