Conditions & Wellness

Can Yoga Help You Lose Weight?

Yoga, particularly sun salutations, can get your heart rate up and tone muscle, both of which promote calorie burning.

Is one of your goals to lose a few pounds? Beware of overly ambitious goals like attempting a crazy starvation diet or vowing to run a marathon after months of sluggishness. These types of goals commonly, and not surprisingly, end in frustration and failure.

Yoga, with its gentle movements and slow stretching routines, sometimes seems more of an exercise in patience than actual exercise. However, it can get your heart rate up and tone muscle, both of which promote calorie burning. And stretching your muscles and working up a sweat help flush your body of toxins and extra pounds. “A lot of people look at yoga as a way to relax, but it can also be a powerful weight-loss tool,” says Rebekah “Bex” Borucki, a fitness and yoga instructor and host of Got Zen? on the Veria Living TV network. “By building muscle through weight-bearing postures, you will increase your body’s capacity to burn more calories in less time.”

Related: 3 Yoga Moves for Back Pain

Borucki advocates yoga to detox both body and mind. “Because yoga intentionally marries mind to body to breath, and advancing your practice takes focus, yoga is meant to serve as a tool to eliminate the fluctuations of the mind,” says Borucki. “Connecting breath to movement takes concentration, which in turn detoxes your thoughts. You also become more mindful of how you carry your body and what foods you choose to eat. You’re more likely to crave a salad than a burger after a good yoga class.”