Can You Lose Weight Through Ashtanga Yoga?

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This is a very common question that most people have before taking up yoga practice. This question cannot be answered in one word. Ashtanga yoga or eight-limbed yoga is a way to improve mental and physical health through postures or asanas and breathing technique. Traditionally, most people lose weight through burning calories from an intense workout. During the practice of Ashtanga yoga, you will have to work through a series of different poses in a continuous manner. So, it does not burn as many calories as running or aerobics. But, Ashtanga yoga can actually help you lose weight in a number of ways.


Firstly, an Ashtanga class goes on continuously for one to one and a half hours. During this entire time, you will have to practice difficult asanas that will strengthen your muscles. This will gradually change your shape and improve your muscle tone which will make you look slimmer. Therefore, even though you’re not burning a lot of calories, your body will change itself to make it look like you’ve lost weight.


Secondly, yoga also helps to train your mind and improve its focus and stability. It gives you greater self-control and creates a better link between your mind and body. This helps you to watch what you eat. Pair up your yoga practice with a healthy diet that will lower your daily consumption of fat and calories. Yoga is very helpful in improving mindfulness which changes the way a person relates to his or her body. So, you will automatically make better choices of food and only look for the kinds of food that is more nutritious and healthy.


Thirdly, a lot of people eat more than they should as a way of combatting stress and anxiety. This is a very unhealthy practice that can lead to obesity. Yoga takes care of your mental health as well as physical health. It reduces levels of stress and makes you feel more in tune with your surroundings. This can influence what you consume and change your habits.


Therefore, yoga can actually help you to lose weight if you want. But it is important to remember that Ashtanga yoga is not an easy practice and it involves rigorous training and difficult asanas. So, if you are extremely overweight and need to get in shape then you should probably start with a yoga practice that is less intense, like hatha yoga. Like any other exercise, check in with your physician before taking up the practice of yoga and inform your yoga instructor of any health concerns that you might have.


Here is an easy Ashtanga yoga routine that helps in weight loss. Repeat each for ten times.

  • Sit on your yoga mat with the legs outstretched and slightly apart from each other. Keep the hands on the floor beside you and stretch your spine to sit up straight. Now, move the toes of both feet forwards and backward with the heels and rest of the legs motionless. Slowly rotate both the feet from the ankle together in the same direction clockwise and then anti-clockwise.
  • Bend the right knee and clasp the hands under the right thigh. Straighten the right leg while inhaling, bens at the knee while exhaling. Do not allow the heels or toes to touch the floor. Repeat with your left leg.
  • Raise the right leg from the ground and rotate the leg from the knee in a large circular movement. The upper leg and the trunk should be completely straight. This should be done both clockwise and anti-clockwise. Repeat with the left leg.
  • Sit with your feet under your buttocks. Extend your arms forward and the hands should be open with the palms facing upwards. Bend the arms at the elbows and touch the fingers to the shoulders. Throughout the practice keep the upper arms parallel to the floor and steady and the elbows at the shoulder level. Place the fingers of the right hand on the right shoulders and the left hand on the left shoulders. Fully rotate both elbows at the same time in a large circle. Try to touch the elbows in the front and stretch the arms in all the directions.
  • Lie down on your back. Inhale and raise the legs, arms, hand, and trunk off the ground. Shoulders and feet should be up at the same level off the ground. Balance the body on the buttocks. Arms should be held at the same level in line with the toes.
  • Raise your legs together while lying on your back and rotate them in big circles. The heels should not touch the floor at any point.
  • Raise the right leg, bend the knee and bring the thigh to the chest. Raise and straighten the leg completely and lower the straight leg in a forward movement. Repeat with the other leg.




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