Exercise Weight Loss Exercises Yoga Pilates

Although some people consider yoga and Pilates simply as fads, both of these exercises can be a great way to lose weight and get in shape. Pilates and yoga exercises alike may help you if you’re aiming for weight loss. Both types of exercise target specific areas of the body that not only develop muscle tone, but incorporate mental and spiritual elements, as well.

Yoga, Pilates and More

Yoga is an ancient practice that focuses on both the mental and physical. The practice of yoga, which means “to unite” in Sanskrit, focuses on physical, mental and spiritual harmony, making the practitioner aware of all three simultaneously.

Pilates is similar in that it focuses the mind to control muscles in the body. However, this practice focuses on maintaining and improving posture through spinal muscles, creating a more balanced figure and stable body movements. Gymnasts and dancers often use Pilates to incorporate balance in their routines.

Choosing Yoga or Pilates to Lose Weight

Yoga exercises can help you lose weight by targeting areas of your body where fat has been stored and can’t be readily lost through conventional exercise. Here are some common yoga exercises and the average number of calories burned per hour:

  • Ashtanga Yoga: 300 calories
  • Bikram/Hot Yoga: 630 calories
  • Hatha Yoga: 175 calories
  • Power Yoga: 300 calories
  • Vinyasa Yoga: 445 calories.

Pilates can also help burn calories and improve muscle tone and posture. If you choose Pilates to lose weight, the amount of calories you burn will depend on the intensity of your workout. For example, in one hour a 165 lb. person may burn up to 500 calories in an advanced routine, 400 calories in an intermediate practice and 270 calories a beginner’s regimen.

Choosing Yoga or Pilates to Lose Weight

Though not the traditional route to weight loss, yoga and Pilates both may help you lose a moderate amount of weight and build a lean and trim body. If you choose yoga or Pilates to lose weight, note that these practices are largely mental disciplines that work gradually on the body, so don’t expect to lose extreme amounts of weight with a few weekly classes.

Consult your doctor before starting any weight loss routine to discuss possible consequences and any concerns you may have. If you have physical injuries or experience physical pain when performing basic movements, your doctor may recommend another way to lose weight.

Other Benefits of Yoga and Pilates

Apart from weight loss, yoga exercises and Pilates have many other benefits. For example, Pilates was originally developed to create lean, trim bodies by encouraging the development of muscle mass in specific parts of the body.

Yoga exercises, on the other hand, connect the body to the mind, allowing you to engage all your senses in a singular, distilled regimen. Although several types of yoga focus on different parts of the body, they all aim for spiritual renewal and relaxation.


Elysium Yoga. (2010). Calories burned in yoga. Retrieved September 22, 2010, from http://www.elysiumyoga.com/benefits/calories-burned-in-yoga-2/

Goel, A. (n.d.). Yoga and weight Loss. Retrieved September 22, 2010, from http://www.healthandyoga.com/html/news/yoga_wt_reduce.html

Pilates Weight Loss. (2009). Pilates workout for weight loss. Retrieved September 21, 2010, from http://www.pilatesweightloss.org/featured-pilates/pilates-workout-for-weight-loss/