Yoga Doesn't Burn As Many Calories As You Think

Practicing yoga certainly has a lot of health benefits to offer. Johns Hopkins Medicine reports that yoga is an effective self-care activity, as it can increase mental and physical energy, boost focus, and even support a more positive attitude. An evening yoga routine has been shown to help promote better sleep, and one study published in the International Journal of Preventative Medicine supports yoga as an effective stress management exercise.

Physically, yoga is an excellent fitness choice for increasing strength, and improving balance and flexibility (per WebMD). Ashtanga, hatha, and power yoga can increase muscle mass and improve strength. Yoga may also be a good choice for those living with arthritis or chronic pain (via Medical News Today).

While the benefits of yoga are plenty, if burning calories is your goal, yoga is not the best choice of exercise. Ariana Fotinakis, a personal trainer with, tells The Healthy that, "Yoga is a great restorative activity for both the body and the mind, but many yoga classes do not involve a lot of movement." She goes on to say that many types of yoga do not burn a ton of calories.

There are better ways to burn calories

According to Harvard Health Publishing, the average 155-pound person can burn around 144 calories in 30 minutes of hatha yoga, compared to aerobics, which burns around 252 calories, or cycling, which averages around 278 calories. 

The Greatist reports that there are certain considerations that determine how many calories you can burn during yoga, including the duration of a session, the intensity of movements, and the individuals health factors. Bikram yoga, for example, is a type of hot yoga that incorporates 26 poses and lasts 90 minutes. This session takes place in a 105-degree atmosphere, and research from Colorado State University has found that men can burn up to 460 calories and women up to 330 calories. In contrast, restorative yoga, which is more about relaxing with minimal movement, can burn around 68 calories per hour in the average 150-pound person (via Greatist).

Yoga offers massive health benefits, whether you are looking to increase strength or improve your mental health, but when it comes to burning calories quick, you are better off trying a HIIT or cycling session.