Yoga for Weight Loss

How does the body lose weight?

The body gains and loses weight based on the amount of food (a.k.a. calories) it uses to metabolize to keep the body thriving. If a person consumes more food and drink than needed, the body eliminates the fiber and excess nutrients in the feces and urine, respectively, and stores the excess fats. In order for the body to lose weight, it must be under one of the two circumstances. One, the body loses weight when the food it intakes equates to less calories than the energy it needs to thrive. The second circumstance is that the body loses weight when the amount of energy it uses is higher than the amount of calories that it intakes.

Can Yoga Assist in Weight Loss?

Considering how the body loses weight we can look at the question of whether or not yoga can assist in weight loss. The answer to that is not a clear cut yes or no. First, a yogi must tally body weight, the amount of calories that he or she consumes daily, then subtract the amount of calories used during the week including the yoga practice he or she is following. For example, if Serena weighs 155 pounds, consumes 2,000 calories a day and practices yoga twice a week (a one hour Hatha Yoga class for a woman at 155 lbs will use up 298 calories) she will burn 596 calories of the 14,000 that she intakes weekly. Depending on her physical activity for the rest of the week, she may or may not lose weight practicing yoga. If she has a sedentary life, as most Americans do, working at a desk, driving a car and watching a few hours of TV each night, we can assume no weight loss will be realized. If however, if she lives an active life or reduces the amount of calories she intakes, we can assume that she may realize a stabilization of body mass, if not experience some weight loss.

The Real Deal

If you reduce the amount of food and drink that you consume compared to the energy you use or you increase the amount of energy your body uses above the the energy it intakes, weight loss will occur, with yoga or otherwise. Without knowing your weight, weekly intake of energy and use of energy, I couldn’t tell you whether you could lose weight using yoga, that is a very personalized calculation. What I can express is this: yoga is utilized optimally as a philosophy more than a physical practice. Within the context of yogic philosophy, one is on a journey to be connected with the self. A regular practice of yoga, tuning into the self, will assist in most goals in life, whether that goal is to trim down body mass, reduce stress, increase innovative thoughts or remain strong and flexible as the body ages.