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Is Yoga Really Effective For Weight Loss?

By Ned Taylor

October 15, 2017

When I get hold of this Harvard medical report. I figured out that yoga is burning only 170 calories per session for me (according to report). Which was a bit confusing, as yoga for weight loss is being endorsed by many authorities these days.

I was definitely losing some weight and I was quite satisfied with it. But this report made me dubious.

Am I really losing weight because of yoga?

Or because of other lifestyle modifications, I have made like;

what to eat and what not to eat.

In any case, It does worth some research.

And here is what I found out.

According to Harvard Health Publications, a 125-lb person burns about 120 calories per 30 minutes; A 155-lb person burns about 149 calories per 30 minutes, A 185-lb person burns about 178 calories in 30 minutes of Yoga.

yoga for weight loss

Calories burned in 30-minute activities


125-pound Person

155-pound Person

185-pound Person

Walking: 4 mph (15 min/mi)




Golf: carrying clubs




Bicycling: 12-13.9 mph




Gardening: general




Child-care: bathing, feeding, etc.




Swimming: breaststroke




Swimming: general




Bicycling, Stationary: moderate




Playing w/kids: moderate effort




Stretching, Hatha Yoga




Which lead us back to our primary question.

Which is second best to babysitting (at least one gets paid to lose 178 calories.)

At this point, yoga for weight loss doesn’t make any sense. Because of very simple math that every overweight person and every dietitian do.

Which is something like;

Your overall weight (increase or decrease) is depended upon the calories you take and calories you burn.

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    If you are taking 3500 calories per day and burning 2200 calories (average calorie consumption on a day to day activities) you are adding up 1200 calories per day.
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    If you are taking 2200 calories per day (which itself require a very disciplined lifestyle) and burning 2200 calories your daily calorie balance is nil. Which means you will maintain the same weight.
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    And If you are taking 1800 calories per day (and you should get a medal of that if you are doing it in a routine) and burning 2200 calories per day. Your daily calories deficit is 400.

And on the basis of this math:

To burn a kilogram of fat, you need to burn 7800 calories. Which means you need to do 30-mins sessions of yoga for approx 50 straight days. With no food binging, no cheat day and no workout skipping.

And if your goal is losing 10 kg, then you have to do it for 500 days straight.

It sounds quite ineffective, isn’t it?

But these days every other person and his dog are promoting yoga for fat loss.

Does it really not work?

Actually, it does.



And do it brilliantly.



Well to be honest neither the math (about calorie in & calorie out) done above, nor the yoga itself is that simple.

Let me put 2 hypothetical examples in front you.

Let’s assume that if a group of people eats exactly same food with an equal amount of calories in it. (For example in a Jail, or a mess of a military base)

Do you think all the members of the group will have the same weight or same level of fitness?

Ok, what if they indulge in similar sort of physical activities/ training drills on daily bases.

Will they share the same weight/fitness level then?


The answer is no.

They will surely get some results for sure. But not identical, some will get better and some will get less significant results.

This is because; the math of weight loss is very complicated and unique for each individual. As there are a lot of other factors involved in determining how to achieve your ideal weight and fitness then just maintaining daily calorie balance.

Among 100s, some of the most prominent factors are:

  • Your genetics.
  • Apart from overall weight (Your body fat index, muscle mass, water weight).
  • Body Metabolism.
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    Eating and drinking patterns.
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    Sleeping patterns
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    Level of anxiety and depression.

And why you hear so many so many success stories of yoga for weight loss.

Because even if it is not the best type of workout for a specific reason,

It is the most sustainable type of exercise for weight loss.

And it is scientifically proven.

And why?

It is because yoga is the form of work out that not only burns calories in the form of active body movement. But it is effective in plenty of other factors which determine your body weight.

8 main reasons why yoga is so effective for weight-loss.

01. It is Sustainable.

Among all type of workouts yoga is unarguably the most sustainable for the number of reasons:

  • Less muscle fatigue; means less skipping of sessions because of body ache.
  • Less exertion; Less energy depletion. So no excuse for skipping for other essential household works, like laundry, mowing, etc.…
  • No equipment required; So can be done by spending zero $.
  • No requirement of being in specific place; So it can be done in living room garage, outdoor, bedroom even on the bed.
  • Due to its nature (physically and spiritually) it is more likely to get stuck to yoga than any other form of workout.

02. It Boosts Metabolism.

Yoga boost the metabolism which means whatever you eat would be consumed more efficiently and less will be stored within the body as fat, water, toxins and other types of unused carbs.

03. Good for Mindfulness.

Yoga makes you aware. Aware of yourself and your requirements. It makes you more conscious and less likely to cause impulsive decisions not only in what to eat when to eat how much to eat. But also how much to party, how to react.

In general, yoga serves as fence which keeps you away from the edge.

04. Great to Get Relaxed.

Scientists have confirmed that stress is a major contributing factor of weight gain in many studies. Apart from being an excellent workout it is also best remedy to relieve you from stress and mood swings.

05. Detoxification.

One of the significant side effects of being overweight is developing body toxin. This usually happens because in obese people vital organs such as heart, liver kidney stomach doesn’t not work up to the mark. And when they don’t work optimally they develop toxin. Doing yoga is an excellent place to start detoxifying your body. Yoga tones up the inner organs and helps them to work optimally again.

06. Control Over Emotions.

You have to trust me on that.

90% of eating is emotional.

The ones who have gone on any form of strict diet will certainly know what I am talking about.

To survive, we definitely don’t need Ben and Jerry’s Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Icecream, or an overload of honey mustard sauce. All most all of the time we eat what makes us (or we assume it makes us) feel good.

We can live without them too.

Yoga is best to make one discipline and controls their emotions.

Which leads to making better choices (choices which are right, not just feels good) regarding food as well.

07. Better Posture and Body Movement.

Despite being more in weight fat people tends to consume fewer calories. Which is due to their restricted body movement and posture. You must have observed them walking slow, sitting where they can easily stand, leaning where they can comfortably sit. Yoga is best to improve your posture and movement and eliminating such restrictions which lead to more body function and more calorie burn.

08. Muscle Conditioning.

In a body Muscle and fat operates in an inversely proportional manner in many ways.

  • While aging a human body tends to lose muscles and gain fat.
  • Muscle serves as a tool in the performance of body action. A heavier tool, better performance, and consumption of more energy.
  • Fat is storage of energy. Energy is more stored when the tool is not optimized and performance is low.

In short, better muscle condition less storage of fat in the body.

Yoga increases blood flow in muscles, conditions them to work optimally, so they consume for energy; therefore, less fat is produced.

And if you are looking for some more yoga poses and further guidance do check out our ultimate yoga assessment guide. As it comes with every thing, a yoga practitioner needs when practicing solo.

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    50+ Yoga Poses
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    The detailed set of steps to get into every pose.
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    Tips and modifications for beginners to provide extra help.
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    Assessment scale for every posture which enables the user to do a perfect workout every time.
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    10+ sequences to gains the benefits in every aspect of a daily routine.

You can check out our YOGA ASSESSMENT GUIDE™ by clicking here!

Thanks for staying till here.

To know more about yoga, please click, yoga and YOOOGAAAAA!

Take good care of yourself and


Ned Taylor

About the author

Hey there, my name is Ned and I am on a mission to provide you health and fitness advice that are rational (i.e. back by scientific evidence) and sustainable ( means practical enough to be incorporated in normal people's routines with busy lives).

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