Can yoga help with weight loss and toning?

Posted on 25/08/2023

Wellbeing, Health

Yoga can be a valuable tool for weight loss and toning when combined with a healthy diet and regular exercise routine. In this blog we explain how yoga aids in weight loss and share which yoga types are best for weight loss, toning and building strength.

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Will yoga help me lose weight?

It stands to reason that any physical activity is good for us and can help us on our wellness journey, whether in order to lose weight or just to get the body moving and stretching to feel good in ourselves.

Depending on the style and intensity of the practice, yoga can provide a moderate to intense workout. Vinyasa or Power Yoga, for example, involve continuous movements and can burn calories, contributing to weight loss and toning.

While classes like Restorative yoga involve holding poses for several minutes to stretch the connective tissue around a joint to promote flexibility. This can be helpful when combining yoga with other forms of exercise in your weight loss journey.

Yoga enhances your range of motion, making it easier to engage in other forms of physical activity like cardio or strength training. It is also proven to help prevent injury in other sports and activity. 

You might not realise it, but certain types of yoga involve poses like seated twists which can help stimulate the abdominal organs, helping to improve digestion. Ashtanga or Power Yoga, involve continuous movement and dynamic sequences, which can boost metabolism and promote calorie burn even after the session.

Will yoga tone my body?

Yoga poses require engagement of various muscle groups, leading to improved muscle strength and toning. Poses like plank, warrior poses, and arm balances challenge and work different muscle groups, helping you achieve a more toned physique.

Regular yoga can help burn calories and improve overall body composition, contributing to a more toned physique.

Pilates vs yoga for weight loss and toning 

Pilates emphasizes core muscles, including the deep muscles of the abdomen, lower back, and pelvic floor. These muscles act as stabilizers for the body, providing a solid foundation for movement and promoting better posture. Strengthening the core muscles can lead to a more toned and defined midsection.

Pilates exercises incorporate resistance, either using the body's own weight or equipment such as resistance bands this can help build lean muscle mass. This, in turn, boosts metabolism and helps burn more calories even at rest. As a result, the body becomes more efficient at burning fat, contributing to weight loss.

How can the mindful benefits of yoga aid weight loss?

Yoga and pilates emphasise concentration, control, and breath, which enable practitioners to become more attuned to their bodies and the signals of hunger and fullness. This heightened awareness can lead to better food choices, reduced emotional eating, and a healthier relationship with food, supporting weight loss efforts in the long run.

High-stress levels can contribute to weight gain and make it harder to lose weight. Any physical activity is great to take our mind of daily stressors but as yoga incorporates breathing techniques and meditation, it can really help reduce stress hormones like cortisol, leading to better weight management.

To effectively use yoga for weight loss and toning, consider the following:

  • Practice regularly: Find the right balance for you but consistency is the key to see the best results.
  • Combine with other exercises: While yoga can be beneficial, incorporating other forms of exercise like cardio and strength training can enhance your weight loss and toning efforts.
  • Seek guidance: If you're new to yoga, don’t worry! All of our yoga teachers are focussed on ensuring you are performing poses correctly and safely, and will provide variations throughout so you can find the right level for you and move at your own pace.
  • Don’t rush it: It can be tempting with yoga, especially when practicing from home, to push the joints and the muscles a little more than we should. Consistent yoga practice will see you progressively improve and reach poses that you never thought possible at the start. The worst thing is to get injured and set your wellness journey back a step!

Why not try out these classes at G&G for your wellness journey: 

  • Rocket Yoga with Bex – You’ll flow through a series of standing asanas, seated poses and backbends, building strength and flexibility in the body. A strong style of yoga with challenging flows incorporated. This fast paced, continuous flow can be demanding for beginners, but perfect if you’re looking to develop a stronger practice.

    This class takes place at our Streatley studio at The Swan on the last Sunday of each month, from 11 – 11:45 am

  • Yoga Conditioning with Yana - Yoga conditioning builds strength, stamina, increases range of motion and improves aerobic capacity. From time to time you can expect to incorporate High-intensity interval training (HIIT) which is great for everything from burning fat and building muscle to improving your metabolism and heart health.

    Takes place every Thursday from 9:30 – 10:30am at The Swan

  • Aerial Conditioning with Suze - Aerial Conditioning helps you to develop a well-rounded approach to improve the condition of the body. Incorporating strength work, cardiovascular fitness as well as flexibility and mobility. We'll help you balance out areas of weakness so you can move with ease and strength in the air as well as on the ground. All while using the fabric to aid and support your movement.

    Every Friday from 9:15 – 11:15 at our Howbery Park studio in Wallingford.

  • Vinyasa Yoga with Victoria - Victoria’s vinyasa classes begin with balancing breath work which helps find a sense of calm and focus. Soon after, you’ll find yourself flowing from pose to pose in energising linked sequences. When it’s time to wind down, you’ll melt into deep stretches and cooling postures, and of course, find a final relaxation to ensures all those beautiful yoga benefits sink in.

    Every Friday from 9-10am at The Swan.

  • Beginners Pilates with Helen – Here you will learn the foundations of good techniques to allow you to progress to higher level strengthening. you will work in various positions to challenge your strength and control, you will learn to activate the deep abdominal muscles and incorporate the breathing technique that is important for the activation of the core muscles. You will also work the pelvic floor muscle and learn how to control movement.

    Every Friday at 10:30-11:30 at Howbery Park

  • Pilates with Rebecca - A mixed ability Pilates class that incorporates the classic Pilates fundamentals and principles. The lessons will be aimed at building core strength, addressing postural imbalances within the body, improving flexibility and balance, and increasing muscle tone.

    Every Wednesday from 12 – 1pm at Howbery Park

  • Vinyasa flow with Ellie - A vinyasa yoga class comprising yoga postures placed purposefully to direct breath and intention through a series of transitional flows to create strength, stamina and flexibility. The high intensity, but low impact cardio-vascular work will get your heart pumping and your circulation moving.

    Every Wednesday from 9:15 - 10:15am at The Swan

  • Yoga Conditioning with Ellie - A blend of Dynamic Yoga and conditioning exercises to work the entirety of the body with a full range of postures both standing and on the floor. Builds strength, stamina, increases range of motion and improves aerobic capacity. Great for everything from burning fat and building muscle to improving your metabolism and heart health.

    Every Saturday from 9 - 10am at The Swan