Yoga for Weight Management

We're always looking for more data to add to our index, so if you know of a yoga research study that you don't see here, pass it along to us. Send relevant scholarly articles to Yoga Alliance® supports the continued research on yoga’s benefits, and we will continue to update the page with more research on more health topics. 

Last updated: July 19, 2017

Yoga Alliance recommends that any individuals with health concerns consult with a qualified health care practitioner to discuss whether yoga is right for them, but we are aware that yoga can be used in the medical treatment context by appropriately qualified and licensed healthcare practitioners. Yoga Alliance credentials do not serve as qualifications for the diagnosis or treatment of health conditions.

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“An Ayurveda-/yoga-based lifestyle modification program is an acceptable and feasible approach to weight management.”
–Rioux et al (2017), Global Advances in Health and Medicine


“Yoga/meditation users with normal BMI appear to be more satisfied with their body weight and shape than non-yoga/meditation users.”
–Lauche et al (2017), Nutrition



“High-speed yoga results in a significantly greater caloric expenditure than standard-speed yoga. High-speed yoga may be an effective alternative program for those targeting cardiometabolic markers.”
–Potiaumpai et al (2016), Complimentary Therapies in Medicine



“The study concludes that yoga practices can effectively regulate lipid metabolism and total body energy expenditure with reference to specific constitutional type (Prakriti) that may act as a tool to assess magnitude of metabolic functions.”
–Doddoli et al (2016), Journal of Traditional and Complementary Medicine



“Results showed yoga practitioners scored higher on positive body image and embodiment, and lower on self-objectification than non-yoga participants. ... It was concluded that yoga is an embodying activity that can provide women with the opportunity to cultivate a favourable relationship with their body.”
–Mahlo et al (2016), Body Image



“The 12-week yoga intervention was associated with greater improvements in mood and anxiety than a metabolically matched walking exercise.”
– Streeter et al (2010), Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine



“The aim of this study was to examine the influence of yoga practice on body image satisfaction in men. . . Satisfaction was significantly higher among the yoga groups than the exercisers. There was no statistical difference between the body satisfaction scores of the experienced yoga group and the beginner yoga students. This may suggest that individuals drawn to yoga have greater body satisfaction than exercisers, and that regular yoga practice possibly further increases body satisfaction.”
– Flaherty et al (2014), Perceptual & Motor Skills



"A 12-week Hatha yoga intervention improves metabolic risk profiles and HRQoL (health-related quality of life) in Chinese adults with and without MetS."
– Lau et al (2015), PLOS



“We conclude that the long-term practice of yoga leads to lower metabolic rates and probably greater metabolic efficiency mainly due to reduced sympathetic activity and / or stabilized nervous system.”
– Chaya et al (2008), International Journal of Yoga



“These preliminary findings suggest that Hatha yoga has the potential to play an important role in pediatric obesity…and support the use of Hatha yoga as a safe and promising intervention for improving aspects of physical and psychosocial functioning in severely obese adolescents.“
– Hainsworth et al (2014), Journal of Yoga & Physical Therapy



“An Ayurveda-/yoga-based lifestyle modification program is an acceptable and feasible approach to weight management.”
– Rioux et al (2014), Global Advances in Health and Medicine



“The aim of this study is to evaluate the effects of Yogic Practice on anxiety/depression associated with obesity. …weight, BMI, [waist circumference, hip circumference, waist-height ratio,] depression and anxiety improved…more in the yoga group, than in Aerobic group.“
– Dhananjai et al (2013), International Journal of Yoga



“…We conclude that practice of yoga can regress early atherosclerosis in [metabolic syndrome, a strong risk factor for Coronary Heart Disease and type II Diabetes,] and has also beneficial effects on several metabolic parameters.“
– Manchanda SC et al (2013), Journal of Yoga & Physical Therapy



“The [Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction] program is effective in reducing symptoms of anxiety and depression, perceived stress, [blood pressure] and [body mass index] in patients with [coronary heart disease].“
– Parswani et al (2013), International Journal of Yoga



“[This] study of yoga in [overweight and obese] breast cancer survivors, and its efficacy on fatigue, quality of life (QOL), and weight change. Yoga may help decrease waist circumference and improve quality of life; future studies are needed to confirm these results.”
Littman et al (2011), Supportive Care in Cancer



“Regular practice of Surya Namaskar may maintain or improve cardiorespiratory fitness, as well as promote weight management.“
– Mody (2011), Journal of Bodywork and Movement Therapies



“This pilot study suggests that a yoga-based, comprehensive wellness program is both feasible and efficacious in creating positive, short-term improvements in multiple domains of health and wellness for a population of employees. Statistically significant improvements were observed in weight, diastolic blood pressure, flexibility score, body fat percentage, and overall quality of life.“
– Thomley et al (2011), Explore: The Journal of Science and Healing






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