Yoga can be very effective in promoting weight loss for several reasons. The mindfulness that yoga brings about helps to lower stress levels. Chronic stress causes the release of cortisol (our long-term stress hormone), which can lead to insulin resistance and blood sugar imbalances, which can impede weight loss. By lowering stress levels through yoga practice, a person may experience weight loss.
Also, since yoga includes physical postures, a person can increase muscle strength and stamina through continued yoga practice, as well as burn calories during their session. By increasing muscle tone, the body will increase its resting metabolic rate and burn more energy, even at rest.
There are several types of yoga – from restorative yoga where postures are mostly seated or lying down to power yoga or vinyasa flow yoga, which is much more vigorous. More vigorous classes, such as vinyasa flow classes, will certainly burn more calories and be more of a physical challenge. Therefore, these types of yoga classes will help people to lose weight. However, restorative or “yin” classes are geared toward reducing stress, which, as discussed previously, is often an important aspect of any weight-loss program. So, in short, a combination of both vigorous and restorative yoga classes may be a person’s best approach to losing weight with yoga.