Best Yoga For Weight Loss And Toning

Best yoga for weight loss

Practicing yoga has gained a lot of popularity in recent times, with many fitness experts and medical journals backing the practice for physical and mental wellbeing. The best yoga for weight loss and toning can help you rid your body of stubborn fat and improve the metabolic rate, while simultaneously improving your overall mental focus.

Yoga is not only popular among those looking to lose weight but also stands as one of the best methods to increase awareness and mindfulness. Many can argue that the benefits of yoga to the mind might often outweigh the benefits to the body. However, yoga remains an excellent method of getting and staying in shape.

Yoga Benefits For Weight Loss

Aside from the mental aspects, there have been a few studies conducted related to yoga and weight loss. In a recent study, many of the health and weight-loss benefits we are about to discuss have been reviewed. However, the following benefits are what you can expect on your fitness journey, using yoga to lose weight:

  • Balanced Metabolism: When it comes to weight loss, your metabolism can make or break your fitness level. Yoga enhances metabolism, which improves the rate at which you expend energy. Combining this with a low-calorie diet could lead to weight loss.
  • Injury Protection: If you are on a diet, you might notice that you have to work out to lose weight as well. However, strenuous workouts can often lead to muscle soreness and injury. Since yoga makes you more flexible by extending the range of the tendons and stretching the muscles, injuries can potentially be avoided.
  • Improved Levels of Energy: A large part of working out pertains to how much energy an individual has at their disposal. With mental issues and stress, we find that our dopamine levels deplete, reducing the available energy. Yoga can clear the mind and improve mindfulness. This increases dopamine and serotonin levels for improved energy levels.
  • Increased Muscle Building: You might not think that yoga can help you build muscles, but it actually can. The specific poses that one needs to take can put a lot of strain on the body, which forces muscles to work and eventually grow. There have been a couple of studies that indicate how muscle growth can potentially lead to an increase in metabolism and reduce insulin resistance.
  • Overall Weight Loss With Yoga: Since yoga is considered to be an exercise of its own, it is well established that those practicing it will burn more calories than those that don’t. Since you will burn more calories through your yoga poses, you naturally become anabolic. In an anabolic state, the body preserves muscle, while using fat cells for energy.

Best Type Of Yoga For Weight Loss

To the untrained eye, every form of yoga might seem similar. However, this is not the case, as there are various forms. Some forms of yoga increase the core body temperature significantly, while other forms can be more active. Should you be interested in which yoga is best for weight loss, the following types might appeal to you:

  • Hot Yoga. For hot yoga, the temperature of the room is often high. The room temperature can often be above 80 to 100-degrees Fahrenheit, with a humidity of around 40%. Additionally, Bikram yoga is also popular among many hot yoga fans. It generally features 26 poses done in 90-minutes, with a room temperature that could exceed 105-degrees Fahrenheit. Since it is done in a hot room, yoga can often lead to higher core temperatures. Once your core temperature is high enough, your body will rapidly burn calories to cool it down again. During a study done in 2014, it was also found that premenopausal women doing yoga have significantly increased bone density.
  • Power Yoga. Power yoga is much more rigorous and mostly done by many advanced yoga experts. Yoga utilizes the entire body of the individual and consists of a few strenuous poses where you need to carry your body weight. Power yoga can help to build muscle, which will naturally lead to increased metabolism. If you are looking to improve muscle strength, it is important that build up your way to power yoga. Many experts can also see that body composition changes are apparent when they are doing power yoga and improve muscle quality.
  • Kundalini Yoga. Kundalini Yoga is slightly different from the traditional yoga methods that we commonly find. Yoga is derived from an ancient magical science where mantra and energy healing are used. It is also a form of yoga common with those that have injuries while allowing individuals to channel energy in specific ways when needed. Since the form of yoga is specifically targeted at individuals to help them improve their mental wellbeing, it is effective for improving the natural energy levels in the body. Once the person has more mental energy, it is often seen that they start doing more things, while feeling more motivated. Once you are more active, it is easy to see how you can lose more weight.
  • Ashtanga Yoga. Ashtanga Yoga is more of a militant style of yoga that one can practice. Yoga uses forceful and powerful moves. However, most of the routines are fairly standard. Yoga follows the same script over and over, which means that it could lead to boredom. However, it can significantly increase the overall power of the person practicing it. Since the form of yoga is much more physical and demanding on the body, it is no secret that many beginners fail at this form of yoga. It is best to ease yourself into the routine of the instructor and not to be demoralized if you cannot complete the course at first.
  • Hand Yoga. Hand Yoga is one of the more traditional practices of yoga, using mostly asanas. However, it has also evolved over the last couple of years and nowadays it follows the Yoga Mudras principles of Ayurveda. Each part of the hand can be considered an element and when there is an imbalance in the body of elements, it leads to sickness. Once the person turns these Mudra Asanas toward weight loss, it becomes much easier for them to shed some of the extra pounds they are carrying around. However, this still needs to be combined with a balanced diet and some physical exercise whenever possible. Hand Yoga is a mental form of yoga that projects outward in a physical manner.

