Can Yoga Help You Lose Weight?

downward-facing-dog-fat-yoga1Just how much data is there to support the notion that yoga can affect body weight?

This is the topic of a systematic review by Romy Lauche and colleagues, published in Preventive Medicine.

The researchers look at data from randomized controlled trials on yoga for weight-related outcomes in over 2000 individuals from the general population or with overweight or obesity.

Overall, there was no discernible effects of yoga on weight, body mass index, body fat percentage or waist circumference.

At best, there appeared to be marginal effects on waist/hip ratios in healthy adults and a close to 1 unit reduction in BMI in studies with overweight/obese participants.

However, these findings were not robust against selection bias nor could the authors rule out publication bias.

Thus it appears that there is currently very little in the literature to suggest that yoga can help you lose weight.

This is not really surprising given that even more vigorous forms of exercise are generally not associated with significant weight loss (perhaps the best kept secret of the fitness industrial complex).

Nevertheless, even with no change in body weight, there are numerous positive effects of yoga on physical and mental health that would make yoga practice worth your while.

Copenhagen, DK