If you’re looking to burn some extra calories and get in shape, don’t underestimate the power of yoga! Yoga is a superior way to burn calories in a short period of time. This practice combines flexibility, muscle strength, breathing techniques, and aerobic exercises to work out your entire body. Read on to learn just how many calories yoga will help you burn, how to increase this number, and how using the best yoga accessories in your fitness routine can maximize your results!
Yoga is Unique
Yoga utilizes several forms of exercise to give you a unique work out, targeting many parts of the body at one time. Yoga classes are designed in a way that focus on specific aspects of the practice. For instance, certain classes are better for flexibility, where others may be tailored towards strength training exercises or cardio.
Another big part of yoga is Pranayama, or breathing techniques. Yoga is special in its ability to combine several exercises into one practice. Some Pranayama techniques are designed specifically for metabolism boosts and calorie burn. Knowing how to use diaphragmatic breathing during flexibility and strength training can give you even better results. Similarly, flexibility poses can help build muscle and increase strength for more advanced poses.
Show Me the Numbers!
The number of calories that each yogi burns differs depending on their own metabolism, body type, and other physical factors. On average, an hour of yoga can help you burn anywhere from about 100 to 450 calories. This number may also change depending on the type of yoga class you are participating in, and how much effort you put into your poses.
Though it is nearly impossible to estimate the number of calories each person may burn based on metabolism and other bodily influences, we can see about how many calories each variation of yoga may help burn.
In the next section, we’ll talk about the types of yoga classes you can take, how many calories (on average) you may burn, and how using the best yoga accessories can positively impact your work out!
Types of Yoga Classes
Bikram vs Hot Yoga
Bikram Yoga is often referred to as hot yoga, though there are distinct differences between the two. Bikram yoga is designed to loosen any and all of your tightened muscles, by practicing yoga in over 100 degree heated rooms. One Bikram session lasts 90 minutes, giving you a lot of time to sweat and loosen up those muscles!
The main difference between this yoga practice and hot yoga is the type of poses practiced. In Bikram, the same 26 poses are used in every class, making it uniform. Hot yoga uses a variety of poses that can change from class to class, making it less predictable. In 90 minute sessions, you can burn about 330 calories. Though this is a longer class than others, (that may only be an hour) it’s still one of the higher-burning yoga classes you can take.
If you choose these types of classes, we highly suggest you invest in a hot yoga mat. The best hot yoga mats will be breathable and super absorbent. Regular mats don’t absorb sweat, leaving your mat slippery and dangerous to use. You’ll also want a mat that’s easy to clean after a strenuous (and sweaty) hot yoga class. A good mat will be non-porous, allowing you to wipe it clean after a session. This also avoids bacteria growth from moisture seeping into the mat itself. If you do find that you have a more porous yoga mat, be sure to do a hefty deep clean at least once each week. This will keep you and your mat healthy!
Why is Sweating During Exercise Beneficial for You? Since we’re talking so much about sweating, let’s discuss why this is actually beneficial for your body and health. First and foremost, sweating is an indicator of physical exertion. This means you are working your body in a way that it recognizes additional effort. By using more physical effort, you are in turn boosting energy levels, staying toned and maintaining a healthy weight, defending your body from sickness, boosting serotonin and dopamine levels—making your overall mood better, and encouraging good sleeping habits.
Aside from just regulating body temperature, sweating can also act as a bodily detoxification system. It has been found that sweating can detox your body of metals, harmful chemicals, and bad bacteria. So, the next time you find yourself sweating during yoga or other exercise, don’t be ashamed! You are on the path to a healthier life.
Hatha yoga is perfect for beginners. This class is slower-paced, allowing you to focus on your breathing and mental state. Though considered a ‘gentle’ form of yoga, you can still benefit greatly from it, and burn a pretty good number of calories in the process! Hatha yoga classes usually last for an hour, and you can burn between 150 and 300 calories during it.
Since this is considered a popular beginner course, it’s important to know what tools you should bring to your first yoga class! For Hatha yoga, you’ll want to pack a yoga mat and a hefty water bottle to stay hydrated. Balance is key when first starting yoga, so go for the best non-slip yoga mat you can find! Be sure to hydrate before, during, and after yoga class. Especially in the beginning, it’s important to adopt good hydration habits.
Speaking of burning a ton of calories…. If you are looking to do yoga for the purpose of losing weight, Ashtanga yoga is the class to take! These sessions combine strong breathing techniques with continuous movement. This is a more advanced yoga class that connects focused breathing to your yoga poses. Similar to Bikram, Ashtanga yoga uses the same series of poses in each class, so you can learn to memorize the class as you go. Since this class requires constant flow and movement, it’s almost guaranteed that you can burn between 450 and 550 calories in just an hour’s time.
