Yoga has always been more than just a form of exercise for me. It also releases stress and gives me greater peace of mind. Of course, improved flexibility, range of motion, coordination, posture, concentration and circulation are amazing benefits, too!

This week, I asked my Facebook community to share their views on yoga. I was surprised when an overwhelming amount said they don’t practice this ancient art, because they don’t think it would help them lose weight.

So, today, let’s dig deeper into this issue. TRUE OR FALSE: Is yoga a powerful way to burn fat fast? 

Maybe you want a quick answer to the question, “Is yoga a good weight loss exercise?” Like many questions in life, the answer is it all depends. With weight loss and yoga, it depends on the style of yoga you’re doing. There are slow, fluid classes that are more about stretching, and there are other classes that are more about power, speed, and strength. All yoga is beneficial to your health, your mind and your overall well-being, but which style you choose will determine how many calories you’ll burn.

If you’re looking to lose weight with yoga, here are 3 reasons why it’s a good idea to start today:

1. “Vinyasa Flow” classes burn 3 times as many calories as traditional “Hatha” yoga!

Since you burn calories in your sleep, it’s safe to say that all yoga styles burn calories. To burn the most calories, find a yoga class that focuses on strength, fluidity, flow, or power. Typically, these classes will be called “Vinyasa Flow” or “Power Yoga” and you’ll definitely break a sweat in these classes because you’ll not only burn calories, but you’ll also increase your heart rate. You can burn up to 597 calories in a Vinyasa Flow class, compared to 189 calories in “Hatha” yoga, a style that’s more relaxing and focuses on flexibility.

Beyond having great weight-loss potential as an exercise, yoga offers an important mind-body connection that is just what you need when it comes to dropping the pounds.

2. To reduce your caloric intake throughout the day, take mindfulness off the mat and into your life.

Research shows that the mindfulness side of yoga has a strong correlation with weight loss. That’s because the mindfulness that you practice in yoga is carried into your daily life. Managing temptation through good decision-making is easier when you practice yoga, because you’ll learn balance, confidence, and relaxation so you can be fully present in each moment and make decisions that are beneficial to your health.

The stillness of being in the moment helps you make healthier decisions throughout the day, especially when you’re faced with a choice like, “Should I have a brownie or should I have some strawberries?”

Most yogis also find that their practice develops keen awareness because of the mind-body connection that is created through yoga. Awareness is exactly what you need for successful weight loss – both to be conscious of when you’re full and to completely appreciate healthy food choices and the positive effect they have on your body.

Toned, lean muscles have a flattering effect on every body and provide a self-esteem boost as you travel on your weight loss journey. Yoga is an excellent body-weight workout that develops the muscle mass you need to fire up your metabolism.

3. To burn more calories after class, perform strength-training poses.

Yoga helps develop strength without bulk. Some yoga poses require you to hold your own body weight while controlling your breath. While you’re bearing this weight you build muscle in your entire body…from your arms to your core to your calves! Because you’re focusing on your breath, you’re less likely to be aware of the effort it takes to create those lovely muscles. But this is exactly why yoga has so many devoted followers – the muscle definition that seems to magically appear. This increased muscle mass will also help you move more efficiently throughout the day, which helps burn extra calories!

Have I won you over yet? If it’s weight loss help you’re looking for, yoga provides it and then some! It will not only help you lose weight, it will also improve your balance, strength, coordination, flexibility, cardiovascular health and physical confidence. Give yoga a try with my ReShape Weight Loss Program! With ReShape, you get access to all of my workout videos from yoga to pilates to barre to kickboxing!