1

votes

Does Yoga Melt Fat?

Answered on September 12, 2014
Created January 13, 2011 at 9:00 PM

Hi Everyone,

For those that do yoga or those that understand yoga, do you believe yoga can truly be a fat burning workout? I'm talking about an hour of pretty fast paced warm yoga. It's unlike any other exercise. I can't really understand the mechanics of it but I like that it's definitely not raising my cortisol like running.

As most here don't believe in calories in calories out thermodynamics I suppose that would support Yoga's effectiveness because its certainly not burning a lot of calories. I think a lot of it could be improved circulation, perspiration, and helping regulate hormones and I could definitely see it helping insulin sensitivity. Any thoughts?

Medium avatar

(3029)

on September 30, 2012
at 07:46 PM

"i think yoga for yogas sake is good for the body and good for the soul" Amen!

Fd70d71f4f8195c3a098eda4fc817d4f

(8014)

on July 10, 2012
at 03:27 PM

I've heard so many testimonials about yoga...almost sounds like a miracle cure for some people. But I always feel like a bull in a china shop when I try yoga. I am very *not* graceful or lithe. I feel *so* out of place in yoga studios, which makes me very emotionally uncomfortable, and I feel like that defeats the point...

32d2f8a41a121608d07aa68aa17991c7

(597)

on February 18, 2011
at 06:05 AM

Yoga is a weight-bearing exercise, though, so some strengthening happens there. I'm certainly more muscular when I'm in a regular yoga practice.

B3c62d89cd47b7d7209b6a99243d0ded

(10778)

on January 15, 2011
at 01:47 PM

I love ashtanga, I feel the most ALIVE after practicing that variant of physical yoga.

7e746be2f0e550a8cd7df881322ae705

(18701)

on January 14, 2011
at 02:06 AM

Hey. I got my aero press and I'm loving it. I lost the coffee bookmark somewhere. Email me? sherpamelissa at gmail dot com

Aead76beb5fc7b762a6b4ddc234f6051

(15239)

on January 13, 2011
at 11:53 PM

thanks, melissa!

7e746be2f0e550a8cd7df881322ae705

(18701)

on January 13, 2011
at 11:35 PM

I think it's a great answer. Your love for yoga really shines through.

Aead76beb5fc7b762a6b4ddc234f6051

(15239)

on January 13, 2011
at 10:12 PM

i agree! my father is a bikram instructor, and i agree with almost none of his yoga philosophy. there was a rash of middle aged overweight men having heat attacks in the parking lots of bikram studios- they were out of shape and went after new years to get in shape, but the heat combined with the extreme cold outside felled them! ashtanga is very challenging, and also very fun.

0bc6cbb653cdc5e82400f6da920f11eb

(19245)

on January 13, 2011
at 10:00 PM

Being alive is one long "fat burning" workout :)

0ee98c251b5eef357445aefec99c5d7b

(888)

on January 13, 2011
at 09:44 PM

How does it help regulate hormones and improve insulin sensitivity? (just curious) If it does, could it be because yoga makes you become more relaxed, less stressed? If so, I think it's not the physical movements itself, and that mindfulness, meditation or any other relaxing activity would achieve the same effect.

5ccb98f6ae42ce87e206cf3f6a86039f

(11581)

on January 13, 2011
at 09:12 PM

Hot yoga does, but then the fat all re-solidifies when you cool down.

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5 Answers

18
Aead76beb5fc7b762a6b4ddc234f6051

(15239)

on January 13, 2011
at 09:54 PM

yoga saved my life. yoga has made me stronger, more flexible, calmer, healthier and happier. yoga has enriched me physically and emotionally. i have a deep, deep love of the practice. as you seem to know, there are many, many types of yoga practice, and asana is only one of eight limbs of yoga. its the one most westerners focus on since we tend to be pretty physical people. many, many people turn to yoga for fat loss and exercise, but its not long before the other aspects and benefits of yoga become apparent.

i have been doing many types of yoga since i was a child, and i have found all of them to have profound benefits, but tend towards some styles more than others (ill take yin yoga over vinyasa! im firmly rooted to the earth, and its my nature to NOT move!). yes, i get a good workout in a vinyasa practice. yes, my days are better when i start with ten surya namaskara. yoga has made me perform better in all forms of movement. but, like another poster said, i dont know that it can really be qualified in terms of "fat burning". there are a lot of ways to exercise, and all of them have different advantages.

personally, i believe yoga to be the most beneficial of all the exercises that i have ever done, but not only for "fat burning". when my multiple sclerosis flares, gentle yoga is about all i can do. i cant even walk, but yoga is there for me. i do not think i "burn fat", but it saves me every time. when im grieving, i turn to yoga and its my life raft. weight lifting is not. when the seasons change, i turn to yoga. when im having a hard day, or a good day, or im feeling creeky, or im feeling fantastic, or im celebrating, i turn to yoga.

i do not do yoga to lose weight, but i do lose weight. i dont do it to get stronger, but i get stronger. unlike many other forms of exercise, yoga asama doesnt have such measurable goals- someone can benefit if they are in a hospital bed, or if they are an elite athlete. yoga is a lot of things, and such a constant for me and others who practice (i truly cant imagine my life without it!) that i just dont know what to say when someone asks if it is a "fat burner". i suppose it is, like any other form of movement, but it has so much more to offer that the fat burning is incidental.

i know this answer probably wont get a lot of votes, since its not really an answer, but i think the question is maybe a little disconnected? i think yoga for yogas sake is good for the body and good for the soul and you should do it and enjoy it and know that you will see benefits, physical and otherwise. maybe experiment with some other styles, too!

