How Many Calories Does Yoga Really Burn? January 30, 2017

Okay, so it’s been a long time since you have performed every exercise routine to lose weight. But the sad thing is, there isn’t much of a difference you can see. And so you have decided to practice yoga for weight loss.

Before you begin practising yoga to lose weight, you should ask yourself a question – Is yoga a good option if you want to lose weight? Here is all you need to know about calories burned in yoga.

The answers are a bit complex. But don’t worry! This post gives you the required answers in the simplest possible way! We do know that yoga stretches our muscles, increases flexibility, and helps in relaxation. But is yoga good for weight loss too? Read to find out!

What Is Yoga?

Yoga is a vast subject. We can call it an ocean of ancient knowledge. To understand yoga in its entirety would take an entire lifetime. So, it is best to stick to the most basic definition of yoga. Yoga comes from the Sanskrit word “Yuj” which means ‘union’ and is interpreted to mean the union of the body with the mind.

Yoga is an ancient Indian discipline and is not merely an exercise regime. It has a 2000-year-old legacy behind it which was chronicled by the Indian sage Patanjali as ‘Yoga Sutras’.

[ Read: How Many Calories Does Surya Namaskar Help To Burn ]

Different Types Of Yoga:

There are different Schools of yoga that practice different types or styles of yoga. There are more than 20 different types of yogic exercises that are being practiced around the world right now and some of them have been developed just a few decades ago while a few have always been there, so as to speak. To give an example, Power yoga, a more vigorous type of yoga which focuses on losing weight is a new addition, while Hatha yoga is ancient.

Different types of yoga require differing amounts of balance, strength, power and uses up different amounts of calories. And the basic, easy–to-do asanas burn less amount of calories than the advanced, physically taxing, and complex yoga asanas.

The next logical question flashing in your mind should be this –  So does the vigorous Ashtanga and Power yoga or ‘Hot’ (Bikram) yoga burn up more calories and fat? Let’s get to the facts and start by understanding the term ‘calorie burn’ first.

Calorie Burn While Doing Popular Exercises:

All of us know that the way to lose weight is by burning off more calories. The more calories you burn, the more weight you lose. But calorie burn is not that simple too. It is highly variable. Why? Because different people don’t lose the same amount of calories by doing the same activity.

Heavy people, for example, burn more calories because they carry more body weight and so do people with genetically high metabolism and people like athletes who have a higher percentage of lean muscle fibers.

The number of calories you burn while exercising is dependent on the exercise you do, your weight, and the time spent doing the exercise.

[ Read: Does Heat Yoga Help You Lose Weight ]

The Average Calorie Burn Of Some Simple Activities:

  1. Resting: You burn 1- 1.5 calories per minute. This depends on your body weight. Rounding off, it means you spend about 60-75 calories in an hour.
  2. Slow Walking: You burn 2-5 calories per min. while taking a leisurely stroll (about 2 miles an hour pace). This means you use about 90 – 225 calories in 45 minutes.
  3. Brisk Walking: By walking at a pace of 4 miles per hour, you’ll burn around ten calories per minute, which means 207- 450 calories in 45 minutes.
  4. Running: By running at 6.7 miles per hour, you will burn about 20 calories per minute. This notches up to around 855 calories per hour.

Calories Burned In Yoga:

An average yoga class lasts for an hour. Now, facts say that to get weight loss benefits, you must burn at least 800 calories in an hour. So, the yoga postures and exercises during the entire class must be as strenuous as running at 6.7 miles per hour.

That does seem like a tough task because most yoga asanas are interspersed with just lying down and getting your breath back (shav asana).

Yoga, on the other hand, has a number of cures for most of our modern lifestyle diseases. Because it works on the breath, it is perhaps the best thing ever discovered (after meditation) to control stress, anxiety, and sleeplessness. Study after study has proved that yoga benefits our endocrine, circulatory, respiratory or just about any other system in our body. It can be used as a cure for diabetes, heart disease, autoimmune diseases and even depression.

What Does The Research Say?

Research too pretty much points in the same direction. Independent studies that measured the metabolic rates of beginners at yoga found a calorie burn of 2.3-3.2 calories per minute. This is just about the same that one would burn while strolling around one’s neighborhood park. Just for your reference, to reduce 1 pound of fat from your body, you have to work off 3500 calories.

[ Read: Calories Do You Burn In One Hour Of Yoga ]

But What About The More Strenuous Yoga Exercises Like ‘Hot’ Yoga Or Power Yoga?

In ‘Hot’ yoga, people perform asanas at high room temperatures to burn fat and in more vigorous types of yoga, they perform more strenuous asanas with smaller breaks. But, do these types of yoga help in losing weight? Studies have been done, and they have found that vigorous forms of yoga like Ashtanga, raise the heart beat of practitioners to just about 30 beats/ minute over the resting heart rate.

Just to compare, a heart rate of just 30 beats over the resting heart rate is not effective for weight loss as this can be achieved even by doing simple chores like gardening, walking or cleaning. And hence, this minor increase in heart rate might be beneficial to your heart but may not help you lose a significant amount of fat.

Are you ready to burn calories with yoga? So your takeaway from this post should be this – practice yoga for better health and well-being, and not with just a motive to lose weight!

Of course, what good are beauty and a slim figure if you are not happy and lack mental peace?

Do you practice yoga daily? Are you aware of the calories burnt in yoga? What are the changes in your body that you have observed? Share with us in the comments section!

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