Can yoga help you lose weight?

Can yoga help you lose weight? There’s plenty of evidence to suggest it can help with mobility, but there’s not much evidence to show that exercise is a real calorie burn. A study, published in the Journal of Physical Activity and Health (opens in a new tab), showed that a 60-minute Vinyasa practice burned fewer calories than walking on a treadmill. As such, it’s probably not the most effective workout style if you’re trying to lose weight.

There is some evidence that some people can lose weight through yoga, but the average healthy person won’t see significant changes. Keep in mind, however, that the benefits of yoga (opens in a new tab) are many, so if you have invested in any of the best yoga mats (opens in a new tab) worth hanging on to for now. Here’s what the latest research says about yoga and weight loss.

Can yoga help you lose weight?

A systematic review of 445 records, published in Preventive medecine (opens in a new tab), concluded that there was little evidence to suggest that yoga could have dramatic effects on weight in healthy individuals. However, the review notes that there were significant changes in body mass recorded for overweight people who participated in yoga studies. So the practice might decrease some people’s weight – but as with many exercise programs, it depends on your starting fitness level, as well as the frequency and intensity of yoga sessions.

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Research has also shown that yoga can lower your basal metabolic rate – the amount of energy needed for household functions in the body. If this rate is lowered, the whole body slows down and this means that the body needs fewer calories for its housekeeping functions. A study published in 2006 in BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine (opens in a new tab) found that basal metabolic rate was reduced by 13% in people who practiced yoga compared to those who did not.

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