Yoga for Weight Loss
Tips & Advice On Getting Started
For those looking to begin their exercise journey, yoga is an excellent choice. It helps you burn fat and calories while reducing stress and heightening mindfulness.1
If you’re a novice, it can be difficult knowing how to get started. But, once it becomes routine, you might just find it an excellent way to lose weight and maintain a healthy lifestyle.
Let’s take a closer look at yoga for weight loss.
Is yoga good for weight loss?
So, can yoga help you lose weight?
Short answer: yes.
The long answer provides many reasons why it’s possible, so let’s delve into just a handful of them:
- Strengthens and tones muscles
- Improves cardiorespiratory fitness
- Resistance training helps you burn fat
- Helps you get into better overall shape2
- Improves the quality of your sleep
- Intense styles of yoga burn more calories
- Improves metabolism
- Increases energy levels3
Remember, it’s not all about burning calories. Weight loss depends on a range of factors, including adequate amounts of sleep (7-9 hours)4 and reduced stress levels. Yoga has been proven to help do this, and more. It also helps provide a happier outlook on life in general. This is why many choose to do it in the morning, as a revitalising start to the day.
The list above doesn’t include some of the wider benefits, such as increased concentration and flexibility. The meditation and breathing that’s incorporated into yoga routines has been proven to aid mental health.
How easy is it to get started?
There are a number of exercises that help you lose weight. The good news is that this gives you a wide pool to choose from to find what suits you best.
Many choose to add yoga to their routine, as it doesn’t require loads of space or expensive kit. This makes it fairly easy to get started.
It’s particularly appealing if you’re looking for something that’s low impact, with minimal equipment. You can pretty much do it anywhere, no gym required, just a mat!
Yoga poses for weight loss
These are some of the best poses (or ‘asanas’) you can do for weight loss:
Also known as the Trikonasana, this is a standing pose. Step your feet wide apart (4-5ft), keeping them aligned. Turn your right foot 90 degrees out so your toes are pointing to the top of the mat.
Extend your right arm in the air, stretching it, in line with your shoulders. Meanwhile, let your right hand rest by your foot. Stay in this pose for 30 seconds to 1 minute. Then switch sides.5
This is similar to the well-known ‘plank’ that helps people get tight abs. However, there are a few major differences. Start on your hands and knees, before stepping back to put weight on your toes, keeping your body lifted. If you need to modify it, put weight on your knees rather than your toes.
It engages your core and muscles, while strengthening your arms.7
Stand with your feet more than shoulder width apart, before rotating one round so you end up in a lunge position. After that, reach your arms up, and hold for 5-10 breaths.
It tightens quads and tones the belly.
Start on all fours, before lifting your knees off the floor and stretching your legs as much as possible. Don’t forget to breathe as you do it. Hold for as long as you can before slowly releasing.8
Strengthens everything from your arms to your hamstrings.
Lie on your back, feet flat on the floor. Keep your arms also on the floor, fingers reaching to your heels, ensuring your feet are parallel. Lift your hips off the floor by pressing into the soles of your feet. Hold for as long as you can before lowering.9
Twisted chair pose
Start standing, legs together, then sit back over your heels until knees are at a 90-degree angle. Put hands into prayer position. Twist your left elbow across your knees, pressing it against the outer edge of your right knee. Hold for 30 seconds.10
Works the glutes and quads, similar to a squat.11
How often should you practice?
Yoga can be great for keeping you active on days where you don’t have time, or don’t want, to go to the gym.
There’s no one answer for ‘how often’, as this is different for every individual.
When trying to lose weight, it’s recommended to aim for at least three hours of exercise a week.12 However, this normally refers to more intense forms of exercise, such as running, for example.
Try and incorporate yoga within this, say 3-5 times a week. Many choose to do it every morning, while some take a full class in the evening. The choice is entirely your own.
As a beginner, start small and work your way up. At the start, even once a week will be an improvement on before, then you can slowly build things up.
Juggling a 9-5, family commitments and a social life (in normal times!) is hard enough – adding exercise into the mix can be tricky! Don’t be too hard on yourself. The more you’re able to do it, the easier it will be to incorporate it into your daily routine. Even 15 minutes a day can go a long way.
Power yoga for weight loss
Yoga itself can help you lose weight and stay healthy through the variety of reasons mentioned above. Power yoga is a completely different ball game.
It’s a much more intense, vigorous form of yoga. It’s something that beginners can work up to, after getting to grips with the basics.
One of the main reasons why it’s beneficial for weight loss is because it burns more calories than yoga itself.13 Also, if you prefer more high-intensity activities, you’re in luck.
Yoga tips for beginners
Itching to get started? Here’s a crash course in weight loss and yoga for beginners:
- Wear clothes that allow you to stretch (but stay on)
- Respect your body’s limitations – give yourself time to build things up!
- Worry about your own progress only, no one else’s
- Try and make practice a habit
- Breathe deeply into your whole body
- Be gentle, pushing yourself too far could cause an injury14
- Don’t be afraid to modify poses to make them easier
- Fueling your body properly will help you get the most out of it
- Don’t wear shoes15
Whether you want to follow along to a YouTube video or attend a class, these are some universal rules that can help you get the most out of yoga.
Don’t rely on yoga alone
Of course, yoga is just one piece of the puzzle when it comes to losing weight. You can’t rely on it alone, it’s an aid, not the be all and end all.
But, it’s an enjoyable way to increase your activity levels. Any small differences you can make now will add up and make a huge difference in the end.
Do what feels right
Incorporating exercise into your daily routine can take time, yoga is no exception. But, being more active is one of the simplest ways to kick-start your weight loss.
You need to listen to your body. Don’t push yourself too far at first; take your time. Build up your strength and flexibility slowly.
Also, remember, it’s not all about weight loss, there are many benefits for both your mind and body. This should help give you motivation on days where you might be lacking some!