Though it is possible to use yoga asanas for weight loss, it will require a bit more dedication and effort than a simple yoga practice. In general, it is best to use yoga in conjunction with an aerobic and strength training routine, which will offer the most body benefits and possibility for weight loss. If you do wish to use yoga asanas for weight loss, you will generally need to follow specific yoga practices such as vinyasa yoga, Ashtanga yoga, or Bikram yoga, which include a flowing sequence of poses designed to increase the heart rate and keep the body moving. Other styles of yoga, in which asanas are held for a longer period, or where breaks are taken in between poses, will not be as effective for weight loss because the heart rate will not stay elevated.
Vinyasa, or flow yoga, simply refers to yoga in which poses are sequenced together and the body is kept moving, ideally flowing seamlessly between poses. This type of movement will help to increase the heart rate as well as improve overall strength, which can help to promote weight loss. This type of yoga is frequently taught in yoga classes that are intended for slightly more intermediate or advanced yoga practitioners, and is generally based around a series of sun salutations. Though it is relatively uncommon for classes to promote yoga asanas for weight loss purposes, the postures can certainly help, particularly for someone who is out of shape and just beginning an exercise routine.
Under the broader heading of vinyasa yoga, there are a number of other, more specific types of programs that include yoga asanas for weight loss. One of these is Ashtanga yoga, which is extremely challenging and based around a specific series of poses. Bikram yoga takes place in a very hot room to encourage the burning of additional mass because the body gets very hot and sweats a great deal. Power yoga is another style of yoga that is similar to Ashtanga yoga, but it offers a more aerobic workout because postures are done in a rapid sequence.
Just because slower yoga practices do not promote weight loss, does not mean they are worthless as part of an exercise routine. Yoga can improve strength and flexibility, improve posture, and help to boost the mood, making it an excellent component of any exercise regimen. Do not get so intent on using yoga asanas for weight loss that you miss out on some of the other benefits of yoga, such as focused breath work, relaxation, or more mindfulness in every day life.