Everyone knows that yoga is an activity that can decrease stress and enhance inner peace. But did you know there are certain types of yoga that work wonders to help you stay in shape?

After rapid weight loss from bariatric surgery, illness or injury, you may be looking for a way to maintain a healthy weight while increasing your muscle and skin tone. Nothing can do that like a regular exercise practice â€“ and yoga is a gentle exercise that can be both enjoyable and effective at helping you maintain your new body.

If you’re interested in staying fit by getting on the mat, you’ll need to know which types of yoga work best for weight management. And fortunately, we’ve done the research to help you make the best choice as you embark on your yoga fitness journey. So, before you grab a mat and book your first round of classes, read on to learn about our top 10 yoga picks for strengthening, toning and keeping the weight off.

​Yoga FAQ

lady doing yoga inside a studio

​Image Via Pixabay

​1. What is Yoga?

​2. What Does Yoga Do For the Body?

​3. How Does Yoga Work to Maintain Weight Loss? 

​4. Where Can I Take Classes?

​5. Which Type of Yoga Should I Do?

How We Reviewed

The following types of yoga were reviewed based on the following parameters: Features, Pros & Cons


​​Average Price Range

​​Average Price Range of Yoga Classes from 2017-2018: $10.00 - $30.00 per Class.

​The Best Types of Yoga

  • ​Iyengar
  • ​Ashtanga
  • ​Bikram
  • Hatha
  • Power Yoga
  • Kundalini
  • Anusara
  • Forrest
  • Restorative
  • Yin

Iyengar

Features

​Iyengar is one of the most beginner-friendly types of yoga. It’s known for the detailed instruction you get throughout and props (like blocks, straps, and blankets) that make it easy for anyone to practice the postures. It is slow-paced and challenges your body safely until you’re ready to take your practice to the next level. It’s also ideal for those seeking a gentler form of yoga due to illness, injury or pregnancy.

While it may not seem as challenging as other types of yoga, it does focus on mental control and focus in the hardest moments, which can serve to help you address unconscious patterns like snacking or not following through on your health goals.

Pros

  • Easy for Everybody
  • Lots of Direction
  • Helps eliminate unconscious habits

Cons

  • You may not find it in your closest city
  • At some point, you’ll need more of a challenge

​Ashtanga

Features

​A more aerobic style of yoga, Ashtanga is something to explore when you’re ready to take your fitness to the next level. It combines a series of strength-building postures (vinyasas) with a smooth and flowing rhythm. This type of yoga targets your arms, legs, and core through repetition and progressively more challenging positions on both sides of the body. Keep it up, and you’ll develop muscles you had no idea you had!

Ashtanga is also known as Vinyasa and may sometimes fall under the umbrella of Power Yoga.

Pros

  • ​Burns fat and tones muscles
  • ​Increases stamina

Cons

  • ​Hard for beginners
  • ​At some point, you’ll need more of a challenge​

​Bikram

Features

​If holding poses and twisting your body into unusual positions isn’t enough for you, Bikram yoga brings a temperature of 105 degrees and a humidity point of 40 percent to your practice. This causes you to release water weight very quickly while burning fat and toning muscle. The 26 poses are held twice for differing lengths of time throughout each 90-minute lesson, by the end of which you’ll be drenched in sweat. If you’re researching different types of yoga to see which one will help you lose weight the fastest, you’ve found it.

Pros

  • ​Helps you shed water weight
  • ​Burns fat and tones muscles
  • Increases stamina

Cons

  • ​Difficult for beginners
  • ​Stressful on the body
  • Hard to do at home

​Hatha

Features

​Hatha is great for the body, but it’s equally good for relieving stress. “Ha-tha” means “Sun-Moon,” which indicates its goal of bringing balance to the mind and body. One of the most popular types of yoga for beginners and experienced yogis alike, many enjoy the way it enhances their mind-body connection through stretching and meditation. The practice combines slow movements with slow deep breaths and allows the use of props (blocks, straps, and blankets) to help develop balance and flexibility.

Pros

  • ​You can find it at most yoga studios and online
  • ​Accessible for beginners and experienced yogis alike
  • ​Develops muscle tone and flexibility

Cons

  • ​Doesn’t burn as many calories as some other types of yoga
  • ​At some point, you may need to upgrade to “Power Hatha” for more of a challenge

​Power Yoga

Features

​The most athletic (and western) form of yoga available, this method focuses on strength and flexibility over everything else. Most poses are active and engage a multitude of muscles to help increase your balance, flexibility and body tone. It’s also great for those who run, cycle and lift weights, as it warms and stretches the muscle groups that can get tight through repetitive exercise. And, of course, it wouldn’t be yoga without the deep breathing that accompanies other styles… so you’ll feel rejuvenated as well as stronger through the practice of Power Yoga.

