Yoga – It is really Exercise?

So – I mentioned that I was going to yoga the other day to J and he sort of smirked like that wasn’t a REAL enjoyout*. WHAT? After some of the yoga classes I have been to at CorePower I am SWEATING (no glistening here) and my muscles are T-I-R-E-D!!! Not a real enjoyout – pshaw ….. Plus – I am really going there for the savasana at the end anyway…  you know …. the whole mind-body-spirit thing.

And then I got to thinking there are times that I go to yoga to burn calories and there are times I go purely for the relaxation. While I don’t want to take away from the mind-body-spirit connection (which is super important and I will write more about that later …..  but now onto the important stuff …) how many calories I might be burning in my favorite yoga class?  Am I really getting what I wanted? Or am I fooling myself and the sweat is just because the room is heated?

There is no way around it. Yoga is as an amazing full-body enjoyout— but the intensity can vary based on which class you take, from gentle and relaxing Hatha yoga to sweat-dripping-off-your-nose hot Bikram.  So which classes burn the most (and the least) amount of calories?

Caloric expenditure in yoga is said be anywhere from approximately 100 to 450 calories per hour, depending on the person, and the practice. According to, one hour of the following varieties of yoga performed by a 150-pound person will reap the following rewards:

Hatha Yoga: 189 calories. Hatha yoga is an umbrella term for what Westerners consider yoga. In truth, Hatha yoga is the actual physical practice of yoga postures, plain and simple. This is the basic, run-of-the-mill yoga class you may find at your gym or local studio if not noted otherwise. While part of the class may contain constant movement, a lot of it is also holding balance poses. Hatha classes are perfect for those who want to dip their toes in the yoga pool and get a great, relaxing flexibility workout.

Yin yoga: 158 calories. Yin yoga is a slow-paced style of yoga with postures that are held for longer periods of time—for beginners, it may range from 45 seconds to two minutes; more advanced practitioners may stay in one posture for five minutes or more. Yin yoga poses apply moderate stress to the connective tissues of the body —the tendons, fascia, and ligaments—with the aim of increasing circulation in the joints and improving flexibility. A more meditative approach to yoga, yin aims at cultivating awareness of inner silence, and bringing to light a universal, interconnecting quality.

Ashtanga Yoga (or Power Yoga): 351 calories. Ashtanga yoga is often referred to as Power Yoga because of its dynamic system that combines breathing and movement into a series of postures. It is both cardiovascular and meditative, and relies on the strength of your own muscles to perform the movements. Unlike many styles of yoga where the classes are choreographed differently, in Ashtanga Yoga classes, the postures performed are always the same and are done in a specific order. Ashtanga yoga is meant to purify the body by cultivating an “internal heat,” which burns off toxins. It also builds strength, flexibility and reduces stress.

Bikram or Hot Yoga: 477 calories. Hot yoga, which is performed in a room heated to around 105 degrees and usually lasts around 90 minutes, is probably the most misunderstood form of yoga.  When the body is working hard to cool itself, as in a hot yoga class, heart rate does increase, but that does not necessarily mean there is a higher physical demand on the working muscles.  We might expect to lose anywhere from 1 to 3 pounds of water weight in a hot yoga class, but that is likely to be replaced when we rehydrate.  Bikram yoga involves a sequence of 26 postures and two breathing exercises performed in the same order, no matter where you take your class. Hot yoga can involve any type of postures but is still performed in a heated classroom. You will sweat profusely, thereby ridding the body of toxins and the intense heat enhances flexibility in your muscles.

Vinyasa Yoga (Flow Yoga): 594 calories. Vinyasa yoga, often referred to as Flow because of the smooth way the poses run together, tops the list of calorie burners because of the constant movement. If you choose a Flow class, expect lots of burning muscles, not just stretching. Many love Vinyasa because of its diversity. There is no single sequence that teachers follow, so every class will be different, but intense.


So – now you know. It really is ok if you favorite doesn’t burn as many calories. As I mentioned before – yoga is used for many different reasons. Some days I am ready for an awesome Vinyasa class– and some days a Yin class is just perfect for my body and my soul.

Remember – move your body – put good things in – and ENJOY!



*My word for workout.  I don’t think of exercise as work. I want it to be fun and to enjoy it.  Thus my word – enjoyout!

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