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Readers Respond: How Has Yoga Helped You Lose Weight?

Responses: 30


Updated August 15, 2012

Have you tried yoga as part of your attempt to lose weight? Did it work or not? Share your story about yoga and weight loss, whether positive or negative.


For two years i did not have energy to do anything. I felt like even breathing was a chore. I felt like a zombie. I would only breathe deep sad sighs. Big time existential crisis. But a month back, out of desparation to just feel good for one day in a healthy way, i looked up youtube yoga videos. I did it for 20 mins one day and OMG! I felt soooo good at the end. I did it again the next day and the next and let me juat say this- it breathed life into me. I am back on track. My mind body soul are all at peace. ANDDDD i used to be 175lbs and now a month later im already 162. Physical and mental benefits!!
—Guest Robin

Hot Yoga Therapy sessions

I tried running, tried weights, tried HIIT & sprinting (so hard! I mentally resisted doing it)..... finally after much deliberation I tried Moksha Hot Yoga. I resisted the hippy-dippy stuff & felt weird for a while.... but then something happened and I opened up to it.... all the positive affirmations, the climate of kindness and feeling of total acceptance took over and completely transformed me. The mind body connection was especially transformative. I started to really love my body (which I loathed for years) it was very emotional for me; letting go of all the awful thoughts about myself that had plagued me for years. I had been diagnosed with depression and ADD at the same time as i started yoga. I had suffered for years so I was looking forward to taking meds... turns out I never even needed them! I crave Yoga like I crave food & sex. I lost 15 lbs in 3 weeks so far and I look fantastic! Great butt, legs, arms, abs... my skin glows... Hot Yoga x5/week. It literally saved my life!
—Guest Louise

Worked for me

Started with ashtanga again 6 months after my son was born around 2-3 times per week. Slowly, the weight began to come off and I am now thinner than I was before being pregnant--I had about 20 pounds to lose. With yoga, I am less likely to have blood sugar swings, and I am also more observant about what I eat and how much--this has led to a decrease overall in what I eat. I also eat smaller meals more often because again, if keeps my blood sugar more stable. Eating big meals zaps my energy levels. I dont follow any sort of eating plan--moderation is all things is my mantra. I just listen to what my body says...if I am hungry, I eat, if not, then I don't.
—Guest Jennifer

To be continued

I am going to my first Yoga Class tonight. As my complete lack of any flexibility whatsoever makes putting my socks on only possible when I "help" one leg to cross over the other, and move my stomach to the side in order to bend over it, I feel no small amount of trepidation! Anyone with a big tummy knows exactly what I mean. I will let you know how I go. Everyone on this site seems to have benefitted enormously from Yoga, so I'll try to get past the first night at least. Sometimes it's just a matter of getting in the door and putting up with the indignity.
—Guest Judy

And You Can Do It All By Yourself

For the last 18 years (I am 38) I have been a running snob, either that or a bicycling snob. By that I mean those types of exercise dominated my life and got me to look and feel the best and so I looked down at other types of exercise as being not as "hardcore." Then my knees blew out one by one 3 years ago and I started the process of complaining, well, EATING and LAYING ON THE COUCH and complaining. But I thought yoga was a gimmick- I just didn't see how standing around and stretching was doing anyone's body any good. BUT, my body had lost its muscle tone and although I wasn't "fat" I was not in shape. After finally realizing I wasn't going to run or bike again for some unknown reason I decided to try yoga. All I did was turn on Exercise TV on demand and tried it. I was so sore the next day I was psyched! OMG it works?? I kept at it, about 45 min/day 5 x/week and after three months I look better than I used to when I ran 5 miles a day. Go figure - cable tv made me one ripped chick!
—Guest Shazz

Toning and Mindful

I began to do yoga seriously just a few months ago. I had been practicing Zen meditation and wanted to increase my flexibility and improve my posture. I have always been athletic, a gym rat, and maintained a healthy diet. Yet, I conversely have almost always also struggled with being slightly overweight. I began to do Power Yoga for 90 minutes, 3x per week and was immediately struck by how challenging the workout was. I had been used to running over 30 miles a week, biking long distances, and hitting the weights a few times a week as well, however I had never been so challenged by a workout. After five months, I have lost fifteen hard to burn pounds and trimmed my waistline. I am toned in muscles I didn't even know I had and I no longer go to the gym. Most importantly, I feel extremely healthy, energetic, and more aware of my body and mind. Though I still cannot sit in full or even half lotus, my meditation practice has been greatly reinforced by my yoga practice.
—Guest Andres

