When I was a beginner to Yoga, I thought of it as just a medium for relaxation and increasing flexibility.

But did you know that Yoga can be as effective as any other form of exercise in burning calories?

The Beginner Yoga Poses that Burn Most Calories are:

  1. Surya Namaskar (Sun Salutations) Sequence
  2. Utthita Ashwa Sanchalanasana (High Lunge)
  3. Ardha Pincha Mayurasna (Dolphin Pose)
  4. Utkatasana (Chair Pose Variations)
  5. Kumbhakasana (Plank Pose)
  6. Uttanapadasana (Raised Leg Pose)
  7. Virabhadrasana I, II & III (Warrior poses)
  8. Purvottanasana (Upward Plank Pose)

The Advanced Yoga Poses that Burn Most Calories are:

  1. Chaturanga Dandasana (Low Plank Pose)
  2. Salabhasana (Locust Pose)
  3. Paripurna Navasana (Half Boat Pose)
  4. Bakasana (Crow Pose)
  5. Sarvangasana (Shoulder Stand)
  6. Halasana (Plough Pose)
  7. Dhanurasana (Bow Pose)

After doing some research now I know that even though the main objective of yoga is leading a more wholistic, meditative and healthy lifestyle overall, you can also lose weight through yoga.

How many calories can be burnt in 1 Yoga session?

In 1 single yoga session you can burn 160 to 600 Calories per hour.

Yoga Poses that burn most calories

And some yoga poses can help you to go up to the higher range if your main goal is to lose weight through yoga.

The yoga poses that burn most calories for beginners might be really easy for advanced yogis. And the yoga poses that burn the most calories for intermediate to advanced yogis might be very difficult for beginners to perform.

That is why it is better to segregate the two.

Read on to find out the right way to do these Asanas or Yoga poses, both for beginners and advanced yogis.

How does Yoga help to Burn Calories and Lose Weight?

1. You will burn calories during the yoga session
2. Yoga will help you get better sleep which is associated with weight loss.
3. Yoga reduces your stress levels and thus lowering the levels of cortisol being secreted. Research shows that lowered stress levels can help you lose weight significantly.
4. Yoga can help increase your mindfulness. Studies show that being more mindful will help you make better lifestyle and food choices which will definitely help you to lose weight in a consistent way.

Yoga Vs Cardio for burning calories

Cardio or aerobic forms of workout are widely used for weight loss and rightly so because their primary aim is to burn calories so that you can lose weight.

Yoga, as we know, is primarily focussed towards a holistic and healthier approach towards life rather than just being focussed on losing weight.

Is yoga better than cardio for losing weight?

Yes, because yoga has a holistic approach to leading an overall healthy life. Through cardio, you will be burning calories only during the session. However, with yoga, you will also have more mindful eating habits, be less stressful, have better sleep all of which will help you to lose weight in a more consistent way.

Beginner Yoga Poses that burn most Calories

Here are some yoga poses for beginners that will help you lose weight quick:

1. Surya Namaskar (Sun Salutations) Sequence

Surya Namaskar or the sun salutation sequence is one of the best forms of cardiovascular exercises. It is perfect for all you beginners who may find yoga overwhelming to begin with.

Surya namaskars are simple, effective, energizing and relaxing all at the same time.

2. Utthita Ashwa Sanchalanasana (High Lunge)

Yoga Poses that burn most calories
  • For doing the high lunge pose, start on all your fours with your hands and knees on the floor. Then gently lift your right foot and place it between both your palms with your knee directly over your ankle.
  • Then lift up your torso and place your hands together up in the air. Press your chest forward and roll your shoulders back.
  • Following that, press your left heel on the floor and sink your hips down as much as possible.
  • Hold this pose for 5 to 10 deep breaths and then come back to starting position.
  • Repeat this on both sides alternatively for about 2 to 3 mins.

3. Ardha Pincha Mayurasna (Dolphin Pose)

Yoga Poses that burn most calories
  • For doing the dolphin pose, start with your hands and knees on the floor. Align your knees directly under your hips and place your forearms completely on the mat.
  • Then exhale and lift your knees off the mat and press your sit bone towards the ceiling. Do not lock your knees.
  • Hold your head between your upper arms and firm your shoulder blades. Keep your back straight and neck neutral.
  • Hold this for about 30 to 40 secs and repeat this 3 to 5 times.

4. Utkatasana (Chair Pose Variations)

Yoga Poses that burn most calories
  • Utkatasana is a classic squatting pose where you position yourself as if you are sitting on a chair
  • Place your knees hip-width apart and bend your knees till your thighs are almost parallel to the floor
  • Press down your heels and make sure your knees do not go further than your toes
  • Raise both your hands and hold this pose for 10 breaths 
  • Repeat this for 2 to 3 times
  • Do not forget to keep your back and shoulder blades straightened throughout.
  • You may try other variations of Chair pose like Chair pose twist, one-legged Chair pose, Dynamic Chair pose and others.

5. Kumbhakasana (Plank Pose)

Yoga Poses that burn most calories
  • To begin, start with your hands and knees on the mat. Press your palms on the floor and with an exhale, slide your toes back and lift your knees off the mat.
  • Your whole body should be straight and should look like a plank. Do not dip your lower back or bring it up. 
  • Hold this plank pose for 5 deep breaths and repeat it for 2 to 3 times.
  • If this is too difficult for you, you may try Makara Adho Mukha Svanasana (Dolphin Plank Pose) which is the same as above except that you place your forearms fully on the mat.

