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.
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.
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
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 flow yoga sequences. Step-by-Step Instructions
Warrior Pose II
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. This pose is considered as a difficult pose as the body alignment needs to be accurate, but is generally categorized as an Intermediate Level Pose or Beginner Level Pose. Its 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 Pose Ii is considered a base pose as warrior pose ii variations can be derived from this pose.Warrior Pose Ii helps boost energy in the body and hence can be included in flow yoga sequences. Step-by-Step Instructions
Warrior Pose III
Most of the Warrior Poses are considered difficult under the category of Standing and Balancing Asanas. The Warrior Pose brings a lot of power and energy within the body and is hence considered as a Pose of a Warrior. Warrior Pose Iii is considered a base pose as warrior pose iii variations can be derived from this pose.Warrior Pose Iii helps boost energy in the body and hence can be included in flow yoga sequences. Step-by-Step Instructions
Four Limbed Staff Pose
In Sanskrit ‘Chatur’ means ‘four limbs’, ‘Danda’ means ‘staff of support’ and ‘Asana’, means ‘posture’. In Four Limbed Staff Pose (Chaturanga Dandasana), 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 as a powerful strength builder in the arms and abs. Four Limbed Staff Pose is considered a base pose as four limbed staff pose variations can be derived from this pose.Four Limbed Staff Pose helps boost energy in the body and hence can be included in flow yoga sequences.
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
Paripurna Navasana (Complete Boat Pose) name comes from the Sanskrit words 'Paripurna’ meaning ‘entire or full’, and ‘Nava’ meaning ‘boat’. The body in this pose resembles a boat and hence the name. The body in this pose is entirely balanced on the sit bone or the buttocks. The body also looks like the letter ‘V’, while seated on the sit bones. The arms and the legs are balanced in the air using the core strength. As simple as this yoga pose may look, it requires tremendous abdominal strength and great focus on the balance to get this pose right to reap all its benefits. Complete Boat Pose is considered a base pose as complete boat pose variations can be derived from this pose.Complete Boat Pose helps boost energy in the body and hence can be included in flow yoga sequences. Step-by-Step Instructions
Downward Facing Dog Pose
Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose) is named as such because in this yoga pose body looks like that of a dog (Svana) relaxing and stretching while burrowing its face (Mukha) downwards (Adho) towards the shoulders. Downward Facing Dog Pose is considered a base pose as downward facing dog pose variations can be derived from this pose.Downward Facing Dog Pose helps boost energy in the body and hence can be included in flow yoga sequences. Step-by-Step Instructions
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.
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.