Best Yoga Poses For Weight Loss

Yoga poses are often referred to as Asanas and there are a couple of Asanas that can lead to more weight loss for individuals. These Asanas are not always easy to perform by every person, but can have a dramatic effect on yoga for weight loss:

Warrior Pose I (front) - Iana Varshavska
Warrior Pose I

As per Hindu Mythology, ‘ Virabhadra’, was the name of a ‘Warrior’, created by Lord Shiva. Hence this pose comes from the creation of the fiercest warrior by Lord Shiva and so the name goes as ‘Virabhadrasana’ or ‘Warrior’ Pose. In Sanskrit ‘Vira’ means ‘Hero’ ‘Warrior’ ‘Vigorous’ and ‘Courageous’, and ‘Bhadra’ means ‘good’ ‘auspicious’.

Considered to be a powerful posture replicating the power of a warrior, this pose is the first variation amongst the many under warrior poses. The importance of practicing this pose is emphasised clearly in all schools of yoga as it forms a part of the standing poses which includes balance, stability and stamina. To balance the body with feet more than hip distance apart and raising the arms above your head while gazing at them, requires one to connect the body with the breath. Practicing the alignment of the feet and the knees, along with the torso marks as a great pose to add beauty to one’s body.

Warrior Pose I is considered a base pose as Warrior Pose I variations can be derived from this pose. Warrior Pose I helps boost energy in the body and hence can be included in different yoga sequences.

Step-by-Step Instructions
Warrior Pose II (front) - Iana Varshavska
Warrior Pose II

Warrior Pose II or Virabhadrasana II in Sanskrit, is a standing yoga pose that strengthens and stretches the legs, hips, and torso. As per Hindu Mythology, Virabhadra was the name of a Warrior created by Lord Shiva. Hence this pose comes from the creation of the fiercest warrior by Lord Shiva and so the name goes Virabhadrasana or Warrior Pose.

Virabhadrasana is considered a difficult pose as the body alignment needs to be accurate but is generally categorized as an intermediate or beginner-level pose. It is said that the power of this pose can be felt only if one is extremely flexible and stable with their body balance. Virabhadrasana II is one of the many variations of Virabhadrasana Pose.

Warrior II Yoga Pose is often incorporated into yoga sequences for its energizing and grounding effects, and can also be practiced on its own as a way to cultivate focus and mindfulness.

Step-by-Step Instructions
Warrior Pose III (front) - Iana Varshavska
Warrior Pose III

Warrior Pose III, also known as Virabhadrasana III in Sanskrit, is a challenging yoga pose that strengthens the legs, core, and improves balance and stability.

Warrior Pose III or Virabhadrasana III is considered a base pose as Warrior pose III variations can be derived from this pose. This pose is often included in vinyasa and power yoga classes and is great for toning the legs, glutes, core, and back muscles.

Step-by-Step Instructions
Four Limbed Staff Pose (front) - Iana Varshavska
Four Limbed Staff Pose

In Four Limbed Staff Pose or Chaturanga Dandasana in Sanskrit (‘Chatur’ means ‘four limbs’, ‘Danda’ means ‘staff of support’ and ‘Asana’, means ‘posture’), staff is referred to as the spinal cord, which is the main support system of the body. This pose is one of the steps in the group of 12 yoga poses in Surya Namaskar (Sun Salutation) and is considered a powerful strength builder in the arms and abs. It also helps boost energy in the body and hence can be included in flow yoga sequences.

