Yoga and Weight Loss

PLN coach reviews the benefits of yoga and if it can help with your weight loss goals.

Published May 31, 2023

4 minute read

PLN Yoga and weight loss.jpg

Yoga and Weight Loss

Very few types of yoga can compare to more vigorous workouts like spinning or boot camp in terms of calorie burn.

Up to 400 calories can be burned in one hour of a vigorous, fast-paced yoga lesson that includes the use of hand weights. The usual class, however, burns between 175 and 250 calories per hour. In contrast, one hour of Zumba can help you burn around 650 calories.

Naturally, factors such as age, muscle mass, body weight, basal metabolic rate, general amount of daily activity, and gender all influence calorie burn; males, in general, burn more calories than women.

As a result, a yoga class that burns 300 calories for you may only burn 150 for your friend. However, despite these limitations, yoga can be an effective part of a weight-reduction program due to its many benefits, some of which can contribute to weight loss even if you're not actively burning calories during class. Here are some reasons why yoga could help you lose weight:


Strength training using one's own body weight is a common component of many yoga practices.

One such routine is called "chaturanga," and it consists essentially of a half pushup that targets the triceps, shoulders, and chest. The abdominals, thighs, and buttocks may also be strengthened by other yoga positions.

Defying gravity transforms those yoga moves into a form of resistance training. Muscle mass is increased, leading to a sustained increase in metabolic rate.


Stress is a potent fat-accumulator, especially in the belly area. According to Dr. Sara Gottfried, author of "The Hormone Cure," prolonged stress maintains high cortisol levels, and in turn, your body responds by diminishing feel-good brain chemicals like serotonin.

The combination of these factors makes it difficult to get to sleep and increases sugar cravings, all of which contribute to the accumulation of belly fat that the body stores in preparation for the "fight or flight" response.

Eliza Kingsford, a psychotherapist and author of "Brain-Powered Weight Loss," claims that once a person's cortisol levels are chronically elevated, no amount of exercise or calorie restriction can help them lose weight. Despite your best efforts, you continue to gain weight despite your nutritious diet and regular exercise. Feelings of unease follow, and so does the cycle. That's the effect stress has on you.

One study indicated that yoga's stress-reducing effects were felt all over the body. The other healthy practices you're utilizing for weight loss will be more effective as a result.


Streaming a yoga class online is convenient for people with hectic schedules, but it's also worthwhile to explore attending a class in person. Even if you don't strike up a meaningful conversation with anyone, it gives you a chance to connect with people.

Due to the community's encouraging, non-competitive atmosphere, one study revealed that yoga is an effective strategy for weight loss. Many of the study's participants reported that the vibe at the yoga studio was different and more upbeat than that of gyms and fitness clubs.

Participating students and the yoga instructor were seen as role models by those in the study, who cited their positive effects on stress levels and the adoption of healthier lifestyle habits.


Paying greater attention to what you eat is a natural consequence of incorporating a discipline like yoga into your routine, which can lead to reduced stress and improved sleep.

A recent study confirms this idea, finding that those who are stressed and exhausted are more likely to engage in emotional eating and to overeat. Researchers also discovered that people's calorie intake goes up because they are more likely to resort to fast food and other handy options when they are tired and stressed.

Practicing yoga not only helps you focus on the present moment as you go from one pose to the next, but also as you peruse the produce section or the dinner menu.

To better understand why you make the eating and exercise decisions you do, Kingsford suggests "cultivating more self awareness in general." That way, "you can start to see patterns that aren't serving you and work on changing them."


Everyone who has tried to lose weight understands that there is more to it than counting calories in and out.

While that's a good place to start, neglecting your own health can make weight loss more challenging, if not impossible. Putting others before yourself can cause you to neglect your own health by putting off things like eating right and exercising.

Even if yoga doesn't directly lead to weight loss, incorporating it into your routine can have profound effects by helping you form healthy routines that do.


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