I’m 97.2% sure I know what you’re thinking.
‘How can you possibly lose weight with yoga? Stretching, breathing, and omm-ing sure as shit isn’t going to give me the body of my secret #bodygoals vision board.’
Well, no, beginner-style Hatha yoga isn’t going to make you hit that summer goddess booty goal.
But it’s a pretty great first step, my friend.
There are many things that affect your weight and weight loss. Usually people tend to focus on the two most obvious ones:
- Nutrition, or what you put in your body
- Exercise, or how you move your body
When it comes to exercise, it doesn’t mean that you have to do hours of cardio on a boring machine to lose weight.
You need to find an activity that you love. Something that makes you SWEAT and gets your heart pumping.
And you can totally do that with yoga!
It goes something like this:
You try a couple of very simple, beginner-friendly Hatha yoga classes.
→ You dip your toe into more dynamic styles of yoga, like Vinyasa or Ashtanga.
→ You find yourself dripping sweat on your yoga mat, heart beating out of your chest, in a state of pure serenity and calm.
→ A tiny spark of obsession lights up inside you.
You do not have to do hours of intense cardio and exhausting workouts to lose weight and feel like the invincible, goddess-like creature that you are.
You can get just as sweaty with yoga!
Yes, you can breathe now. No more hour-long cardio sessions in a stuffy gym. You’re welcome.
Weight loss vs fat loss.
Let’s get technical here for just a minute.
When you want to ‘lose weight’ what you really want to do is alter your body somehow. You want to achieve a certain shape.
Maybe a smaller shape!
That means losing fat.
And sometimes fat loss doesn’t show up on your scale immediately. Bodies are weird like that.
As long as you’re eating at a small caloric deficit and moving your body in a way that really gets your heart jumping, you’re moving forwards. You’re making progress.
Do yourself a favor and stop obsessing over the numbers on the scale.
Either throw away the whole thing completely, or focus solely on the body fat percentage.
Switch your attention to how your clothes are fitting you.
How you’re feeling.
How much stronger you’ve become.
You got this.
1 | Yoga is a gentle starting point for everyone trying to lose weight
If you’re a complete beginner to working out, yoga is an amazing way to start. It doesn’t matter what your starting weight is.
You’re going flow from pose to pose with your breath and feel like a magical fairy on a field of flowers on a dewy summer morning.
Yoga is a low-impact exercise without any crazy, high-intensity movements. You won’t risk any damage to your joints or end up on the verge of passing out.
It’s also a body-weight exercise. You’ll be using your entire body with all its tiny little muscles, building your endurance, strength, flexibility, and balance.
Incorporating any exercise into your life is a big change if you haven’t been active in a while.
With yoga, you can take it as slow as you want. You can take a Child’s Pose and rest whenever your body tells you to, and nobody’s going to side-eye you or call you a slacker.
2 | Yoga is total body resistance training
We’ve already established that our goal is fat loss.
If you’ve done your research, you know that strength or resistance training is the best way to burn fat while making sure you don’t lose your muscle mass.
If you dread the flabby look, you’ll want to include resistance training into your routine.
Hours of cardio may burn calories but you’ll lose some of your muscle mass as well… which means you’re well on your way to Flab Town.
Yoga is a form of resistance training.
It’s a complete bodyweight exercise. There are dozens of planks and Chaturangas (yoga pushups) in every Vinyasa or Ashtanga yoga practice. You’ll work on your upper body and core muscles. You’ll work on your legs and that summer goddess booty.
And what can you do with all this superwoman strength that you’ve worked so hard for?
- You’re overall more physically fit
- You get more out of all other exercise
- You can practice challenging, advanced poses which gives you more motivation to keep doing yoga
- You’ll achieve a strong core that’ll alleviate back pain and improve your posture
- You’ll get stronger, build some muscle, and your body will burn more calories — even when you’re sleeping!
3 | Yoga will give you visible progress within days
My first ever yoga session was 40-minutes long and nearly killed me.
When I did the same routine a week later, I could see and feel a world of difference.
I was holding planks without having to drop down after 3 seconds! I didn’t have to take as many breaks!
I was feeling so much stronger and more flexible in my body.
And it had only been a few days.
That’s why yoga is so motivating for weight loss. The visible results are incredibly rewarding and the progress will motivate you to keep going.
