Good, Better & Best Fat-Burning Yoga Moves

January 2013 by

Good, Better & Best Fat-Burning Yoga Moves

Here is a quick-reference list of  good fat-burning moves, better fat-burning moves and the best fat-burning moves.


If you’re trying to lose weight with yoga, you’ll want to add some of these poses to your self practice or yoga class. Each category has poses suitable for beginners and experienced yogis. The slow, steady movements of yoga not only burn calories, Sun Salutation (Surya Namaskar) is a cardiovascular exercise. To do yoga for weight loss, start going to yoga classes or watch yoga videos.  The amount of fat you burn with yoga moves depends on how many calories you burn overall during the session.


High Intensity Exercise vs. Low Intensity Exercise

Although you can burn more calories in a shorter time with high intensity exercise, low intensity exercise burns more fat than high intensity exercise.  According to a study published in Evidence Based Complimentary and Alternative Medicine, the calories burned with yoga are about 60 percent from fat and high intensity workouts only burn about 35 percent of calories from fat. The following poses are yoga fat-burning moves that burn the most calories, and thus the most fat. When you read about yoga calories burned during these poses, keep in mind that people who weigh more burn more calories doing the same exercise than those who weight less. This is true for all exercises.


Good Fat-Burning Yoga Moves

Cow Face pose, Gomukakhasana

Cow Face pose, Gomukakhasana

Good fat-burning yoga moves include Seated Forward Bend / Paschimottanasana, Sleeping Thunderbolt Pose / Supta Vajrasana (see feature photo at the top of the page) and Cow Face Pose / Gomukakhasana. These poses burn about 2 calories per minute with 1.2 calories from fat, according to a a yoga study  published in the Indian Journal of Physiology and Pharmacology. During a seated forward bend you sit on your mat with extended legs and reach for your toes. To perform the sleeping thunderbolt pose, kneel on your mat with your heels on the outside of your hips and lean back to lie on the floor. To do the cow face pose, sit with your right knee stacked on top of your left, then clasp your hands together behind your back so your right elbow points up and your left elbow points down; repeat with the left side to complete one round. All calorie calculations are for a 140-pound person.

Better Fat-Burning Yoga Moves

Leg-Lock pose, Supta Pawanmuktasana

Leg-Lock pose, Supta Pawanmuktasana

Better fat-burning yoga moves include Leg-lock Pose, Shoulder Stand and Plow Pose I (also known as, Sarvangasana and Halasana I). These poses burn about 2.7 calories per minute, with 1.6 calories from fat. Do leg-lock pose by lying on your back, hugging your knees into your chest and lifting your head so your forehead touches your knees. Perform shoulder stand by lying on your back, lifting your hips and extended legs into the air, and placing your palms on your lower back for support. Get into plow pose I from shoulder stand by reaching with your toes to touch the floor behind your head. All calorie calculations are for a 140-pound person.


The Best Fat-Burning Yoga Moves

Plow Pose 2, Halasana Version 2

Plow Pose 2, Halasana Version 2

The best fat-burning yoga moves burn the most calories and include sun salutation, plow pose II and bow pose (also known as Surya Namaskar, Halasana II and Dhanurasana). Sun Salutation is a series of several yoga moves done at the beginning of many yoga classes. This series burns about 3.97 calories per minute, according to the same study, with 2.38 calories from fat. Plow Pose II and the bow pose both burn about 3 calories per minute with 1.8 calories from fat. To perform plow pose II, get into Plow Pose I and reach your hands behind your head to touch your toes. To perform the Bow Pose, lay on your stomach and then reach behind you to grab your feet while gently pulling your feet toward your head as you lift your legs and torso off the mat. All calorie calculations are for a 140-pound person.

References for Good, Better and Best Fat-Burning Yoga Moves

1. Evidence Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine; Hatha Yoga Practices: Energy Expenditure, Respiratory Changes and Intensity of Exercise; Uday Sankar Ray, et al.

2. Indian Journal of Physiology and Pharmacology; Energy Cost and Cardiorespiratory Changes During the Practice of Surya Namaskar; B. Sinha, et al.

3. Asana, Pranayama, Mudra, Bandha, by Swami Satyananda Saraswati.

“Fat-Burning Yoga Moves” written by Victoria Weinblatt, M.S.Ed., B.S., RYT-200, CMT and senior writer for

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  1. Victoria

    Please post any questions or comments on Fat-Burning Yoga Moves here to share with the community. I will answer promptly.

    Namaste, Victoria

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