Ashtanga and Vinyasa yoga and may sometimes fall under the umbrella of Power Yoga.

Pros

  • ​Burns fat
  • ​Strengthens and tones muscles
  • ​Increases stamina

Cons

  • ​Hard for beginners
  • ​Not for everyday practice

​Kundalini

Features

​One of the most mystical types of yoga, Kundalini is designed to awaken your spiritual energy and keep it circulating through your body and life. The poses are called “kriyas,” and their emphasis is on releasing energetic blocks through breathwork. Some exercises are even intended to unleash your sexual energy so you can be more in touch with your creative life force. Some practitioners grow their hair and beards and wear white as a traditional practice, but don’t worry... just wear something comfortable, and you’ll be welcomed as you are.

Pros

  • ​Anyone can do it
  • ​Reduces Stress
  • ​Build core muscles

Cons

  • ​Doesn’t burn as much fat as some other types of yoga

​Anusara

Features

​Like Hatha yoga, Anusara increases the mind-body connection, which can lead to an increase in spiritual health. The level of challenge lies between Iyengar and Ashtanga and inspires meditation through movement. Anusara teachers talk about spiritual insights throughout the lesson to keep your thoughts flowing towards your own enlightenment as you allow your body to move freely through the poses. This interesting mix of focus makes it easy to keep going even when the postures get hard, as you start to realize yoga is like life, and how you face your challenges makes all the difference.

Pros

  • ​Good for all levels
  • ​Burns fat and tones muscles
  • ​Motivational

Cons

  • ​Hard to find in some locations

​Forrest

Features

​This type of yoga is designed to address ailments that come from bad habits in modern life, like weakened back muscles and poor posture from hunching over your computer for too long. During the practice of Forrest yoga, students are challenged to discover develop core muscles and cultivate inner strength at the same time. With long-held and intense poses, you’ll feel yourself become stronger all over. Weekly Forrest sessions can also be a great addition to any workout routine, as the core strength you build will carry over to the gym.

Pros

  • ​Motivational, helps focus
  • ​Good for all levels
  • ​Builds core strength and confidence

Cons

  • ​Hard to find in many locations

​Restorative

Features

​If you are dealing with illness or injury of any kind, this is the yoga for you. It can also be helpful for emotional healing, as its main focus is rejuvenation or the mind, body, and spirit. It consists of deep breathing, stretching and focusing on one’s emotional state to release upset. Poses are practiced while standing, seated and on the floor and teachers encourage students to notice how they emotionally react in each position so that they can acknowledge and release inner conflicts and find balance through the practice.

Pros

  • ​Easy for Everybody
  • ​Healing
  • ​Gentle

Cons

  • ​Doesn’t burn as much fat as some other types of yoga

​Yin

Features

​This is the yoga you do to recover from other types of yoga or any other exercise. With a passive process of resting the body in certain poses for long periods of time, Yin yoga relaxes muscles and reduces strain and inflammation in the connective tissues. Bolsters and props are often used to reduce unnatural strain and deepen stretches. As with all things, balance is important, and yin yoga brings balance to a westernized practice of yoga that often favors strength building over everything else.

Pros

  • ​Easy for Most
  • ​Slow Paced
  • ​Gentle

Cons

  • ​Doesn’t burn a lot of calories

The Verdict

two person doing different types of yoga

Image Via Pixabay

After researching these 10 types of yoga, we’d say that each one has value and is worth a try. Practicing yoga of any kind is sure to bring balance to your mind, body, and spirit. But not all are created equal when it comes to weight loss and maintenance, and it’s vital to know if the type of yoga you're practicing will help you meet those goals.

If you’re hoping to lose fat, tone up or maintain your weight with yoga, it’s best to stick with Ashtanga, Forrest or Power Yoga, as they’ll help you burn the most calories and build strength at the same time. And to get photo-ready, before vacations or big events like weddings, you can also dive into Bikram to lose that water weight that makes you look puffy within a week or two.

And no matter which of the above you choose to help manage your weight, make sure you also add in some Yin to reduce strain on your tendons and joints.

As for the others, practice them for the more intangible results you’ll get. It may be great to have a body you love, but without the benefit of inner peace, motivation and a sense of spiritual direction, what’s it really worth?

Activate your creativity, spirituality and sexual power with Kundalini. Find the meaning and message in your life with Hatha or Anusara Yoga. Dealing with injury, grief or a bad break-up? Restorative or Iyengar yoga can be good medicine for that.

Above all, take your time and don’t rush. Yoga is all about balance and focusing on the present moment. Learn the basics first, then move into a practice that interests you.

So what are you waiting for? Take a deep breath and take a step toward the type of yoga that’s best for you today!

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