4 | Yoga helps you treat your body with love
Yoga is love. When you drown your body in love, it will love you right back.
Weight loss isn’t just about being active and making smart choices in the kitchen. There are so many aspects that impact your weight.
Your stress levels, your sleeping habits, digestive issues or bloating, PMS and your period, dehydration. The list goes on!
Yoga can help you fix quite a few of those.
- It will lower your stress levels
- It’ll aid with insomnia and sleep issues
- Yoga can also help you with bloating and belly probs
With yoga in your life, it also becomes easier to make healthier choices.
Choices like… drinking more water, eating more veggies, getting to bed earlier, doing things you genuinely love.
Letting go of people or situations that cause you unnecessary worry or stress.
Being kind and loving to yourself.
So drown your body in love. It will love you back.
5 | Yoga helps you fuel your body right
Food is fuel.
When you keep your intake minimal and exercise on top of that, it’s easy to give in.
Suddenly you’re having a sugary midnight snack-fest in bed while reading Harry Potter for the seventeenth time. Besides, you just worked your butt off today. You deserve a little treat. Yeah, we’ve all been there.
When you practice yoga you start getting to know your body better. You begin to figure out what it really needs and wants to function in an optimal way.
All of a sudden, all the colorful fruits and veggies and non-processed whole foods start to feel right.
You don’t crave sugar or greasy take out quite as often.
It’s like your body was designed for healthy, whole, nutritious foods.
6 | Yoga keeps you motivated to move in other ways
Yoga increases your strength, flexibility, and balance, which means that you’ll get much more out of all other exercise.
It’s not a bad idea to include some cardio and weight training into your routine if you’re trying to get leaner! Variety keeps things fun and inspires you to move even more.
Yoga is great for weight-lifters because it allows your muscles to recover and helps restore them.
It’s also beneficial to runners and other athletes. They’ll benefit from the restorative, low-impact exercise and work on their balance and flexibility to keep their bodies less prone to injuries.
7 | Yoga helps with the mental side of weight loss
Remember how your stress levels have an impact on your weight?
Yoga will make it easier for you to deal with any anxiety and stress in your life.
It’ll also help you stay committed to your healthy lifestyle and help you fight cravings or disordered eating habits and urges.
The increased feeling of clarity and calm, especially if you struggle with anxiety or depression, is incomparable to anything else. The bad days don’t feel quite as bad as before.
It becomes easier to deal with negative feelings, situations, and your daily struggles.
When the scale won’t move. The pants won’t fit. Your progress is slower than you imagined. Your cheat meal turned into a cheat week. When it feels like you’re never getting there and you might as well just fucking quit.
Yoga will support you through your entire weight loss journey.
Honor your body and make time to get on the mat.
8 | Yes, yoga burns calories
When people talk about the benefits of yoga for weight loss, or how to lose weight with yoga…
They have a tendency to jump right into the mental stuff.
They say that any kind of yoga is amazing for weight loss because yoga will help you love yourself and accept your body.
But I want to emphasize how amazing yoga is to the physical body as well.
An hour-long vigorous Vinyasa practice should burn around 300 calories, depending on your size.
And no wonder. You’re flowing from pose to pose with your breath. You’re out of breath and sweating and your heart is on fire. Because you’re working your body.
Your muscles are getting stronger and leaner. You’re burning calories and shedding extra body fat.
And it will be visible in your body. You will fit in smaller clothing. You will feel lighter.
Are you ready to get moving and lose weight with yoga?
Your next mission?
To add yoga to your weight-loss, fat-loss, banging-body-shaping arsenal.
All you need is 30 minutes and some comfy clothes!
Don’t worry about your big belly, or how you can’t reach your toes, or do even one push up.
Who cares! You just need to get on the mat, have a great time, and get a little sweaty.
Check out this post for 23 FREE yoga videos for complete beginners to get you started!
Tell me: is yoga a part of your weight loss journey? Please share down in the comments!
Hi, I’m Vivi! I’m a transformation mentor, writer, and yoga enthusiast. My life’s purpose is empowering spiritually curious women to be and do whatever the hell they want to. I’m here to share my journey and truth with you — unapologetically, with a touch of sarcasm and a lot of heart. I want to help you grow and follow your soul’s desire, not anybody else’s rules. I write weekly about personal growth and yoga on this blog. You can join the List to receive a weekly letter of inspiration and guidance!