This question comes up a lot in a yoga Facebook group I belong to. I also had someone ask me recent what kind of yoga they should do to lose weight - so I'm gonna answer this today, I think....I'm gonna try.
We live in a society where we want to lose weight quick and easy with as little effort as possible so we try diet pills, wrapping our stomachs in seaweed or plastic wrap, and drink some weird liquid that will supposedly help burn off fat. Yeah I've tried all of that stuff - except the seaweed and plastic wrap. Because the truth is, I was lazy and didn't want to give up the food I love. This was before I started yoga.
Yoga is more than just stretches and holding poses, there are several different types of yoga practices where some are more sweat-inducing than others. While there are actually Eight Limbs to Yoga, I am only talking about the Asana (postures) limb of yoga. When I talk about "Yoga", I'm only referring to the movement and poses. Ok! Moving on!
The way to weight loss is increasing that heart rate and you can do that with Power Yoga, Ashtanga Yoga or any style that is heavy with Vinyasa Flow (lots of movement, less pose holding) but I'm not sure if it raises your heart rate enough to see a significant amount of weight loss. You'll definitely burn some calories, gain flexibility, strengthen muscle but it also can relieve stress and calm your mind. I watch enough of the TLC show "My 600 lb Life" to know that a lot of weight loss struggle has to do with your mental abilities and gauging what your body craves. So yoga helps the mind, which will help you through your weight loss journey.
Everybody is different, and weight loss is different for everyone. Some people can do it with just yoga and a plant-based diet alone. I am not switching to a plant-based diet and I'm not gonna "give up" foods that I still love - #notsorry. Even though I currently practice Baptiste Power Yoga and sweat off buckets after every class, I know that I need more cardio than this yoga practice can provide so that's where the spin and boxing come in. I always hated cardio and never wanted to do it until I found something that is fun and keeps my brain engaged.
Can yoga help you lose weight? Yes! It is still movement and beats sitting on the couch for an hour, how much you lose and how soon? That all depends on the amount of work you put into your physical practice. But if you go deeper into your yoga practice, it can help you shift your eating habits and change the way you think about food. Your mind becomes more in tuned with your body and what it needs. Eventually, you may crave less junk food and more water, fruits and veggies. This continues to happen with me where I lose the urge to eat certain foods, it just happens organically.
I'm not here to say that yoga is an easy way to lose weight. Like with anything else, if you want to get real results that will last, you have to PUT IN THE WORK and stick with it for the long haul. You will start to feel the difference along the way and feel more confident about yourself. You might even become less concerned about losing weight and more about just feeling energized and healthy!
How Yoga Can Help You Lose Weight - Very Well Fit