Healthy Living

Yoga For Weight Loss: Here’s What Experts Found

Despite individual exercise preferences, weight loss always results from expending more energy than the calories consumed, thereby creating a caloric deficit. Whether the exercise done lasts for one hour or 20 minutes, it does not make a difference as long as the calories burned are more than the intake. 

If yoga is practiced while simultaneously maintaining a balanced diet, it can create a similar caloric deficit within the body, according to an article published on mindbodygreen.com written by the wellness editor, Ray Bass, also a certified personal trainer by National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM). 

People assume that yoga might not have the “afterburn effect’’ produced by high-intensity interval training (HIIT) and strength training. It refers to a state when calories are still being burned throughout the day after completing the exercise. However, the intensity can be modified and adapted according to people’s needs. 

Some forms of yoga are more physically challenging than others since they all require different amounts of strength and flexibility. Of which, Bass said in her piece that the following three types of yoga are known best to help burn calories. They are as mentioned below. 

Ashtanga Yoga -Though not many calories are burned, the ashtanga targets the full body and can be practiced for up to an hour. It helps sculpt the body and shape it to look slimmer, along with significant change in muscle tone if practiced regularly.  Eventually, ashtanga yoga gives the impression of weight loss without tremendous loss in calories. 

Bikram Yoga - Also called hot yoga, it  requires that you do 26 poses in one session at a temperature between 95 to 108 Fahrenheit. One session itself can make people burn from 600 to 1,500 calories since the sweat leads to intense detoxification. 

Vinyasa Yoga - Due to its various movements and poses similar to push ups and lunges, vinyasa yoga moves all the different sets of muscles, building core strength. It helps meet the weekly recommendation of 150 to 300 minutes of minimal strength training, which in turn results in lean muscles.  

Doing yoga in a disciplined fashion for at least five times a week, like one would with any other form of exercise, could aid weight loss goals. Bass also said in her piece that yoga, which involves a lot of respiratory action and breathing exercises, brings down stress level. The management of stress is crucial to be able to concentrate on weight loss and focus on the right food habits. 

In the past, renowned fitness instructor, Leigh Crews, told livescience that increasing physical activity is the first step that one can take towards losing weight. Her advice is similar to Bass’. Choosing the right yoga style to alter your body and mind could go a long way. She recommended the vigorous and flowing styles such as Ashtanga, Vinyasa and hot yoga.

The 90 minute long classes also serve as weight bearing exercises to improve bone strength. The underlying benefit, she added, was that yoga could make you more mindful of your body and food choices. Self-awareness developed can prevent people from indulging in food when emotional, practice restraint and adopt good eating habits. 

Woman doing yoga Ashtanga, Vinyasa and Power Yoga are three rigorous forms of yoga that aid weight loss, if practiced along with a balanced diet. Photo courtesy of Pexels, Public Domain

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