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will I lose weight with yoga?

will I lose weight with yoga?

As a yoga practitioner and teacher in our community, I often have the opportunity to talk to others about yoga. In many cases, people have never tried yoga and are curious about it. I am asked these questions with some regularity: “I was thinking about trying yoga- which class will I burn more calories in Hot, Warm or Flow? Will I lose weight?”

It takes me back to my own experience, when I was running and circuit training- often twice a day and “rest” was the ultimate four-letter word. Before I started my yoga practice, my muscles were tight, short and I spent a good deal of time feeling “sore”; I was 39 years old and couldn’t touch my toes. It was that moment that caused me to wake up. I could continue down this path or change. I took the change route and started yoga, each class I felt a little better and I found a place that left my body, mind and spirit feeling refreshed- that often lasted well after the class had ended. I wanted to do more yoga but was afraid that by giving up the intense activity calorie burn that my training and the running provided, my fitness would decline.


Last November, I ran my 16th half marathon in Savannah, Georgia. Despite my best efforts to be “rested,” I felt tired. I ran, finished, felt even more tired, and missed my goal time by 30 seconds. It was a long ride home to Tampa; I took the time to think and reflect. I didn’t like the way my body felt, I didn’t like how my mind felt- although I still ran well and I refused to accept it because I didn’t meet my expectation. It was on the long ride home that I decided to change my routine in an attempt to refresh my body and mind.

I stepped up my yoga practice, started barre workouts- both of which are low/no impact activities with a focus on working with one’s own body weight for resistance and strengthening. I scaled back my running to focus on shorter distances. In the next 2 months, the difference I experienced was dramatic. My body felt good, my mind and spirit felt renewed. My body transformed from muscular to lean and I gained space in areas that were previously tight. I shifted from a place of “fitness” to “wellness”.


Through a more regular yoga practice, other things began to evolve. I couldn’t eat right before class, so I would modify and eat after or eat a large balanced meal a few hours before. I started to crave more nutrient rich foods, I was eating more sensibly. I was avoiding foods that didn’t fuel me well. Don’t get me wrong, I still love cake and a nice glass of wine, but I have them as treats rather than something I regularly gravitate towards just because I think I am hungry.

Yoga conditions the whole body with no impact and minimal repetitive motion. At the end of class, I feel my whole body had been worked. Most importantly, yoga conditioned my mind and spirit. How much time had I spent setting an expectation for that race? How much energy did I waste beating myself up about the result? Certainly more than I care to think about. The inward focus of the yoga practice taught me that expectation almost always results in disappointment and stress. I still run and run races. Some of my better events have been when I focus on each breath, stride or step- accept where I am at and do my best with it. Sometimes the result isn’t spectacular, but I accept where I was that day, reflect and adapt if needed for the next time. When I approach my training and practice from a place of acceptance and doing my best with what I have I feel a tremendous weight lifted off my shoulders. I feel light and energetic.

I have no idea of the calories burned and or the weight I lost since I started a regular yoga practice. I think my weight stayed about the same yet my body composition changed. What is far greater than losing weight is that that through yoga practice that I lost anxiety, fear, doubt, self-criticism. I burned calories, but more importantly, I burned barriers and old patterns. In losing these things, I was able to allow my true self and all of it’s potential rise to the surface and shine.

Kerri Mersereau

After years of running and high impact activities, Kerri found yoga. The difference she felt in her body and mind the day after her first class was dramatic. Kerri’s desire is to share yoga with students so they can connect with their potential, embody the flow and awaken on and off the mat. Kerri teaches Flow at evolation Tampa. She has studied with the evolation yoga flow teacher training with Eric Wheeler and Katie Ratchuk. She has completed Yin Yoga and Restorative teacher training through Asheville Yoga Center. Kerri is also a NASM certified personal trainer.

  • http://YogaHub.TV YogaHub.TV

    Great insights and congrats on your marathon. Yoga is about what’s on and OFF the mat.

  • Kerri Mersereau

    thank you- we approach new things with “goals” like being more flexible, being faster, etc…all things that are measurable and sometimes we lose sight of the power of intention and positive change that occurs when we shift our focus inward.

  • Charlsie Short

    I’ve been overweight all my life and tried so many things. Different things work for different people and I was lucky enough to find one that worked for me. I lost 23 pounds in one month without any exercise and it has been a life changer. I’m a little embarrased to post my before and after photos here but if anyone actually cares to hear what I’ve been doing then I’d be happy to help in any way. Just shoot me an email at oceanflowers82@gmail.com and I’ll show you my before and after photos, and tell you about how things are going for me with the stuff I’ve tried. I wish someone would have helped me out when I was struggling to find a solution so if I can help you then it would make my day

  • Jessica

    Exercise is an important part of losing weight. I have also noticed how Yoga has done wonders. check out this link: http://9d157jrftkfr9m1pu3ma0d1p16.hop.clickbank.net/