If you've ever asked a personal trainer whether you should be doing yoga for toning, fatloss, or weightloss they probably said yoga is good for flexibility and stress relief but not much else. I've heard many trainers say that to their clients BUT the truth is yoga is an excellent way to burn fat and tone up. The key to sculpting the lean toned body you want with yoga is choosing the right type of yoga workouts for your goal.
The way yoga actually works for increased fatloss, weight loss, and toning is much more subtle and is more aligned with yoga's ultimate purpose, which is union of the mind body and spirit that helps you transcend limitations and reach your ultimate potential.
Below is a quick list of benefits and how those benefits can result in a lean toned body.
I've been practicing yoga since 2004 and have tried virtually every type of yoga there is and the styles vary as much as the results. If your primary goal right now is to practice yoga for toning, fatloss, weight loss, and overall fitness then be sure to stick with flow yoga. A fluid yoga practice will keep you moving so you burn more fat and calories than with other yoga.
Flow yoga is also safer because the constant repetition allows you to ease into more challenging poses gradually and without over stretching the body and causing injury.
In addition flow yoga has a natural meditation component that is practical for anybody who just wants a simple way to destress for increased fat burning.
The constant repetition of movement patterns is in essence a movement meditation that calms the nervous system while building physical and mental resistance to unhealthy behavior patterns and this is key for anybody wishing to achieve a healthy, fit and lean toned body for life.
The more fast paced dynamic types of yoga including Hatha, Flow, Power, or Vinyasa, require a ton of endurance, core stability, balance, coordination and total body strength.
These dynamic yoga practices include various types of sun salutations followed by challenging yoga poses which means you will end up doing dozens and dozens of squats, planks, low pushup holds, lunges, bends, twists, and jumps in one 30-40 minute session just to prep your body for the challenging poses.
Not only are these the 7 movement patterns that every human needs for survival, health and wellness they are also the basic movement patterns that you do in all workouts which means you get to improve your exercise technique while practicing yoga and you will notice a huge difference in how much better you can perform during all your other fat burning and toning workouts.
The benefit of sticking with the more dynamic forms of yoga is that the calorie burn at each session will be much higher than other forms of yoga including Bikram which is the most over-rated and least effective for toning or fatloss since it only allows for 26 poses (there's over 1000 poses in yoga so 26 is pretty limited).
*As you've probably read on many other fitness sites the body needs variety in the form of many many movement patterns in order to achieve maximum fitness, fatloss and toning. Bikram just doesn't deliver the same dynamic workout although it does make you sweat and probably burns equal calories to Hatha, Flow, Power, or Vinyasa.