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Yoga for Weight Loss

How mind-body awareness, stress relief and lean muscle make yoga a good choice for healthy living and weight loss.

There are many great reasons to practice yoga. But does yoga help you lose weight? The answer is: It depends. Here’s the scoop. 

Yoga burns calories 
Yoga burns more calories than, say, sitting at your computer or zoning out in front of the TV. And burning calories is key to losing weight. How many calories you burn depends in part on what kind of yoga you do. Power Yoga, for instance, gets your heart pumping to give you a cardiovascular workout, says Terrance Evans, a National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM) Elite Trainer. Regular yoga practice can also help build lean muscle, which in turn revs your metabolism. 

Yoga heightens your perception 
Yoga makes you more aware of your body. With this increased awareness, you may start paying more attention to what you put in your mouth and how it affects your weight. 

Yoga busts stress 
These days, who isn’t stressed? Thanks to the stress hormone cortisol, chronic stress makes it harder to lose weight and easier to gain belly fat. "Yoga decreases the stress response and inhibits the secretion of cortisol,” says NASM Elite Trainer Michelle Carlson. The result? Less tension—and a better chance at weight loss. 

Medically reviewed in May 2019. Updated in February 2021. 

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