Wondering how many calories you are burning on the yoga mat? Here’s a look at how many calories yoga burns, including different styles.
Yoga has become one of the most popular forms of physical exercise and movement for a variety of reasons.
Yoga increases range of motion, reduces stress, and yes, can also help you lose weight.
In this article, we will look at how yoga stacks up against other common forms of exercise in terms of number of calories burned, and also compare different types of yoga.
Let’s jump right in.
Calories Burned During Yoga
Losing weight can feel tricky as there is no one-size-fits-all approach.
There are many different factors that determine how many calories you burn during different activities. These include such things as intensity, duration, sex, and weight.
Generally speaking, you can expect to burn between 200 and 713 calories during a yoga session1.
On top of that, when it comes to burning calories doing yoga, there are different styles of yoga and each one will challenge you differently. Other factors include class length and the speed of the flow.
Just as an easy run on the road will burn less calories than going for an intense trail run, not all forms of running or yoga are equal when it comes to your energy expenditure.
Yoga vs. Other Forms of Exercise
There is no shortage of ways to shred and burn calories.
Whether you are into lifting weights, jogging, swimming laps, or hitting the hot yoga classes at the local studio, there are plenty of options for losing weight.
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If we take hot yoga, which is one of the best yoga styles for burning fat, and compare it to other forms of exercise, we see that yoga can hold its own:
- 90-minute hot yoga class (460 calories for men, 330 for women)
- 60-minute light to moderate lap swimming* (423 calories)
- 60-minute running* (606 calories)
- 60-minute walking* (314 calories)
(* Based on a 160lbs person)
Which Form of Yoga Burns the Most Calories?
To answer this question we need to examine different types of yoga more closely.
The following are five popular styles that are available in public classes, with the calorie listings per session and not necessarily per hour.
1. Hatha (164-227 calories)
Hatha is a term used for a general yoga class that is offered in the west. It is often a slower moving and gentle practice where you may flow between poses but will stay in stillness for short periods of time as well.
2. Vinyasa/Flow/Power (515-713 calories)
In these classes, many of the poses are the same as in a hatha class, but the movement is faster and more physically challenging.
When it comes to a traditional vinyasa class you will do movements in rhythm with one breath for the majority of the session.
3. Hot Yoga (330-460 calories)
Hot yoga is most often taught in a room that ranges from 32-40° celsius.
There are different types of hot yoga, but most consist of a standard series of between 25 and 30 poses.
4. Yon Yoga (50-70 calories)
Yin yoga targets the deeper tissues of the body, in particular the fascia. Poses are typically held for three to five minutes with very little movement involved.
5. Restorative (50-70 calories)
Restorative yoga focuses on allowing the parasympathetic nervous system (rest and digest) to activate while allowing the sympathetic nervous system (fight or flight) to decrease in its intensity.
During a restorative class you will perform restful poses most often using props such as cushions, bolsters, blankets and blocks to help support the body and remain in these poses for up to 10-15 minutes
Does yoga count as exercise?
“I haven’t worked out today.”
“But you did an hour of yoga?”
“Is that really working out though?”
This is a conversation I have had with my wife several times. She is someone who loves to go to the gym, hop on the bike for an hour of intervals and then proceeds to do resistance training for 45 minutes.
If this is your definition of a workout then it may be hard to believe yoga is one too.
The Oxford definition of exercise is; an activity requiring physical effort, carried out to sustain or improve health and fitness.
So absolutely, yoga counts as exercise!
The Bottom Line
A yoga practice focused on movement will require you to exert energy and is a great form of exercise.
The calories you burn in a yoga class are truly an added benefit to your practice.
Yoga will help you enhance your health and wellness by strengthening the connection between your mind and body as well as improving your self-awareness and focus.
What is the most effective exercise to burn calories? Simple, the one you will actually do.
So if yoga is something that you enjoy and will do consistently it is the perfect activity for you to burn calories.
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