During a yoga class, you’ll twist and stretch your body to complete a variety of poses. Although a beginner’s yoga class may not help you lose a lot of weight, it can still improve overall fitness. You may want to consider including several sessions of cardiovascular exercise per week to help increase your calorie burn and reach your weight-loss goals.
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If you weigh 155 pounds, an hour-long yoga class will burn about 298 calories. If you participate in an hour of yoga each day for a week, you can burn a total of 2,086 calories. Since it takes approximately 3,500 calories to burn one pound of fat, you can lose more than 1/2 pound per week with yoga alone.
The type of yoga you perform will affect how many calories you burn. If you participate in more taxing forms of yoga like Ashtanga or Power yoga, you’ll see an increase in your calorie burn rate. During power yoga, you move through the poses at a faster pace and you’ll participate in strength-building exercises.
In the book “Yoga Burns Fat,” the author Jan Maddern states that yoga can help you lose weight because of the physiological effects that occur after exercise. Purported benefits include the ability to aid the digestive process to reduce bloating and water retention and improved circulation to the endocrine glands that control a person’s appetite. These weight loss effects have not been scientifically proven, however.
Although you may not lose large amounts of weight during a yoga class, you can reap other benefits. According to "Yoga Journal," benefits of yoga include increased energy levels, improved posture, better flexibility and increases in range of motion. More research is needed into the physiological benefits of yoga, but it is a proven fact that body-weight-bearing exercise builds muscle which burns extra calories even when you are not exercising.