how effective is yoga for weight loss?

how effective is yoga for weight loss?

You’re here I bet because you enjoy yoga, or you want to give it a go, but one of your goals is weight loss. You’d love to make the most of your time, right, and not have to roll your mat out as well as running, getting to a cardio class and anything else you’ve been told is going to help you lose weight. The great news is… Yoga is incredible for weight loss! When we are consistent and looking after ourselves holistically (as with all weight loss initiatives…), it’s a powerful way to lose weight. All it takes is knowing how to make it work.

But how effective is yoga for weight loss, really…?

I get asked so often, ‘how effective is weight loss for yoga?’ and the answer is simple – very.

Yoga gets your heart rate up, it helps you to sleep better, it increases your ability to be mindful and it can be done anywhere. These benefits are all necessary and powerful ways to lose weight.

When we get better sleep, we’re better able to lose fat. A lack of sleep cuts the amount of fat lost in a diet in half. Yoga is an incredible way to not only help us to sleep longer but improve the quality of sleep as well, therefore making it more possible to lose weight.

Yoga also helps us to be more mindful. When we live mindfully, we’re able to make better life choices. A more positive mindset and an improved awareness of our moods and feelings, equip us to practice longer, eat more nutritiously and generally make choices in our life that improve our chances of weight loss.

Yoga can be done anywhere. When we don’t have to worry about getting to a class, or spending money on an instructor, or faffing about with parking and special outfits, we’re far more likely to stick with a goal. As yoga is so accessible and can be done in such a small space, it’s a powerful weight loss intiative.

Finally, yoga increases your heart rate! Yoga variations like HIIT Yoga, ROGA, Power Vinyasa and Strength Hatha are all forms of cardio which is known as a powerful weight-loss tool. Combine all the above, and you’re in for an effective weight loss journey!!

Helen Sian India showing how to do Side Plank Yoga at Home - yoga for weight loss
side plank – a powerful yoga for weight loss pose

How to make yoga for weight loss the most effective for you

There are a few things to make it most effective though, all of which you’ll find in this article. Consistency, mindfulness, good nutrition, an accessible practice, a motivational intention and the most effective types of yoga will provide you with an effective yoga for weight loss practice.

It’s important though, to have a realistic expectation of your yoga for weight loss journey. Are you wanting to see results in weeks? Or are you happy to see results in months? If it’s the former, it’s worth delving a little deeper into why it’s important for you to see results so soon, and whether it’s important for you to change your body healthily and not just for quick results. If you’re happy to gradually change and create solid healthy habits, you’re going to win in the long run as you’ll be able to manage these new habits with ease.

It’s true that you can use yoga for weight loss effectively, as you’re moving your body and getting your heart rate up, however, the results may not be as quick as a high-intensity workout done for the same amount of time. However, it’s a more sustainable way to lose weight as the strain on your body is less and the effects on your mind are greater!

If you’re simply wanting to tone up with yoga and your diet is in check, you’re pretty on top of mindfulness and you know exactly why you want to lose weight, most yoga types will help with that. If, however, you are looking to speed up the weight loss process so you can see results nice and quickly, and you can find the most effective yoga for weight loss tips below.

Nutrition

As with all fitness initiatives, if you’re wanting to use yoga for weight loss you need to make sure your body is well-fueled with the good stuff. Think whole foods, lots of fruits and veggies and some good protein. Without giving it what it needs on the inside, you’ll struggle to see much difference on the outside. To reach a goal of weight loss, it’s best to look at what you’re eating closely and re-jig if necessary. Track what is going in with an app like Lifesum (which I use) or MyFitnessPlanner to help your journey here. If you’re wanting to pursue yoga for weight loss, it’s crucial that you only fill your body with whole foods (with the occasional cheat meal when you fancy it).

