11 Benefits of Yoga in Weight Loss


Most people consider weight loss with harsh dieting, frequent sweaty workouts, and gyms. But, what if I tell you that you can lose weight with just a few minutes of sessions on the mat?

Yoga is the best natural way of losing weight. While it may not be the most intense, calorie-torching workout. Still, it is a body-weight-based workout that involves different postures that engage different body areas in combination with breathing techniques.

What this means is, you are using your own body weight to provide resistance against your muscles.  This is what gives people who practice yoga regularly that slim, toned look.

Here are 11 benefits of Yoga in weight loss :

1. Yoga Can Help With Mindful Eating

Sometimes we can’t resist food. We know junk foods, oily and sweet foods help gain weight, but we can’t just help it and eat it anyway. That’s how our weight loss diet plan is always ruined.

But, with yoga, you develop mindfulness. And practicing mindfulness on your yoga mat can help when it comes to practicing mindful eating habits, too.

Mindful eating is recognizing hunger cues and limiting binge eating. So, you only eat when you are hungry and just the amount your body needs. It thus helps you stick with a diet or weight loss eating plan or make healthier food choices overall.

The research found that yoga has been linked to changes in eating behavior, specifically cutting back on dietary fat and adding more fresh vegetables, whole grains, and soy-based products.

Another study analyzed survey data from 159 women who either regularly practiced yoga or cardio-based exercise. Again, the yogis were significantly less likely to have disordered eating patterns than the cardio-based exercisers.

So, basically, Yoga helps to understand your body’s needs. So, you only eat the amount of food that your body actually needs. This helps in maintaining a healthy weight nor too skinny nor too obese.

2. Yoga Can Help You Manage Stress

Stress is a major factor that contributes to weight gain. It makes weight loss very difficult because it can cause cortisol to rise, stress-eating, and trouble sleeping.

Yoga is known to manage stress. Deep breathing and meditation are the cornerstones to yoga practice, which boost energy, improve mood, and lower stress levels.

A review published in the journal Psychoneuroendocrinology that analyzed data from 42 studies suggested that yoga was associated with lower evening cortisol, waking cortisol, resting heart rate, and cholesterol levels.

This helps in managing stress and preventing stress-related obesity.

3. Yoga Helps Build Muscle

Building muscle mass is another way yoga helps with weight loss and weight maintenance.

When we think of strengthening muscles, we have to go to the gym and lift that heavy gym equipment. But, you can easily lose your excess fat and have that toned muscles with some minutes on the mat.

In yoga, we’re using our own body weight as a form of resistance. Your whole body is working to keep you in balance, so everything gets a workout,

Think of holding your body in place in a plank pose. You’re using the muscles of the shoulders, core, hips, and legs to hold your body up. After coming out of a plank, you may flow into a Downward-Facing Dog pose, activating another set of muscles in your forearms, shoulders, and back. This muscle-building burns calories.

A review published in the journal Preventive Medicine that looked at 30 trials with more than 2,000 participants concluded that yoga could reduce the waist-hip ratio in healthy adults and body mass index (BMI) in people who are overweight or overweight or obese.

Other research has found that even slower, restorative yoga classes improved fasting glucose levels in people who were overweight or obese — a sign of improved metabolic health.

4. Yoga Helps With Better Sleep

Practicing yoga can help improve the quality of your sleep. Quality sleep is often associated with weight loss.

The research found that people who had proper sleep lost more fat than those who couldn’t sleep. Both groups limited the number of calories they consumed, suggesting that sleep loss harms body composition, including fat loss.

Yoga Nidra is a form of guided relaxation that you do lying down. The practice may help you to sleep more deeply and increase mindfulness. You can also set intentions during yoga, Nidra, which may help you to develop weight loss goals.

5. Yoga Burns Calories

While yoga isn’t heavy physical exercise that burns calories, certain types of yoga are more physical than others.

Active, intense styles of yoga help you burn the most calories. In addition, physical workouts help in burning calories. Ashtanga, vinyasa, and power yoga are examples of more physical types of yoga.

Vinyasa and power yoga are usually offered at hot yoga studios. These types of yoga keep you moving almost constantly, which helps you to burn calories.

While restorative yoga isn’t an especially physical type of yoga, it still helps in weight loss. For example, one study found that restorative yoga was effective in helping overweight women to lose weight, including abdominal fat.

A review of studies from 2013 found that yoga is a promising way to help with behavioral change, weight loss, and maintenance by burning calories, heightening mindfulness, and reducing stress. In addition, these factors may help you reduce food intake and become aware of the effects of overeating.

