Incorporating yoga into your day is an excellent way to burn calories, promote mindfulness, and take time to focus on yourself. Weight loss is only one of the perks of a regular yoga routine. So, if weight loss is the focus of your yoga sessions, what type of yoga will give you the best results?
There are a couple of options, including Bikram, Ashtanga, and Vinyasa yoga. We’ll explain why these types made our list in the following sections, so continue reading to learn more!
What Types Of Yoga Are Best For Weight Loss?
The benefits of yoga are extensive, including weight loss, but some types offer higher calorie burns per session than others. Here are a few of the best forms of yoga for weight loss based on the average amount of calories burned per session:
Also known as hot yoga, Bikram yoga classes are far from easy. These classes take place in a sweltering yoga studio, where the heat is cranked up to 105 degrees Fahrenheit and the humidity level is between 40% and 60%. Between the heat, humidity, and grueling sequences, it’s no surprise that the calorie burn in these classes is high.
On average, participants burn around 400 calories in a single 90-minute hot yoga class. The class is designed to make you sweat, involving a 26-pose sequence that inspires an impressive muscle burn.
Also known as power yoga, Ashtanga yoga challenges you with an athletic approach to the practice. These classes are fast-paced and involve a series of sequential asana. With each repetition, the moves progress to a more complex level, challenging your muscles and inspiring an impressive calorie burn.
On average, participants burn between 400 and 550 calories in a one-hour session. This type of yoga is increasing in popularity, as its fast-paced approach keeps participants busy and on their toes as they work to keep up.
Also known as flow yoga, Vinyasa yoga is another calorie-burning option. Like Ashtanga yoga, Vinyasa yoga takes a fast-paced path through the class. Although participants keep a rigorous pace, the sequences are fluid and gracefully flow into the next.
The exact sequences vary from one yoga class to the next, although most classes feature Sun Salutations (Surya Namaskar) in some variation. Beyond that, the class may incorporate various heart-pumping moves to challenge your body. With regular practice, you’ll build strength, improve flexibility, and hone your endurance.
These classes can be incredibly physically demanding, so the calorie burn can be extremely high, even in one session. In a Vinyasa yoga class, most participants burn between 400 and 500 calories per hour-long session, but some participants can burn 600 calories in a single class.
Technically, Hatha yoga is an umbrella term that encompasses nearly every variation of yoga practiced in the Western world. However, there are dedicated Hatha yoga classes, so you might see them on your local yoga studio list.
A Hatha yoga class isn’t as intense as Bikram, Ashtanga, or Vinyasa yoga, as it offers a slower-paced approach to the practice. While you won’t see the impressive calorie burn on your watch after a hatha yoga class, you can expect to burn between 175 and 250 calories in a session.
This particular type of yoga is excellent for regular practice. Although most folks can’t handle a Bikram, Ashtanga, or Vinyasa yoga class more than two or three times per week, a Hatha yoga class is usually doable three or more times each week.
Is It Better To Do Intense Yoga Classes Or Relaxing Yoga Classes?
After reading through our list of the best yoga types for weight loss, you might wonder if it’s better to do intense or relaxing yoga classes regularly. The answer to this question is entirely dependent on you.
That said, most folks can’t handle more than one or two intense yoga sessions per week. So, doing Bikram, Ashtanga, or Vinyasa yoga every day of the week might not be feasible. Aside from that, it’s usually not a good idea to do these types of yoga more than a couple of times per week.
These classes usually burn a high number of calories, challenge your muscles, and cause you to lose water through sweat. So, after these classes, your body will need time to recover, refuel, and rehydrate. Because of this, it’s usually better to stick with one to three weekly sessions, as this gives your body adequate time to recover.
So, if you should only fill some days of your workout schedule with the most intense yoga varieties, what should you choose for the rest? We recommend incorporating one or two more challenging yoga sessions each week (work within your fitness level), then fill the rest with lower-intensity yoga varieties.
You could fill the rest of your workout slots with Hatha yoga, restorative yoga, or even Yin yoga. While they won’t cause you to burn through as many calories as the more intense yoga classes, they’ll help you keep working toward your goal.
Remember, only a small percentage of your daily calorie burn comes from your workouts. The majority of your daily calorie burn stems from your basal metabolic rate. You burn these calories while your body performs basic life-sustaining functions like breathing and digestion.
Your body burns these calories even if you lay in bed all day. So, while the calorie burn in your workout is essential, it’s only a piece of the picture.
Can You Lose Weight By Doing Yoga?
While losing weight using yoga is entirely possible, it’s only a small piece of the bigger picture. You can spend hours doing yoga, but if you don’t adjust other parts of your life to match your goals, you might not see the results you want. So, although yoga is important, other aspects are equally as important.
Adjusting your diet to match your goals is one of the most crucial parts of successfully losing weight. Your diet plays an impactful role in achieving your weight loss goals. Without a diet that reflects your health goals, it’s unlikely you’ll see the benefits of your hard work.
So, be sure to make changes in your diet to match your workouts. Prioritize healthy eating most of the time, incorporating plenty of proteins, carbohydrates, and healthy fats to power you through your yoga sessions. Although an indulgent snack every once in a while shouldn’t undermine your progress, failing to make any changes in your diet to fuel your body may affect the rate of your progress.
On top of focusing on a healthy diet, remember to stay hydrated! Dehydration can affect your performance in your yoga classes, so ensure you drink plenty of water!
Sleep quality can impact your progress toward your weight loss goals. Most adults should try to get at least seven hours of sleep per night, ideally between seven and nine hours.
Although sleep might not seem like a relevant piece of the weight loss puzzle, it can detrimentally affect your progress. It’s easy to use sleep deprivation as a crutch to avoid certain parts of your day – after all, energy levels are low! You might not have the energy for exercise, or maybe you decide to skip cooking and get takeout instead.
On top of that, if you find the energy to exercise, your performance might suffer. You might not have the “oomph” to push through your workout at levels you usually do, causing your progress to slow.
So, ensure you get plenty of sleep each night to promote solid energy levels and a non-groggy brain, as you’re more likely to make better decisions when running at full capacity.
Progress Over Perfection
For many folks, remaining consistent in exercise and dieting is one of the hardest parts of the process. We often start out strong, cutting out every “unhealthy” food from our diet in an attempt to lose weight. We power through our workouts, feeling on top of the world.
However, maybe you slip up and eat something “unhealthy” or skip a workout. At this point, it’s far too easy to fall off the bandwagon. We often criticize ourselves for slipping up and might automatically give up because we run into a minor roadblock.
We all experience lows at some point, especially regarding consistency. The key with these times is continuing onward. Set the mess up behind you and continue working toward your goals. You don’t need to be perfect all of the time! Strive for progress, not perfection!
So, if you miss a workout or opt for an easy takeout dinner instead of a healthy, home-cooked meal one day, there’s no need to worry! Keep marching toward your goals, realigning with your workout schedule and diet plan after.