Step-by-Step Instructions
Triangle Pose Yoga - YanvaYoga
Triangle Pose

In Sanskrit, ‘tri’ = ‘three’, ‘kona’ = ‘angle, corners’, ‘asana’ = ‘posture’. Hence Trikonasana just means ‘three corners’ and the English title is Triangle Pose. This is a standing basic beginner-level yoga pose and forms part of almost all styles of yoga. A great way to open the hips, while also stretching the muscles around the spine. Compared to the practice of Utthita Trikonasana (Extended Triangle Pose), this requires more flexibility of the hips and the side abdominal muscles. Triangle Pose is considered a base pose as triangle pose variations can be derived from this pose.

Step-by-Step Instructions
Complete Boat Pose (front) - Iana Varshavska
Complete Boat Pose

Complete Boat Pose or Paripurna Navasana in Sanskrit ('Paripurna’ meaning ‘entire or full’, ‘Nava’ meaning ‘boat’, and 'asana' means 'pose' or 'posture') is a yoga posture that strengthens the core muscles, including the abs, back, and hip flexors. The Full Boat Pose is a popular pose used to engage the core muscles by strengthening the abdominals and muscles of the pelvis and lower back. While the Full Boat Pose is a difficult yoga pose to perform for many, the benefits of the pose are long-lasting. There are several modifications and variations that can help you work up to the full pose over time.

Step-by-Step Instructions
Downward Facing Dog Pose (front) - Iana Varshavska
Downward Facing Dog Pose

Downward Facing Dog Pose or Adho Mukha Svanasana in Sanskrit (Adho means 'downwards', Mukha 'face', and Svana means 'dog') is a foundational yoga pose that is often used as a transitional pose between other yoga asanas. Downward Facing Dog position provides a great stretch and strengthens the entire body, especially the arms, shoulders, hamstrings, calves, and spine. It can also help to calm the mind and relieve stress. Adho Mukha Svanasana is considered a base pose as Downward Facing Dog Pose Variations can be derived from this pose. This is a great pose to boost energy in the body and hence can be included in flow yoga sequences.

Step-by-Step Instructions

Final Thoughts

Losing weight is one of the hardest things for most people in their life. It can often feel like one step forward and one-step-back. However, yoga for weight loss has been proven repeatedly, with many experts agreeing on the effect. Let us know some of your thoughts in the comment section below.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Yoga Good For Weight Loss?

Some many medical journals and studies directly point to the benefits of yoga for weight loss. While not all forms of yoga will necessarily help you lose weight, most forms can help improve muscle tone and lead to eventual weight loss.

Which Yoga Is Best For Weight Loss?

It is hard to pinpoint that one specific form of yoga is best for weight loss. Various forms of yoga include actively working out and others target the mental aspect of the mind. Physical yoga seems to be more effective at helping you lose weight.

Is Yoga Or Pilates Better For Weight Loss?

Both yoga and Pilates have their own merits. A simple search will show you many people that swear by yoga and others that swear by Pilates. Unfortunately, there is no real conclusive evidence that will recommend one above the other.

How To Start Yoga At Home For Weight Loss?

You don’t need to join a club or follow an instructor in a health center to start yoga. Fortunately, there are many free yoga courses on the internet. Additionally, some exclusive DVDs and videos could help one with yoga poses and getting started.

Iana Varshavska
Iana Varshavska
Website administrator

A digital marketer in love with yoga and everything that goes along with it. In 2021, her huge passion for yoga led her to yoga teacher trainings. After successfully completing her studies, Iana received her Yoga Alliance U.S. certification, left the corporate IT world and devoted herself to the development of Yanva. To be able to create the best online yoga space for yoga enthusiasts like her, Iana is constantly learning and improving her skills in various aspects of yoga philosophy, anatomy and biomechanics. Since 2021, she has continued to attend various types of teacher training, including yoga therapy, gives online and offline classes, and conducts local workshops for people who want to learn more about yoga. At the moment, Iana continues to work on her personal practice, improving her hand balancing skills, as well as developing her own training programs.

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