Yoga is not the usual go-to exercise for weight-loss. Hatha yoga, which involves holding poses for a period of time, will help build muscle and improve your flexibility. Ashtanga yoga, a fast-paced, flowing style, is more of a calorie burner, but you have to be very fit to last through a typical 60 to 90 minute class. Your current level of fitness, weight and eating habits will also have a role in the amount of yoga you need to do to lose weight.
In order to lose weight, your body must burn off more calories per day than it takes in. This leads to a calorie deficit, and the body will burn its existing fat stores in order to make up for the missing calories.If you consider that 1 lb. of fat is equivalent to 3,500 calories and a typical Hatha yoga class can burn about 298 calories in one hour if you weigh 155 pounds, you will be looking at about 11 1/2 hours of yoga to lose 1 lb.
Benefits of Yoga
Weight loss through yoga can be a slow process compared to other forms of exercise, such as jogging, swimming or aerobics; however, all activities have positive effects on your overall health and well-being. Yoga is a good choice of exercise if you have heart problems, epilepsy and asthma; suffer from stress and anxiety; or would just like a relaxing form of exercise. It can help to tone and strengthen your muscles, increase your flexibility and improve your posture. On a psychological level, yoga can help to relieve any negative worries associated with weight gain and poor body image.
Different styles of yoga burn calories at different rates. While you should choose a style of yoga that you enjoy, if your primary aim is to lose weight, you may want to look into Ashtanga, Bikram, Iyengar or power yoga classes, as these tend to be the more physical styles. Just be aware that in a Bikram class -- in which the room is heated to 105 degrees -- the weight you lose may just be water-weight. You could also try one of the many fitness yoga classes offered at health clubs, as these are more fitness orientated than traditional yoga classes.
Amount of Yoga
Most yoga classes are between 60 and 90 minutes long. As yoga is generally a low- to moderate-level activity, it is safe for you to practice every day. Aim to practice at home for about 20 to 30 minutes five days per week if you are new to exercise. You may decide that this is the right amount for you, or you may want to increase this to 60 or 90 minutes per day as suggested by some schools of yoga.