7e746be2f0e550a8cd7df881322ae705

(18701)

on January 14, 2011
at 02:06 AM

Hey. I got my aero press and I'm loving it. I lost the coffee bookmark somewhere. Email me? sherpamelissa at gmail dot com

Aead76beb5fc7b762a6b4ddc234f6051

(15239)

on January 13, 2011
at 11:53 PM

thanks, melissa!

7e746be2f0e550a8cd7df881322ae705

(18701)

on January 13, 2011
at 11:35 PM

I think it's a great answer. Your love for yoga really shines through.

Fd70d71f4f8195c3a098eda4fc817d4f

(8014)

on July 10, 2012
at 03:27 PM

I've heard so many testimonials about yoga...almost sounds like a miracle cure for some people. But I always feel like a bull in a china shop when I try yoga. I am very *not* graceful or lithe. I feel *so* out of place in yoga studios, which makes me very emotionally uncomfortable, and I feel like that defeats the point...

Medium avatar

(3029)

on September 30, 2012
at 07:46 PM

"i think yoga for yogas sake is good for the body and good for the soul" Amen!

11
4145b36f1488224964edac6258b75aff

(7821)

on January 13, 2011
at 09:20 PM

The idea of a "fat burning" workout is somewhat nonsensical. If you're sitting in your chair and you're eating a ketogenic diet you're burning fat. Actually, if you're sitting your chair at all, you're burning fat. In both cases you are of course also adding fat, and if your body is regulating itself properly and close to its set point/genetic ideal, then it should all balance out and tomorrow you'll have more or less the same amount of fat on your body. So when people talk about a "fat burning" workout, it's not like there are workouts that don't burn fat (they all do). They're talking about a workout that they, usually erroneously, believe will burn substantially more fat than another workout of equal duration.

Yoga is not going to "burn fat" any more than randomly contorting yourself for an hour would "burn fat". Your body will use fat for fuel and if you want it to use more fuel, you have to demand more from it; yoga, unless I miss my guess, does not require the same intensity as would running or lifting weights. So no: yoga is not a "fat burning" workout, since it's not really doing anything that would demand you burn more fat than other kinds of workouts.

You burn fat when your body decides to burn fat, which in a perfect world is when you have provided it with a sane diet and it tells you to eat less so it can burn off all your excess fat. Yoga may help in the same way any random physical activity will help someone who is untrained by improving various physical traits. But that's not a particularly valuable statement, since most people are more interested in how much more or less improved you'd be after yoga compared to something else. Yoga probably doesn't really stack up.

Not to knock on yoga too much, mind - I don't think strength and fat loss are goals of a yoga program, so not providing those things isn't a problem.

0bc6cbb653cdc5e82400f6da920f11eb

(19245)

on January 13, 2011
at 10:00 PM

Being alive is one long "fat burning" workout :)

32d2f8a41a121608d07aa68aa17991c7

(597)

on February 18, 2011
at 06:05 AM

Yoga is a weight-bearing exercise, though, so some strengthening happens there. I'm certainly more muscular when I'm in a regular yoga practice.

5
95f407502f92a7bc460e8f83652341de

on January 13, 2011
at 10:00 PM

yoga done in a hot room isn't very healthy. you can easily injure yourself (think how flexible and pain free you are after a hot bath) as well as dehydrate. External heat is just going to cause water loss. If you want to burn fat and toxins, try Ashtanga yoga, an ancient sequence translated by Sanskrit scholar and yogi, the late Pattabhi Jois. It is the greatest detoxifier and body strengthener of all yoga styles. Internal heat is generated by the incredible amount of effort required. Try it once, not only will it kick your butt, but you'll be dying to do it again!

Aead76beb5fc7b762a6b4ddc234f6051

(15239)

on January 13, 2011
at 10:12 PM

i agree! my father is a bikram instructor, and i agree with almost none of his yoga philosophy. there was a rash of middle aged overweight men having heat attacks in the parking lots of bikram studios- they were out of shape and went after new years to get in shape, but the heat combined with the extreme cold outside felled them! ashtanga is very challenging, and also very fun.

B3c62d89cd47b7d7209b6a99243d0ded

(10778)

on January 15, 2011
at 01:47 PM

I love ashtanga, I feel the most ALIVE after practicing that variant of physical yoga.

1
Medium avatar

on January 13, 2011
at 09:05 PM

If it reduces stress, I suppose it could have a beneficial effect, but I agree with Taubes about exercise being a counter-productive weight loss mechanism.

0
C45d7e96acd83d3a6f58193dbc140e86

on July 10, 2012
at 01:47 PM

Yoga isn't going to hurt anything, but I wouldn't use it as your primary source of exercise.

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