Yoga for Weight Loss and Flexibility

Yoga is a form of exercise which has been practiced for centuries around the globe. Over the past couple of decades it has become INCREDIBLY popular around the United States with around 11 million people participating in yoga classes on a regular basis (and that number is continuing to rise). Part of the reason as to why yoga is so popular is the fact that it can deliver a number of different health and fitness benefits. On this page I want to take a little look at two of the most common of benefits; weight loss and flexibility.

As you may know, yoga is a fairly loose style of exercise. The workout will be formed of a number of different poses which each deliver a different benefit to your body. The poses that you will be working on will depend on your instructor and the style of yoga that you are practicing. I therefore do not wish to go into too much depth on the different types of poses. Instead I want to talk to you about HOW yoga can actually have an impact on your health when it comes to weight loss and flexibility.


I am going to start by talking about a study carried out at the University of California. It looked at ten different students who were going through a yoga course. This course lasted for around eight weeks. The study showed that across the board flexibility in the joints was increased. This number often went as high as a 188% increase. As you may know, flexibility is vital to your health. When you are flexible you will benefit from a significant reduction in injuries, particularly in your muscles and in your joints. When you practice yoga you will also notice a significant increase in motion. This can help with some of the more extreme poses (and you will be able to do them eventually), it can also help in those who are suffering from chronic conditions such as arthritis where flexibility is a bit of a premium.

Weight Loss

Perhaps the main reason as to why people get into yoga is due to the fact that it can help with weight loss. Now, I am not going to lie to you here. Most yoga styles WILL NOT burn off as many calories as you would if you were engaging in a different cardiovascular exercise (running, hiking, swimming etc.). Most of the time you will only burn off around 240 calories an hour when you are practicing yoga. However, this is not where the main benefit lies. Many studies have shown that yoga can help boost your fitness levels. This will make it easier to engage in a variety of other cardiovascular exercises. This is why many people will practice yoga before heading straight into another form of exercise. In addition to this, certain poses have shown that they can actually boost your metabolism. This means that your body will have a far easier time of burning off excess weight. Again, this is why most people try to incorporate yoga into their weight loss regime; it really does help when you are looking to lose weight.

On top of this yoga has been shown to be beneficial as a form of strength training. This is something which is incredibly important when trying to lose weight as you do wish to tone your body at the same time so that you can look absolutely fantastic. The reason why yoga works as a form of strength training is because you will be putting a lot of weight on the various muscles in your body. This gives them a brilliant workout too and over time you may start to notice them ‘firm up’.

If you are looking to get into yoga for weight loss then there are three different styles of yoga that I would recommend. You only have to do one of these and I am sure you will be able to find an instructional course in your area, or even a couple of videos online which will take you through a sample routine:

Ashtanga Yoga

This style is perhaps the closest of the three styles listed here to traditional yoga. It was originally developed in India but has recently become incredibly popular throughout the Western world. This is a style which has actually been developed for men, although women will also be able to benefit from it. This is an advanced form of yoga and you will probably need to take a few classes before you really nail down those basics. It can be quite demanding and you will be switching between poses with blistering speed. Unlike some of the other styles on this list, Ashtanga Yoga has a group of poses which is ‘set in stone’. This means that most instructors should offer roughly the same course, although this may be changed up depending on the skill level of participants.

Power Yoga

Power Yoga is INCREDIBLY popular amongst those who are trying to lose weight. This is because it is a very high paced form of yoga. It is much the same as Ashtanga Yoga insofar as the fact that you will be switching between poses quite quickly. It is a style which has been developed for the western world and you may find that the poses that you utilize will differ from instructor to instructor. Due to the high paced nature of power yoga it is important that you try to build up your fitness levels and yoga prowess before engaging in it.

Bikram Yoga

Bikram Yoga is often referred to as ‘hot yoga’. With this style you will be working out in a room which has a humidity level of 40% and has been heated to 105 degrees. This is going to give you one of the most intense workouts possible and many people find it quite difficult to do until they start building up their fitness levels. That being said, there is nothing more effective than Bikram Yoga for losing weight. The sweating that you go through will also help to flush out impurities in your body and that will help your health in a number of other ways.

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