Many ailments or issues bring people to yoga. People frequently ask if they can lose weight by doing yoga and my response for them is the general rule of weight loss: you will lose weight when you consume fewer calories than you burn. Yes, you will burn some calories during yoga, but its not considered cardio, even if you are sweating profusely. In an hour of yoga, you may only burn around 200 calories. To put that into perspective, most PowerBars are over 200 calories. So you really won’t lose any weight by JUST doing yoga. But it can help.

How? As you commit to a regular yoga practice, you take the first step towards doing something good for your body and your health. Plus, yoga helps us to be more in tune with our body and its needs. In a class, you are spending an hour devoted to paying attention to your body and your breath, which tends to translate off the mat. When you are paying attention to your body and being mindful of how it responds to certain things, you may begin to find that eating too many processed foods don’t make you feel good. Processed foods (foods you can’t make yourself in your kitchen) don’t leave you with the energy or  wonderful feeling you have at the end of class. I can’t imagine that an Extra Value Meal sits very comfortably in your stomach through a 60-minute Vinyasa.

Yoga is a wonderful accompaniment to any weight loss plan. But it is not the end all solution. You have to modify your diet and eat better. There is no way of getting around that one. But if you are able to add cardio in (which can be as simple as 20 minutes of walking a day) you may find that you begin to lose weight. A regular yoga practice also helps to tone and strengthen muscles throughout your body. Because muscle tissue burns more energy than the equivalent amount of fat, having more muscle overall will increase your metabolism. Which will help you to increase the number of calories your burn in any given day. See the Mayo Clinic’s take on Metabolism and Weight loss. 

With a regular yoga practice, you begin to respect your body for the amazing things it does for you both on the mat, and off. Which may lead you to make healthier eating and lifestyle choices. So what are you waiting for? 

For more on unprocessed foods, see Chef AJ, the Queen of unprocessed foods. She has many delicious recipes that are very easy to make and good for you!