Daily practice

Try and make yoga a daily practice of yours, whether it be 20 minutes or an hour. Get the mat out and get practising. Creating a habit is the most powerful thing you can do for your body, and it can take as little as 21 days to set it in place. Once you’re on a roll, it’ll feel weird when you don’t practice – much like brushing your teeth! Choose an amount of time you think you could achieve and build up from there. I know it can feel challenging when you’re really busy though, and you seem to be juggling everything under the sun. Here are some effective ways to build yoga into your life and get more from your workout time, it’s surprising what a small amount of tweaking can do to your motivation! Find out how to get more from your workout time here. Over in Yoga LIVE, we do achievable 20-minute sessions, much of it is yoga for weight loss focused. And if you struggle with trying new things and building habits, check out these key pointers to keep you on track.

yoga exercises for lower back pain - yoga for weight loss
kickstart your yoga for weight loss journey with bridge pose

Mindfulness

It’s so important that when it comes to yoga for weight loss, you keep your mind in a positive place as much as you can. Start your journey with a powerful goal. Start with why you’re pursuing yoga for weight loss, then go a bit deeper. Keep going deeper until you feel moved by your goal and keep that at the forefront of your mind.

For example my why goal looked a but like this:

Why?

Because I don’t want to un-button my jeans every time I eat!

Why?

Because I want a flat and happy belly

Why?

Because it makes me feel more confident and happy when I know my body is in a good place

Why?

Because I always get more out of life when I’m happy and confident

Why?

Because I want to make the most of life, and keep progressing forwards each day.

When you can unpack your goal it makes it 10x more powerful and motivating. Give it a go, and write it out somewhere as a beautiful reminder! And each time you practice, keep coming back to that goal. Repeat encouraging phrases like these whilst you practice and you’ll walk away feeling accomplished and proud. In Yoga LIVE each month, we focus on a mantra in the sessions to keep our minds happy and healthy too.

You can also eat mindfully to help your yoga for weight loss journey and become aware of what you’re thinking and doing when you eat and drink. This, combined with everything else will really power forward your yoga for weight loss initiatives.

Consistency

The quickest results when it comes to yoga for weight loss comes when we’re consistent. And the only way to make anything consistent is by starting small. If you’re brand new to yoga, start with 5-minute sessions daily and go for these 3 poses – they’re the best place to start if you’re short on time and not feeling 100% energetic – try them out right here. If you’ve been doing it for a little while, try 20-40 minutes daily. Give yourself a day off if you’d like, or try a slightly softer type of yoga on the quieter days. Consistency is key if you’re looking for quick results!

Most effective types of yoga for weight loss

There are gorgeous gentle types of yoga, like Yin or slow Hatha which are great for your quieter days, but they’re not going to help you on your yoga for weight loss journey. The types of yoga you want to target are the higher intensity variations that have more of a focus on bodyweight strength and will get your heart rate up. Give these a go as often as possible and your body will tone up within weeks!

Power Vinyasa

These flows will keep your body moving in mindful movements. It’s hard to overthink when you’re doing a power vinyasa session! The focus here is more on strength than it is deep stretches, so remember to keep your entire body active and your core strong! Flows like the ones you can find here are powerful moves you can do at home and are simple enough to stay consistent with. For yoga for weight loss flows, check this out!

Strength Hatha

Hatha is the most traditional of yoga variations and involves holding poses for a certain length of time. Try out the poses right here to get your yoga for weight loss journey going! They’re simple, effective, can be done at home and will leave you feeling powerful. Check out 5 strength Hatha poses here.

HIIT Yoga

Over in Yoga LIVE, we frequently do HIIT Yoga along with all the above to help those of us pursuing yoga for weight loss. It combines explosive yoga poses and sequences with proper breathing techniques so you can squeeze the most of your session with increased heart rate and powerful strength poses. To kickstart your HIIT yoga obsession (like we have…), check out these yoga-at-home flows!

ROGA

This is a relatively new kid on the block that explores the beauty of running and yoga! It combines proper breathing and moving techniques with the mindfulness of yoga when running. You’ll also find well established stretches great for easing runners muscles – another effective yoga for weight loss practice! Find stretches and motivation for ROGA here.

Be effective

It’s totally possible to lose weight with yoga if you do it the right way. Once you have these down, you’ll be feeling like the beautiful queen we all see before you know it! Remember the points above though, and when it starts to feel tough, revisit to make sure one hasn’t fallen off along the way. Together, they create a magic potion for effective weight loss. What have you found to be an effective way to lose weight, and how can you integrate yoga into your routine?

Yoga LIVE

To give yourself the best possible chance on your yoga for weight loss journey, join us in Yoga LIVE. We have a shared goal to look after our bodies and stay a healthy weight, so you’re surrounded by a community of women that support each other whole-heartedly. Come and give it a go, and let’s get you feeling beautiful in the body you’re in. For 2-weeks free and to find out more, head here.