Yoga physically burns fewer calories than traditional exercising like jogging or running. But because of the internal and external changes your physical body undertakes when you consistently practice yoga, you can find yourself losing more weight than when you perform more intense exercises over time.
Beth Lewis is an Associate Professor at the University of Minnesota School of Kinesiology in the United States (Kinesiology is basically a study of human movement, and the mechanics behind it). She has stated that regular yoga exercising tends to influence weight loss more than it directly causes it.
The regular weight loss you are familiar with is when you burn more calories than you consume. And to a small extent, yoga will contribute to your weight loss efforts in this way. But the spiritual and mental understanding of how your body works that comes with practicing yoga over time is what leads to a realization of what is causing your weight gain.
This changes both your energy intake and expenditure, and has consistently been proven to contribute significantly to weight loss, until your personal healthy body weight is achieved.
So while yoga can definitely help you lose weight and get in shape, do not expect the pounds to melt off as quickly as with some other forms of exercise. Remember that yoga was developed as a spiritual and religious practice, not as a physical exercise. Since yoga teaches you to breathe properly and achieve harmony in both mind and body, you can begin to identify healthier foods and habits which can relate to losing weight and fat.
And if you are one of those people who gets comfort from eating when they feel stress, yoga can definitely help there. Significant studies have shown stress levels plummet in veteran yogis and even beginning yoga practitioners that regularly practice this ancient mind-body cleanser.
Additionally, remember that there are several levels of yoga. There are those asanas and sequences which are more up-tempo and intense than others. Focusing on these poses and movements can cause your heart to beat faster, cranking up your metabolism.
Since yoga is a sophisticated tradition involving metaphysical, internal and external functions and delivering physical, mental and spiritual benefits, the improvements you will receive with regular practice are numerous.
And when you perform yoga 3 to 5 times a week, you will begin to benefit from the noticeable and mental weight loss benefits it delivers. If you currently live a rather sedentary lifestyle, any physical exercise like yoga will immediately crank up your metabolism, helping you to lose weight and making you feel and look healthier and happier.