Another great class for focusing on your thoughts and exercising your mind is Iyengar yoga. The goal of this class is to improve alignment and balance through precise movements. Unlike other forms of yoga, Iyengar poses are held for a longer period of time to improve flexibility. While you may not sweat nearly as much during this class as opposed to others, you can still burn some calories! You can expect to burn about 175 calories during an hour of Iyengar yoga. Remember, the mental stimulation you can get from this class can make up for those other calories! Improving flexibility will prepare you for more strenuous classes that burn upwards of 400 calories.
Iyengar yoga uses some of the best yoga accessories as props during poses. You may be instructed to use foam building blocks or yoga straps to improve flexibility. If you are interested in this type of yoga, you should think of investing in some of your own accessories to continue practicing at home!
This yoga class, similar to Ashtanga, teaches yogis how to connect breathing techniques with poses and flowing movements. Since breathing and moving is constant in a Vinyasa yoga class, high caloric burn is almost guaranteed. One hour of Vinyasa can help you burn 550 calories on average.
Don’t be surprised if music is playing during this class! An instructor may use this to keep the energy up in the room so that you’re motivated to keep moving. Each class generally varies in types of poses, and the amount of time between poses can vary among instructors. Be ready to stay focused and pay attention to the changing poses!
Tips for Staying Hydrated as a Yogi. In all yoga classes, it’s very important to know how to remain hydrated for the healthiest workout, and best results! Especially during a Vinyasa yoga class, which may seem non-stop, you’ll want to make sure that water bottle is available at all times. It’s suggested to have several classes of water per day—or about half of your body weight in ounces (i.e. if you weigh 140, shoot for 70 ounces of pure water each day).
As you continue yoga regularly, it may also be helpful to incorporate water in your diet in other forms. Eating water-based fruit more regularly can help keep you hydrated, alongside your pure water intake. Prior to a class, be sure to drink a good amount of water. Don’t overdo it though, because too much water and a downward dog pose can be a bad combination!
Hydrating throughout the entire duration of a yoga class may be the most helpful. This will keep your metabolism going strong, keep your muscles and joints loose, and avoid cramps from occurring. After yoga class, be sure to continue drinking water. This will reinforce the benefits of hydration, and encourage a healthy metabolism even after exercise.
Since Vinyasa yoga requires constant movement and a quick-paced series of poses, search for the best non-slip yoga mat for a successful session!
Ways to Increase Calorie Burn & Speed-Up Weight Loss
1. Hydration! Again, hydrating your body before, during, and after any form of exercise will help boost your metabolism. When your metabolism is running efficiently, more calories may be burned. An increased metabolism and good hydration habits will also help remove waste. This will help you to maintain your weight, and give you a better idea of how much of your weight is waste as opposed to body fat. Especially during Bikram or hot yoga, be sure to pack a large water bottle with your hot yoga mat to re-hydrate throughout your session!
2. Try out new yoga classes! As you have read, there are several types of yoga classes that can help you burn a different number of calories. These variations are also helpful for maintaining strength and avoiding exhaustion. When you’re feeling pumped up and ready to burn a lot of calories, try a Vinyasa or Ashtanga class. If you feel you need some more focus but still want to feel that burn, try out a Hatha class. And, when you’re feeling like trying something novel, hit that Bikram or hot yoga class!
3. Incorporate other exercises or weights in your yoga practice. Doing push-ups or crunches as a transition to new poses helps to build muscle and continue burning calories. Adding light weights will also work in similar ways. As you build up your strength, you can add more repetitions or heavier weights.
4. Broaden your yoga knowledge and practice by using new props or accessories. Iyengar yoga encourages yogis to focus on movements with tools such as blocks and yoga straps. Including foam building blocks in your routine can improve your flexibility, strengthen your muscles, and help you burn some extra calories with variations in poses!
While many mistaken yoga for a relaxing and effortless form of exercise, it should be known that it is so much more. Yoga offers unique muscle and strength building exercises, breathing techniques, flexibility exercises, and the ability to burn a bunch of calories in a short period of time!
As you have seen, many factors impact how many calories you can burn in an hour of yoga. Individual bodily factors can influence how quickly you burn calories, but there are ways to speed-up weight loss regardless of body type. Hydrating before, during, and after yoga will help keep your metabolism at an optimal level. Using the best hot yoga mats or non-slip mats can be a make-or-break during a yoga session, especially in different types of classes. Finally, incorporating other forms of exercise in your pose series can help you burn even more calories.
The next time you prepare for a yoga class, keep this guide in mind to get the most out of your work out!