6. Uttanapadasana (Raised Leg Pose)

  • Start by lying down with your back on the floor, hands by your sides with palms facing down.
  • Inhale and lift both your legs above the ground till you form a 45 to 60-degree angle with the floor.
  • Hold here for 20 to 30 secs and bring your legs back to starting position.
  • Repeat this for 3 to 5 times.
  • For an easier version, you may bend your knees slightly. You will definitely find this easier.

7. Virabhadrasana I, II & III (Warrior poses)

8. Purvottanasana (Upward Plank Pose)

Yoga Poses that burn most calories
  • For the upward plank pose, start in Dandasana (staff pose) where you are sitting on the ground with your torso straight and legs straight and extended forwards.
  • Place your hands behind your hips with your fingers facing the forward direction.
  • Bend your knees and press your feet on the floor.
  • Exhale and bring your hips upwards to form a reverse or upward plank pose. Straighten your legs one by one.
  • Hold this for 10 to 30 secs as long as you can without losing form. Then come back to starting position. Repeat this for 3 to 5 times to get a good burn in your whole body.

Advanced Yoga Poses that burn most Calories

Here are some yoga poses for intermediate and advanced practitioners that will help you burn most calories and make you stronger:

1. Chaturanga Dandasana (Low Plank Pose)

Yoga Poses that burn most calories
  • For performing the low plank pose, start with Kumbhakasana or the plank pose, then with an exhale, gently lower your torso till you are only a few inches above the floor.
  • Keep your torso and legs almost parallel to the floor.
  • Do not dip your hips or stick it upwards.
  • Try to balance this for about 20 to 30 secs or as long as possible.
  • Repeat this for 2 to 3 times. This should definitely get you sweating.

2. Salabhasana (Locust Pose)

Yoga Poses that burn most calories
  • For doing Salabhasana or the locust pose, start by lying down on your abdomen with your hands by your sides.
  • With an inhale, lift your torso and your legs simultaneously. Lift your legs and thighs as high as you can without bending your knees.
  • Rest on your abdomen and lower ribs and take deep breaths.
  • Hold this for about 30 to 40 secs and repeat for 3 to 5 times.
  • Remember to use your back muscles to lift your upper body and your thighs to lift your lower body.
  • Your whole body will be engaged in this pose and hence you are bound to burn a lot of calories in this pose.

3. Paripurna Navasana (Boat Pose)

Yoga Poses that burn most calories
  • Start by sitting on the mat with your legs extended and place your hands behind your hips pressed firmly on the floor and finger facing forward.
  • Then move your torso back while keeping your back straight. Try to lengthen your torso as much as possible.
  • Then lift both your feet off the floor and bring it up so that your legs form a 45-degree angle with the floor. Try not to bend your knees.
  • If possible lift your hands from behind and keep it parallel to the floor.
  • Try to balance this pose for about 20 to 40 secs and repeat 2 to 3 times.

4. Bakasana (Crow Pose)

Bakasana requires immense upper body strength as you will balance your whole body on your arms and shoulders.

5. Sarvangasana (Shoulder Stand)

Sarvangasana is one of the most difficult poses and if done with correct form, has numerous benefits. You will burn the most amount of calories doing this pose.

6. Halasana (Plough Pose)

For doing Halasana or the plough pose, you start with Sarvangasana or shoulder stand, bend through your hip joint and bring your legs backwards beyond your head.

7. Dhanurasana (Bow Pose)

Yoga Poses that burn most calories
  • Lie on your abdomen with your hands by your side. Exhale and bring your knees backwards and simultaneously lift your torso.
  • Hold your ankles with your hands. Keep your knees hip-width apart.
  • With an inhale, lift your thighs off the mat and take deep breaths. Do not hold your breath.
  • Hold this pose for 30 to 40 secs and then repeat the same 3 to 4 times.

Sources

Which beginner yoga poses burn most calories?

1. Surya Namaskar (Sun Salutations) Sequence
2. Utthita Ashwa Sanchalanasana (High Lunge)
3. Ardha Pincha Mayurasna (Dolphin Pose)
4. Utkatasana (Chair Pose Variations)
5. Kumbhakasana (Plank Pose)
6. Uttanapadasana (Raised Leg Pose)
7. Virabhadrasana I, II & III (Warrior poses)
8. Purvottanasana (Upward Plank Pose)

Which advanced yoga poses burn most calories?

1. Chaturanga Dandasana (Low Plank Pose)
2. Salabhasana (Locust Pose)
3. Paripurna Navasana (Half Boat Pose)
4. Bakasana (Crow Pose)
5. Sarvangasana (Shoulder Stand)
6. Halasana (Plough Pose)
7. Dhanurasana (Bow Pose)

How does Yoga help to Burn Calories and Lose Weight?

1. You will burn calories during the yoga session
2. Yoga will help you get better sleep which is associated with weight loss.
3. Yoga reduces your stress levels and thus lowering the levels of cortisol being secreted. Research shows that lowered stress levels can help you lose weight significantly.
4. Yoga can help increase your mindfulness. Studies show that being more mindful will help you make better lifestyle and food choices which will definitely help you to lose weight in a consistent way.