Round and round again

Yoga definitely works for weight loss. I have a very bad back so running became hard for me. I got to the point where my back hurt so much I had to sit down to put pants on because I couldn't stand on one foot at a time. I went to yoga the next day. I lost quite a bit of weight doing just yoga and one spin class a week, and my back stopped hurting. Then I went to graduate school and my yoga practice went away for 5 years. I gained about 85 lbs. which neither me or my wife is happy about. I started my practice again 4 weeks ago exactly and have gone down two full belt notches. So, yoga does work. Keep in mind I do 60 minutes, 6x/week, power yoga in a room heated to 95 degrees. But yeah, it works.
—Guest ben

Yoga is good for weight loss.

Many years ago I had gained 30 plus pounds. I followed a helpful and easy Yoga plan in a book called Richard Hittleman's Yoga: 28 day Exercise Plan and easily lost this excess weight in about a year (this book is available on Amazon and still sells well; written many years ago). Very good for beginners. 3 lifetime routines at the end of the book, you rotate them each day. I recommend tracking your loss my checking your "waist" measurement periodically, do not get caught up with numbers on a scale...go by how your clothes are fitting you...getting into new smaller sizes, etc.

oh yes it does

I was 40 pounds overweight when I discovered yoga. I did no other exercise. I did not choose a diet plan. Yoga made me more flexible initially which made me more able and willing to move. Yoga made me stronger which built muscles which burned fat. Yoga made me more at peace mentally so I did not tend to eat my feelings. Yoga made me more conscious of my body and as a result I found myself choosing more veges, fruits, whole grains, legumes in my diet. Not because it was prescribed by a health "expert" in a book, but because my body learned that this is what it wanted. Yes, one easily loses weight with nothing but yoga - I used the most gentle of all - hatha yoga.

With practice all things are possible

I have been practicing hot yoga for 3 month now. I go 6 days a week. I have lost 14 lbs and this isn't from trying to loose the weight. My body and mind are healthier than ever, and like some earlier mentioned, when I skip my class I feel a little sad. I love practicing yoga, and with practice I believe overall physical health, and mental health will continue to improve.
—Guest Aduhplayduh

Shaping my body thru Yoga

I started practicing Yoga, not because of fitness, but more because of the peace it gives me. An unexpected, and GREAT side benefit, is that is shaping my body. In the past, I did a lot of gym and aerobics, and I never had the muscle tone in the arms that I have now! :)
—Guest Andrea

yoga does help

I am a mother of 5 and work, so I dont have time to go classes. I went once to ashtanga classes, and loved it, so I bought a few dvds and started practice at home.I get up at 5am everyday, it makes me feel good for the rest of the day. I am 95lb over weight and lost 10 pounds in a month. Yoga is like a lover I miss it if I do not have it.
—Guest lili

Peaceful Weight Loss through Yoga

Through a yoga practice (gentle or other), you can become more connected to your body. From this place of awareness we are able to place effort into losing weight. Yoga is the "pre-work" for those of us who struggle with weight and food.
—Guest Anna

Weight gain & Stress...

Ironically, much of eating is emotionally based. We eat when we are nervous, bored or tired. Consequently, weight loss and the understanding of appropriate caloric intake can come best from a centered, balanced mind. Having the equanimity to pause before shoving food in one's mouth means less food or sometimes no food and putting one's feet up to relax instead. Weight loss through an increased heart rate addresses only part of the problem. In many instances, people are so stressed that they cannot even process food or digest their food. I disagree, therefore, with relying on power yoga and an increased heart rate to solve weight challenges. A more interesting question is why reach for a muffin when you can sit quietly and contemplate something soothing. Restorative yoga quiets the mind and encourages relaxation response. Power yoga speeds up an already heated and over-stimulated system. Resting in legs up the wall can quiet the mind and remove the desire to graze completely.
—Guest Nicole

Yes, But only When I was Doing it Wrong

I am NOT kidding on that one. Certainly, yoga used to help me lose weight. But that was a few months before a yoga studio's influence. I used to do it more frequently, too, because it had been easier—intensity was not an issue. However, I would not trade the calorie burn for the mindfulness, centeredness and the ensuing strength training. I don't miss having disproportionately skinny thighs ...

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