6. Yoga Helps With Digestion

Yoga helps to relieve digestive issues by decreasing stress, increasing circulation, and promoting gut motility.

We know that Yoga has a significant effect on our parasympathetic nervous system, and it helps with proper blood circulation. These factors are closely related to digestion and weight loss.

The parasympathetic nervous system mediates the actions of digestion. Gentle twists and forward bends facilitate the relaxation response.

Increased blood flow to the intestines seems to increase their motility (movement within the organ), and the external abdominal compression may affect the internal pressure, resulting in improved peristalsis.

With a combination of deep breathing, stretches that target the abdominal organs, and twists that massage our intestines, yoga is a great way to wake up and support organs for better digestion. Better digestion helps with weight loss.

7. Yoga Help Improving Your Flexibility & Mobility

Yoga increases your flexibility, strengthens your muscles, and enhances your mobility.

Many regular exercisers don’t take adequate time to stretch, so adding yoga can be a great way to increase flexibility while improving balance and strengthening those smaller muscles that you are likely not focusing on in typical workouts.

8. Yoga Lowers Cortisol Levels

Cortisol is the infamous stress hormone known for causing that unwanted belly fat around your midsection.

Increased cortisol levels lead to increased insulin levels, which leads to weight gain.

When you are stressed, it often promotes overeating and eating comfort foods that tend to be high in fat and sugar, leading to unwanted weight gain.

Elevated cortisol levels also cause less testosterone to be released, which leads to a decrease in muscle mass, which slows down your metabolism.

A study was done on 54 patients to test the effects of yoga on cortisol levels and depression compared to medication use. The patients who only used yoga as treatment saw significant drops in their blood cortisol levels compared to those using medication.

 9. Yoga Boosts Your Metabolism

Stress, fat percentage, and level of activity all directly impact your metabolism.

Yoga has a great impact on the adrenals, which are responsible for producing cortisol. When your cortisol levels are low and you aren’t in “fight or flight” mode, your body isn’t constantly in survival mode and doesn’t think it has to conserve fat for later.

The more muscle you gain, the faster your metabolism becomes, the more calories you burn, which is needed to obtain a calorie deficit to burn those stubborn pounds.

10. Yoga helps with PCOS

Women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) are more prone to weight gain due to the change in hormones and increased insulin levels in their bodies. Thus, they are encouraged to engage in daily exercise to help balance hormones and manage blood sugar and insulin levels.

Evidence suggests that the benefits of yoga go beyond that of reducing anxiety for women with PCOS to improving sex hormones and regulating menstrual cycles.

A study found that adolescent girls with PCOS who engaged in a holistic yoga program involving one hour of yoga daily for 12 weeks showed significant improvement in anti-müllerian hormone, luteinizing hormone (LH), and testosterone, even more so than physical exercise.

The girls who practiced yoga daily also saw improvements in menstrual frequency.

11. Yoga Helps in Reducing Depression & Anxiety

Depression and anxiety might lead to extreme weight gain or extreme weight loss. In addition, some people cope with their sadness by overeating which leads to extreme weight gain.

On the other hand, the medications may have side effects which lead to obesity. Yoga helps with treating depression and anxiety naturally.

Yoga helps in self-awareness and mindfulness. We know that depression is living in the past, and anxiety is worrying about the future. Yoga helps you to live in the moment.

The cortisol levels, a stress hormone in our body, regulate serotonin levels, a neurotransmitter linked to depression.

Yoga helps lower cortisol levels, thus reducing depression and anxiety, which ultimately leads to healthy living and weight loss.


Yoga is scientifically proven for weight loss. The breathing technique under Yoga helps in building mindfulness, reducing cortisol levels, and boosting your metabolism which helps in weight loss.

However, this doesn’t mean that you can drastically see the weight loss in your body after doing Yoga. The results are usually seen in a month but you need to be patient and consistent with yoga to get that desired result.

11 benefits of Yoga in weight loss

  1. Yoga Can Help With Mindful Eating
  2. Yoga Can Help You Manage Stress
  3. Yoga Helps Build Muscle
  4. Yoga helps with better sleep
  5. Yoga Burns Calories
  6. Yoga Helps With Digestion
  7. Yoga Help Improving Your Flexibility & Mobility
  8. Yoga Lowers Cortisol Levels
  9. Yoga Boosts Your Metabolism
  10. Yoga helps with PCOS
  11. Yoga Helps in Reducing Depression & Anxiety
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