Reader Question: Is Yoga Good For Weight Loss?

Reader QuestionsI got an email from a long time RWF reader, Jane, last week asking whether I thought yoga was any good for weight loss. It is in interesting question that I hadn’t really thought too much about before now. I thought I’d share some of my own thoughts and then open up the comments for all those who have done yoga to share their experiences.

Why Yoga might be good for weight loss

As I said, I haven’t really had much experience with yoga. I have tried it a few times but never done it long enough to know whether it would help with burning fat. I actually feel a little ashamed having been to India on an annual basis and never once tried it over there!

However, many of my clients and friends do yoga. I have also noticed that yoga is very popular with my mother’s friends who are all in their 50’s and early 60’s. All of them rave about yoga as being excellent for controlling their weight as well as keeping them strong and flexible.

The exercises in yoga (asanas) are quite challenging and many of them require a large amount of strength to complete. In a 30 minute session you might do a set of asanas that work your entire body; some targeting the legs and lower body whilst others work the arms, chest and back.

It has been shown that by working muscles and increasing muscle mass one burns more fat by increasing the metabolic rate of the body. This is the primary reason why I believe yoga could help with weight loss. Yoga texts also claim that some of the postures stimulate the thyroid gland which in turn increases your metabolism.

The reader experience of yoga
I would like to open up the floor to all the readers who have tried yoga and pilates and any similar style of exercise. Has it helped you with weight loss? What other benefits does it have?

About Katie

Katie has transformed her body from a flabby 186lbs, to a fit & toned 124 pounds through healthy diet and exercise. Katie joined the Lean Curves team in 2007 and has posted hundreds of articles on fitness, fat loss and healthy eating.


  1. Emma says:

    Without a doubt Yoga is fantastic for burning fat. I did it twice a week and noticed changes in my body straight away. The best notable change though was my bum got firmer. Not many other things have done this for me.


  2. tanya says:

    I’m on the fence on this one. While I think it’s great for toning, strength and flexibility, I wouldn’t say this is the best method for someone who is really overweight losing weight. That said, I don’t do yoga. Tried it and found it’s not for me.

  3. RT says:

    Tanya – I have to say I think I agree with you on this one. While I think Yoga is amazing for other reasons, there are better ways to lose fat.


  4. Bianka says:

    @Tanya – I agree. Did Yoga classes with a really good trainer, and while it helped recognizing my body and it’s functions better, it did not do much more than that. FYI: I am about 5″3 and healthy, not overweight and fit. Overall, I found Yoga didn’t do much for me. For relaxation- and breathing techniques it is brilliant, though!

    By the way, great site! I just came across it now by pure coincidence :-)

  5. Utchie says:

    Yoga for weight loss depends on what of type of Yoga you are doing. There is the Bikram Yoga and POwer Yoga that gets your heart pumping. Other yogas are focused on the poses and will not really make you sweat at all.

    I have been doing poweryoga/yogilates for a year. I have 3 to 4 dress size but only 15 lbs all in all (might be because of muscle gain) but I combined yoga with cardio. Just recently, i took my running seriously and was engaged with rowing and strength training, and most of the inches lost I may say is because of that.

    But yoga is the PERFECT SUPPLEMENT for all this. With yoga, I am able to breath properly and apply proper alignment during workouts, thus making my workout more effective.

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