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Does Yoga Reduce Cellulite?

author image Luann Voza
Luann Voza teaches both math and science in an elementary school setting and physical education in a college setting. A former fitness-club owner, Voza has taught group fitness classes in step, aerobics, yoga, Pilates and kickboxing. As a bodybuilder, she held the title of Ms. New Jersey Lightweight Division Winner. Voza has a master's degree in exercise physiology and a doctoral degree in education.
Does Yoga Reduce Cellulite?
Does yoga help to reduce the appearance of cellulite? Photo Credit DanComaniciu/iStock/Getty Images

Cellulite, the unsightly appearance of body fat with a dimpled look, is the target of endless efforts to remove it. Cellulite affects women of all shapes and sizes, typically in the thighs and buttocks. Products and treatments promise to make cellulite disappear. Without scientific evidence to support these products, it may be the money spent that diminishes instead of the cellulite. A healthy lifestyle consisting of a proper diet and exercise, including yoga, has been shown to reduce the appearance of cellulite.


Your body stores fat between your skin and muscles for the purpose of insulation and protection of your internal organs. With weight gain, an excess accumulation of fat is pushed through connective-tissue fiber strands. The fat that is pushed has an uneven distribution or dimpled appearance that can be seen just below your skin's surface. This type of bumpy fat is known as cellulite.


Contributing factors for cellulite include age, gender, hormones, genetics, inactivity and stress. Women are more prone to cellulite because of hormones and the tendency to store excess fat in the hip and thigh areas. Cellulite affects women of all shapes and sizes, not just overweight or obese individuals. Additional factors, such as decreased circulation, dehydration and metabolism, are a result of an unhealthy diet and lack of exercise.


Methods such as creams, massage and laser treatments claim to reduce the appearance of cellulite. There is no scientific evidence to support these claims. Reducing the amount of body fat has been shown to diminish the appearance of cellulite. Cardio exercise increases metabolism, the rate at which your body burns calories. When combined with proper diet, the extra calories needed for energy are derived from stored body fat, reducing excess body fat. Exercising against resistance in the form of weights, body weight or gravity improves muscle tone and helps reduce body fat.


Yoga is a form of resistance exercise that increases muscle mass and improves muscle tone. Exercises consist of postures or poses placing your body in positions requiring muscular contractions against the resistance of your body weight or gravity. Lunging poses in a standing position strengthen your buttocks and thigh muscles. Twisting poses stimulate your internal organs, aiding in digestion and the removal of waste products. Inverted poses improve fluid drainage and strengthen your circulatory system. Enhanced breathing improves the circulation of oxygen and nutrients to your body.


Yoga can improve your physical health. Improved muscle tone and decreased fat contribute to the reduction of cellulite when combined with cardio training and proper diet. Yoga, as a form of exercise, is challenging for previously inactive individuals. First-time participants should consult a physician before starting an exercise program.

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