Is yoga a good workout?

The benefits of yoga for weight loss and 6 beginners routines

yoga for weight loss

Like anything, the effectiveness of your workout routine depends on the effort you put in and your commitment to it. Which for many of us, isn’t very much...

So is yoga a good workout? Absolutely!

The great thing about yoga is that it’s gentle, enjoyable, and can be physically strenuous. Because of that, you’re more likely to jump onto your mat for 30 minutes a day! Of course, whether or not it’s a good workout also depends on the style of yoga that you’re practicing.

While vinyasa, el ashtanga and hatha yoga styles of yoga such as yin and restorative aim to tap into the nervous system and calm the breath into a state of relaxation. This is what makes yoga accessible for everyone and every need!

It's all about what you want to get from your practice.

So, what makes yoga a good workout?

There are a few elements that make yoga a good workout - let’s have a look...

It's physically demanding

postura de yoga dificil

People tend to think that yoga is intended for relaxation purposes only and maybe as a gentle body toner. However, they’ve probably never been to a vinyasa class. vinyasa.

When we practice vinyasaWhen we practice vinyasa, we move into a new pose every time we inhale and exhale - meaning that you’re moving into a new position every few seconds for the best part of an hour (which could be more or less, depending on the length of your class).

That’s a lot of moving and a quick way to build up the intensity! And with the majority of us having spent the last 11 months on our sofas, I think that this kind of movement would be strenuous for anyone...

Pair that with the fact that you’ll be putting your body into positions that it’s not used to and you’ll quickly have created yourself a wonderful workout.

Even when practicing at a slower pace, yoga classes can be physically demanding when we practice movements that we aren't used to doing in everyday life.

perro boca abajo
Downward Dog Pose

Poses such as downward-facing dog, arm balances, and forward folds require us to put a certain amount (if not all!) of our weight into our arms. And if I'm guessing correctly, you probably walk around on your feet for most of the day.

So, although not technically considered an aerobic activity, yoga can have many of the same benefits as this style of exercise for improving health.

It’s easy to commit to

We all know that exercise is much more effective as a workout when we commit to regular practice. However, sometimes we run out of time to go to the gym after work, and last time I checked, it’s no fun running in torrential rain.

What I’m saying is that it’s easy to be put off of partaking in many forms of exercise. Whether it’s time, weather, an accountability partner backing out, or the costs involved, there are so many reasons that we decide not to exercise.

With yoga, there’s no reason not to practice. Even if we can’t head to the studio, we can roll out our mats in the kitchen and follow an online class for half an hour. And if that’s not available, you can spend some time getting creative on the mat and practicing whatever your body needs on any given day.

beginners yoga

All you need to practice yoga is yourself - of course, a mat and some stretchy clothes are beneficial, but really you could practice in your pajamas and never have to leave your house!

Taking part in a form of exercise that’s easy to commit to will make it much more likely that you set aside time to practice during your week. And with so many styles of yoga and different teachers to learn from, it goes without saying that you’ll never get bored!

The style of yoga

It’s important to take into account the style of yoga when considering whether or not yoga is a good workout. As a general rule, floor-based styles - such as yin yoga and restorative yoga - will not provide you with a good workout. Yin yoga is great for flexibility whilst restorative yoga is wonderful for those looking to de-stress - making them two great options for your rest days!

tipos de yoga

If you’re a beginner, a hatha yoga hatha yoga class can offer you a fairly good workout. It’s also the best way to be introduced to the movement of yoga as well as the names and how to practice the different positions.

When you’re ready to move onto something a little more challenging, why not try your first vinyasa or ashtanga yoga?  Estas clases conllevan un calentamiento y un enfriamiento suaves, pero la mayor parte de la clase se centrará en posturas de pie y de equilibrio que pueden ser bastante exigentes cuando se empieza, por lo que practicar Hatha yoga es una gran idea para empezar tu introducción en este mundo.

Another option is to turn up the heat on your practice. Lots of studios offer hot yoga classes as a way for students to gain flexibility, lose more calories (through lots of sweating!), ease stress, and provide a cardiovascular boost. It’s best to get to know your yoga practice before you head to a ‘hot vinyasa’ class as they can be fairly physically demanding.

The takeaway

Yoga can be a wonderful workout for many, especially beginners. There are many styles of yoga that are physically demanding - even for the gym bunnies that spend an hour training every day!

! If you’re looking for a workout from yoga, it’s best to opt for vinyasa or ashtanga yoga, but spend some time learning the poses and correct positioning by practicing a style like hatha yoga so that you don’t feel totally overwhelmed in a faster-paced class like vinyasa.

A yoga practice can be done from anywhere, so there’s no excuse not to commit to it. When you can practice on your kitchen floor in your pajamas, there’s really no reason that you can’t jump on your mat for a sweaty yoga class at least a couple of times a week.

Ready to get started?

Get started with this routine of 11 basic yoga poses for beginners or learn more about the different styles of yoga like Hatha, Ashtanga style and Vinyasatheir poses and their particular benefits.


Keira is a mother, certified yoga teacher (250h vinyasa +30h yin yoga), yin yogaand writer from the UK, now living in France with her partner and 3 year old daughter. She loves sharing yoga as a way to connect with your body and relax. 

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Disclaimer:  Consult your doctor or other medical professional before beginning any new exercise regime to see if it is appropriate for your needs. This site offers health, fitness and nutritional information and is designed for educational purposes only. You should not rely on this information as a substitute for, nor does it replace, professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you have any concerns or questions about your health, you should always consult with your doctor or other health-care professional. Do not disregard, avoid or delay obtaining medical or health related advice from your health-care professional because of something you may have read on this site. See the full disclaimer.

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