Is Yoga the Best Workout to Lose Weight?

by Jennifer Richardson

Yoga workouts can be great – but is it the answer to weight loss for everyone?

is yoga the best workout to lose weight


The most successful workout for weight loss is – the one you will perform!

For example, what is the point of knowing HIIT works if you can’t do it or don’t enjoy it?

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There is so much noise online about the best health solutions and what works the best.

And there is a serial offender in the advice department that keeps popping up – Yoga, meditation and mindfulness!

An ancient practice and now a billion-dollar industry, does it work and is it for everyone?

Current Obsession with Yoga and Meditation

You cannot escape it.

A prevalent form of advice that keeps coming up over again is the push to practice mindfulness, meditation and yoga.

These practices may be part of the answer for some people and circumstances. 

But yoga and meditation cannot fix it all.

Don’t get me wrong – when I do yoga I feel better, lighter, stretchier, and calmer (except when I injured my back once!).

When I breathe deep and slow, it momentarily slows things down.

Of course, yoga possibly is the answer for many people. 

We all respond differently to activities.

Some like trekking, others prefer swimming, and some, a fast run before work.

We cannot ALL be suited to yoga and meditation. 

Pressure to Perform

I am from the health field, yet I still feel pressure from the tsunami of advice recommending yoga and meditation as “must do” exercises.

News, medical and health, business websites, and even scientific papers consistently call on us to practice these routines to solve almost anything!

Did I mention, that it also happens to be a multi-billion dollar business these days?

(I realise yoga and meditation are two different modalities, however, they often get clubbed together).

For myself, relaxing with these methods does sometimes help me, especially in this modern-day ‘hustle’ life we have created for ourselves.

But it is not front-of-mind as a solution when a bill is due, a health crisis emerges, a job is lost, or a relationship breaks down.

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These are the things I need to address – life. 

Thinking I should be smiling on a yoga mat actually raises my anxiety.

And it’s hard to follow a weight loss regime you are not suited to for the long term when life becomes overwhelming with too many ‘rules.’

Yoga Cannot Fix It ALL

Despite the many claims about yoga it is not for everyone and cannot solve everything. (1)

The risk of listening to any advice is that no one knows one hundred per cent of the facts in your life except you

Your experience is the only one that matters.

It’s easy to go down a health and fitness ‘rabbit hole’ in search of the ‘truth.‘ 

Many of us endeavour to better ourselves and find what’s “right.”

A simple Google search will uncover thousands of articles suggesting yoga and mediation can result in a better life, mental wellness, better sleep, or more success.

But is any of this proven

Has anyone studied you to find out the effects on you

For example, a study saying mediation relaxed the mind of 76% of entrepreneurs does not prove that mediation was the single reason. 

Many people do claim that it was adopting mediation that was the thing that changed their life. 

They may be right, or, they may believe that to be true.

Were other factors considered? 

Perhaps the entrepreneur went to a good school, had financial security or just had a lot of experience and skill in their field, and this was the answer to their success.

It may not matter either way – if it’s ‘true’ or if people just believe something helped them (The ‘placebo’ effect).

It might be that people who favour meditation or yoga may already be the types who think a little more relaxed about life, and it’s their thinking pattern that is the real key.

One negative fallout from these assumptions is it could make a bunch of people feel bad that they forgot to get up early to stretch it out on the beach in the sunrise.

Conducting health and nutritional studies is notoriously challenging (2).

Not to mention the potential for biased claims from the business side of the booming yoga and mindfulness industries.

So, where does that leave the average person?

Find your Best Weight Loss Option

One thing is for sure – an incompatible weight loss regime will not be sustainable.

People stop their weight loss efforts when they do not enjoy it.

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Most people do have the time. It’s the lack of motivation and enjoyment that get in the way.

The elephant in the room with weight loss difficulties may be cortisol. (3)

Cortisol is a stress hormone that some believe is one of the most critical elements preventing people from losing weight.

Stress, modern living and illness can influence cortisol levels.

Some examples of other influences are:

  • Emotional stress
  • Relationship stress
  • Shift work
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Overwork
  • Too many carbohydrates
  • Infections

Now here is the confusion – many claim yoga and/or meditation saved them, improved their life forever, and lowered their stress. 

These people may well have found what they needed.

The problem lies when some yoga proponents suggest it is because you are not meditating that your world and health are out of balance.

But what if it makes you more stressed? You don’t enjoy it, but it is everywhere. So I should do it, right?

In this scenario, you are unlikely to lose weight doing something incompatible with YOU.

Perhaps it is the break from our hectic lifestyles that makes yoga work.

If so, flopping on the floor with a chocolate bar may do the same thing! (Attention Cadburys or Lindt – please do a study on this).

💡 TIP – You will know the right weight loss option when you can keep doing it for months.

Finding what YOU enjoy and can maintain for the long-term is the key to sustainable and successful weight loss.

See – Gym Free Guide for Working Men and Weight loss Exercises at Home for Beginners.


So, you can ignore the call to the yoga mat despite it recommended in almost every article on the internet.

Those that love it – keep going. Those that do not – you can stop.

I personally don’t want to spend part of my day emptying my head (especially when I worked so hard to fill it!).

Must-do lists and ‘shoulds’ work against some people and their health.

They can make you feel guilty at the end of the day when a list of unenjoyable, uncompleted tasks builds up.

Stress and guilt cannot be good outcomes (remember the effect of cortisol on weight loss?).

So get out the yoga mat – only if you want to.

Do what works for you – that’s the main message.



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